Text: John 19:38-42.
Good Friday is my favorite holiday. Part of it is that it is about the only Christian holiday that has not been co-opted by secular society. Not even the most savvy advertising agency could market a holiday about a man tortured to death and laid in the rocky earth to be forgotten.
How eager would we be to take Jesus’ place in that cold tomb? My initial thought is, “Mark me down as a firm No.” Triumphantly riding into Jerusalem to waving palms and Hosannahs? I’ll do that one. But the grave? Pass!
Yet that’s exactly what Jesus calls us to do. "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). In effect, to struggle against our corrupted desires, rejecting our sin and pride that are so much a part of ourselves, and following Jesus up Golgotha and into the tomb.
Jesus, of course, did not stay buried. And either do we! Through prayer and struggle we become, “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) By God’s grace we rise again, bursting out of the dank darkness and into the joyful light of Easter morning.
Without Jesus’ Good Friday death, there is no Easter resurrection and no hope for us. Our salvation springs from death, both of Jesus’ flesh and of our sinful nature. How does it feel to have the weight of sin off of your back? Believe me, it feels great! It frees up a lot of time and mental bandwidth to do God’s work: spreading the Gospel, being champions for the oppressed and the poor, and walking humbly with our God.
Happy Good Friday to you all!
~ Dan Heuser, Youth Ministry