Good Friday

April 2, 2010 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

On this Good Friday, the words of the prophet Isaiah are especially striking to me:

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

It is important to remember that before Good Friday was “good,” it was ugly.  As Isaiah explains, Jesus, in His hours on the cross, because the most ugly, hideous, depraved, grotesque creature this world has ever known – so ugly, in fact, that people hid their faces in repulsion.  For Jesus, in His hours on the cross, bore the sins of the world.  Martin Luther explains:

God sent His Son into the world, heaped all the sins of all men upon Him, and said to Him: “Be Peter the denier; Paul the persecutor, blasphemer, and assaulter; David the adulterer; the sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; the thief on the cross. In short, be the person of all men, the one who has committed the sins of all men. And see to it that You pay and make satisfaction for them.” Now the Law comes and says: “I find Him a sinner, who takes upon Himself the sins of all men. I do not see any other sins than those in Him. Therefore let Him die on the cross!” And so it attacks Him and kills Him. (AE 26, Galatians 3:13)

History’s most infamous sins were heaped upon the head of Christ.  What an ugly Friday this so-called “Good Friday” must have been!  What an ugly Christ the people gathered around the cross must have beheld!  Indeed, at the cross, it looked as though the ugliness of sin had overtaken the very beauty of God.  But then, all the ugly sins of humanity encountered something for which they never bargained.  Again, Luther explains:

The sins of the entire world, past, present, and future, attack Christ, try to damn Him, and do in fact damn Him. But because in the same Person, who is the highest, the greatest, and the only sinner, there is also eternal and invincible righteousness, therefore these two converge: the highest, the greatest, and the only sin; and the highest, the greatest, and the only righteousness. Here one of them must yield and be conquered, since they come together and collide with such a powerful impact. (AE 26, Galatians 3:13)

One of these – either man’s sinfulness or God’s righteousness – must yield and be conquered.  So which one yields?  Which one is conquered?

It is here that we find what’s “good” in Good Friday.  For on the cross, a truly bloody battle was waged between righteousness and sinfulness.  And righteousness won. This is the good news of Good Friday.

As you gaze upon the ugliness of cross today, remember that God’s beautiful righteousness is hiding there.  And righteousness won. And not only did righteousness win, but righteousness is now given to you and me by God’s grace on account of our faith.  And this makes this Friday a very good Friday indeed!

Entry filed under: Devotional Thoughts. Tags: , , , , , .

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