As we approach this Easter Sunday, I hear the question, “So why do we recognize Good Friday if Sunday is the day Jesus rose from the grave?” And that is a great question. Friday was the day Christ was crucified. It is important because that is the day Jesus took our sins to the cross and He paid the price to redeem us. He was crucified on a hill called Golgotha just outside of Jerusalem. Not only did He go to the cross, but He was nailed to the cross at His wrists and His ankles with large spikes. He was given a crown of thorns as a means of mocking His kingship by the Romans. Jesus was tortured by whips and humiliation and made to carry His own cross to the hill. Suffice it to say, His death was a cruel death. And to make matters worse, He had done nothing wrong other than tell people how they could have eternal life.
The ‘Good’ in Good Friday comes from old English when Good meant Holy. So you could call Good Friday, ‘Holy Friday’. Many people in different countries celebrate the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and death on the Friday before Easter Sunday. This is an observance that involves people fasting and praying.
We celebrate on Friday that Jesus died for us and then on Easter Sunday we celebrate the risen Christ. But on Monday it’s back to normal. The Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:21, “…Christ also suffered for you…” Easter gets tucked away in our minds and we don’t think about it again until the following year at this time.
An old prominent African-American preacher named S. M. Lockridge (1913 – 2000) known for his dynamic passionate and fervent sermons preached a sermon entitled “He’s My King!” A few years later the author and speaker Tony Campolo continued the message with his own sermon called, “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming.” The narrative of Jesus crucifixion is one of betrayal. Denial. Cowardice. Envy. Hate. Brutality. Suffering. Despair. Defeat. Death.
Yet, Christians celebrate the cross because the story does not end on that fateful Friday. It does not end at the cross. The irony of the cross was the very instrument Jesus’ enemies used to defeat Him, but it became His greatest victory. Little did they know when Friday ended what would happen on Sunday to change the course of the world’s history. Regardless of today’s problems. Challenges. Or defeats. Just remember that Sunday’s coming! And that you will enjoy the privilege of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.
I know it’s Friday. But thanks be to God that Sunday’s coming!
From the S. M. Lockridge sermon, “It’s Friday. Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard. And a rock is rolled into place. But it’s Friday. It is only Friday. Sunday is a comin’!”