Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen famously stated, “Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” What did he mean by that and what’s good about Good Friday? Find out in today’s message.
Reverend Billy Graham once said, “We call it Good Friday because on that day salvation became a reality.” As Christians, we believe Jesus became the sacrificial lamb when He freely offered His own life to pay the price for our sins.
It could be said that it was a terrible Friday because our Lord and Savior was tortured, humiliated, and put to death. But rather than being known as Terrible Friday, it is known as Good Friday because through His death, Jesus nailed the pain and shame of our sins to the cross. We also know that without Good Friday, there would have been no Easter Sunday.
This message is being published during Holy Week. Holy week kicks in high gear on Maundy Thursday with the remembrance and commemoration of the washing of feet and the Last Supper. On Good Friday, we reflect on the tragic reality that our collective sins nailed Jesus to the cross. And, of course, on Easter Sunday we will celebrate Christ’s victory over death.
In Numbers 21:9 it says, “Accordingly Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.” In a similar fashion in John 12:32 Jesus says, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” In 1 Corinthians 1:23 Paul states, “We proclaim Christ crucified.” Gazing on the serpent saved the people from death by snake bite. We gaze on Jesus on the cross because we know He saved us from our sins.
These 4th Day Letters are read weekly by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. As Christians, we celebrate many things differently. Good Friday is one of those things. Today, I will attempt to find consensus regarding Christ’s saving actions on Good Friday.
Catholics usually use crucifixes and most non-Catholics usually use empty crosses, as a reminder of what happened on Good Friday. Together, we agree that Jesus died on the cross. Some non-Catholics feel that Catholics place too much focus on the death of Jesus on Good Friday rather than on His resurrection. Some feel that Christ should not be depicted on the cross because He won victory over it. Catholics keep Jesus on the cross, knowing full well He won victory over the cross, but they never want to forget the pain and shame He endured for their sins.
While some aspects of Good Friday are celebrated differently, we share a great deal more in common. All Christians realize that the crucified Christ saved us from our sins on Good Friday and the glorified Christ saved us from death on Easter Sunday. Hopefully, we can all agree that Christ was both the Paschal sacrifice and the sacrifice of the New Covenant. He substituted His obedience for our disobedience. And finally, His sacrifice was the source of eternal salvation. Through His death on the cross, Christ became the one mediator between God and man.
Personally, I think it is important to depict and remember Jesus at each of the various stages of His life. Together, we all believe that Jesus’ time on earth took Him from the manger, through the cross and ultimately to His resurrection. We all believe in a crucified and glorified Christ. As Christians, we should place our focus on both the death and resurrection of our Lord. This is not an either or issue. It is a both-and issue.
Now during Holy Week, I want to do something different. I am asking you for your participation. Rather than me continuing to write my thoughts, I am asking you to share yours. We are a diverse group of Christians who all love the Lord, but we each practice our faith traditions in our own unique ways. Being respectful of the views of everyone, I am inviting you to share how you commemorate Holy Week. Please share what Good Friday means to you. When you reflect on Jesus being nailed to the cross where do your thoughts take you? Next week, we will collectively reflect on the resurrection of our Lord.
Together through this sharing, it is my hope that we can all learn from each other and all grow in our love for the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the life, death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ. I remain painfully aware that I am the one who deserved to die due to my sins. I am forever in the debt of your Son who nailed my sins to the cross . No one has greater love than to lay down His life for a friend. Amen!
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