Why is Good Friday called good? It seems wrong the day our Savoir suffered a horrible death at the hands of betrayal and cruelty could ever be called good! Some countries call it Suffering Friday, or Long Friday. Apparently it’s only called Good Friday in English. For me it’s good, as I believe Jesus took my place on the cross that day, to pay for my sin. And he rose from the dead three days later, on Easter, assuring me of eternal life with God.
I wonder though, what Good Friday means to God? Thinking about that challenges me to understand and know him more.
In the past several years I have been struck by the deep desire God has to love the people he created. It’s staggering to think that the God Almighty who exists in Three Persons, needs and wants other beings to love. The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve, the first created people, were allowed to dwell with God in the Garden of Eden. This is remarkable, because God is Holy, and described as a Consuming Fire, who generates so much light and glory that to be in his presence means death. But Adam and Eve dwelt in a peaceful relationship with him, without dying. They were given everything with only one “do-not” command. Just one rule -- just one tree God said they couldn’t touch or eat from. It seems like such a small test of love, but Satan told them if they ate from it they would be like God.
So they ate and ruined it for all of us. One tree, one command, one choice, and they chose themselves over God. So selfish. So human.
The wonderful gift they had of dwelling safely and unhindered in the presence of a Holy God was lost. Holy God couldn’t dwell with unholy people, so they were expelled from his presence and condemned to death for their betrayal.
It’s not recorded how God felt about losing them. But he must have been devastated because he devised a plan to get them, and all of us, back. He still longed to love and be loved back. Even after such rejection.
God’s plan unfolded for 2,000 years and landed on Good Friday. A day that shows just how deep his longing for us goes, and how far he would go to get us back. A day of brutal death that is good because of what it means to God himself, as well as the people he so longs to dwell with. Jesus’ death meant that instantaniously the wall between God and the people he lost was torn down. God, himself, dying in our place. An ingenious and eternal way to bring us back to life with him, without judgment. A way to bring us back into his waiting arms. So unselfish and forgiving. So Divine. Good Friday must be a very precious day to Him of terrible loss, but ecstatic gain of loving and being loved.
And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is [waiting for us], because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us into the holy presence of God [who loves and adores us]. ~ Hebrews 10:20 (LB)