We Live in a Good Friday World
March 28, 2018
By Gaylyn Kelly, Director of College and Young Adult Discipleship
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because He who promised is faithful.
I was raised in a church-attending family, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jackson Avenue Evangelical Church was my mom’s side of the family’s home church for more than 125 years. I can’t recall a time when I was not in church on Easter Sunday. Easter is, after all, the centerpiece for Christians, honoring and recalling Christ’s triumph over death.
I remember my grandmother singing so emphatically, all dressed up in her Easter finest, “Up from the grave He arose…” I heard preaching that included tag lines like, “We are Easter people,” or, “It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming!” Many pastors have said many things that I don’t remember, but one sentence has stayed with me all these years: “We live in a Good Friday world.”
That, I understand. A “Good Friday world” is a world full of suffering, questioning, unfairness, trouble, mistakes, hurts, losses, and grief. Good Friday, in the Christian faith, is the day when Christians commemorate Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. We do live in a “Good Friday world.” I definitely lived in a “Good Friday home” as a little girl, with so much confusion because of alcohol addiction and an abuse cycle that caused pain and hurt that was intermingled with church.
A lot of you reading this might be in the middle of what seems to be an interminable Friday. It is hard to accept suffering and illness. Relationships that hurt us make Friday seem like it will never end. The trials of living on a fallen planet will make this seem like a Friday world, at times, during the journey.
Now that I have grown up, I see over and over again that this can seem like a “Good Friday world” we live in. How easy it is to stop right there, just short of healing, not realizing the hope of resurrection, diluting or missing completely the victory of full restoration, which is the resurrection celebration of Easter.
Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.'”(Romans 1:16-17, NIV)
It might be Good Friday when you are reading this–whether on the calendar or in your life. A somber and painful day. A day of betrayal and suffering. Jesus stands accused and convicted. His friends have deserted Him. Peter denies Him. He is flogged, given a crown of thorns by the soldiers, mocked by the crowd, and finally crucified. It is a horrific death, and as many times as I have heard the story, it never fails to move me beyond words.
In spite of it all, Jesus says to Pilate, “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37, NIV) Jesus is the suffering servant, the Lamb of God. For the sake of the world, Jesus did not run from suffering. Our faith tells us that Jesus dying on the cross was for the sake of the world, for your redemption and mine. Jesus the Redeemer. Jesus the Holy One who entered into redemptive suffering for the sake of the world.
The story of Easter week did not stop on Good Friday. So how about we don’t stop there either?
Our victory, our hope, our life in Christ is Jesus’ full life that absolutely rests in HIS resurrection. The kingdom impact, the historical impact, the world-changing impact that is the resurrection. The hope that changes everything is the resurrection. Easter is set apart and celebrated.
Therefore, we can sing, “up from the grave He arose” and live in that truth and not the seemingly overwhelming circumstances of all the Fridays that are anything but good. We can embrace as we celebrate, and choose to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess because He who promised IS faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
He is risen! Sunday keeps coming! He is Faithful.