It’s tough to look at Good Friday as a celebration with all of the pain and cruelty Jesus endured on a deadly timber atop Golgatha.
All of the optics—at least on the surface—scream bleakness, futility, and hopelessness. But we celebrate anyway because God made these three days that changed the world forever to be a victory march to life.
Even though it can be tempting to sugar-coat the Easter story, we cannot allow that to happen! Yes, Friday and Saturday were bathed in horrific darkness. But Sunday’s brilliant flash of light could only come after that darkness paved the way.
We need to accept that reality as Jesus did when he said YES to his Father’s plan after initially pleading for an alternate ending. Jesus accepted his reality by saying: “…not what I will, but what you will” (Luke 22:42; Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39).
My approach is to let Easter’s heavy and significant darkness fully engulf my soul. I want to avoid fast-forwarding to Sunday’s light without properly acknowledging the darkness of Friday’s bloody cross and the agony of Saturday’s broken body. I want to invoke deep thankfulness that Jesus loved the world so that he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. I want to accept the pain on Friday and Saturday by remembering that Sunday is coming.
MY GOOD FRIDAY PRAYER
Father God: When Jesus cried out to you from the cross “why have you forsaken me?” it felt like you were ignoring his call of distress. The crowd was no doubt wondering if you would come to his rescue as they watched Jesus slowly die in shame and mockery. It’s tempting today for me to ponder that same question when I see pain and suffering in my life. But I trust that you are always near, and I will soon be praising you for victory. On this historic Friday I await with eager anticipation to celebrate your Son’s magnificent resurrection on Sunday. Help me remember to keep calling your name in all things, especially when dark clouds descend on my life. Remind me that light will eventually come because of what Christ did on the Cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.