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Why Do We Call this Friday Good?
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” ~Genesis 1:31
“Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.”~ East Coker, T.S. Eliot
On a Friday morning, some 2,000 years ago, God planted a tree east of Eden for the healing of the nations. That middle cross was, quite literally, the crux of everything.
The cross of Christ was the hinge of human history, the 𝑎𝑥𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑖, the center upon which the cosmos turns. Here is the focal point of all of time and space—one little, lonely mountain called Golgotha.
On that skull-shaped hill outside the city walls, the world gathered to hold court. Jews, with their ancient creeds, were there. Greeks, with their talent for culture, were there. Romans, with their thirst for conquest, were there. Indeed, the whole world was there.
And these complicit souls were all as Adams and Eves coming yet again to the fateful tree, believing lies concerning the goodness of God.
Calvary was an international collusion as men conspired together to murder their Maker. The jury deliberated and reached its verdict: “We will not have this man to rule over us!” As one, they pronounced the sentence. Thus, Good Friday became Judgment Day.
Stunned angels were kept from drawing their flaming swords only by a commanding look from the Emerald Throne. The sun, holding its integrity when men did not, hid its face at their shame.
The universe went silent at the audacity of it all, the sheer wrongness of it, the unspeakable villainy of it.
What of the Defendant? Did he have anything to say against this mob of insurrectionists bent on deicide?
“For this cause was I born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth…”
This is the beautiful irony of Calvary: God was condemned by a lie in order to bear witness to the truth. A lie so monstrously false that the only way to show the depth of its falsity was by submitting to it. And by submitting to the judgment of the world, the world was judged.
On Good Friday, both heaven and hell proclaimed the same astonishing evangel—the startling news of the Crucified God.
At the behest of hell-inspired men, the Angel of Death set his eye upon the Firstborn of God. This was the hour of the Power of Darkness.
From noon until three, the curtain of death was draped over the world. The rocks, feeling more sympathy than the stony hearted men who trampled them, rent themselves in two at the awful scene. Then Darkness tightened the shroud around the slumping figure. Still, He opened his mouth in neither protest nor malice.
Thus, it was with eloquent silence that He pronounced the utter falsity of the primeval lie; that nagging falsehood which ever decried the benevolence of God. For the love which led Him to cross was infinitely more powerful than the hatred which nailed Him there.
This unconscionable crime was, in reality, Heaven’s own theodicy—God’s answer to the problem of evil.
"Soon," thought the Darkness, "he will give up." "A few more moments and we will hear that final whimper," he mused. "Into my hands he will commit his broken spirit. And with his last breath he will utter those three defeated words—I am finished."
But Darkness failed to keep a close watch on the clock. His hour had come to an end.
"Now is the time for the judgment of this world; now is prince of this world cast out. The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
“Father, forgive them,” echoes still. The scandal continues apace as sinners are made righteous by the very One whom they killed. Buried in the likeness of His death, raised to walk in newness of life, seated with Him in heavenly places, and made partakers of the divine nature.
That, I think, is the final insult to hell’s injury: from the cross, God offered the fruit of the life giving tree to the fallen sons of Adam, saying, “Take. Eat. And you shall become as God. Verily, in the day that you eat thereof you shall 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒.”
No wonder that, in spite of everything, we still call this Friday “Good.”