The Sunday School kids were busy this past weekend … besides singing quite awesomely! I found enough questions in the question box to last me until my sabbatical begins!
The first question:
Why is Good Friday called “Good” Friday, even though Jesus died?
The usual answer goes something like this:
“The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus,
the perfect sacrificial substitute,
in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out for all people.”
· You can probably “prove” this idea from the Bible.
· But it doesn’t help answer the question about how Good Friday is Good, because it makes God seem angry and unloving. You’d think God could have come up with a better way to deal with sin than having his only Son killed.
And he did.
· Think about a fire fighter who runs into a burning building to rescue someone.
· Think about doctors and nurses who go to Africa to help people dying from the Ebola virus.
· Think about a soldier risking his or her life to rescue someone in danger.
What if these people died while saving someone? That would be a very sad thing, but it would also be a good thing. And not just because those people saved a life, but because their love and courage could be seen in their action.
It’s always a good thing to see people act with love and courage.
That’s how Good Friday is good. On Good Friday we can see how Jesus acted with love and courage. Many times, Jesus said he knew what he was doing was risky and that he would be killed. Yet Jesus kept on doing what he was doing: healing people with diseases of the body and mind, telling people God loved them, feeding them. No matter who they were. Jesus knew the religious leaders in Jerusalem wouldn’t like this at all.
And he was right.
But when the religious leaders in Jerusalem and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate made a deal to kill Jesus, Jesus didn’t act with hate toward them. Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
But Jesus’ love and courage wasn’t just Good for the people he forgave and healed and fed 2000 years ago. Jesus love and courage did something Good for all people. That makes Good Friday even better.
But not as good as Easter!
· On Easter, God raised Jesus from the dead, so all people would be able to see that the things Jesus said and did were God’s will, God’s plan.
· On Easter in the Gospel of John, God sent the Holy Spirit to help people believe that the things Jesus said and did were God’s will, God’s plan.
· God sent the Holy Spirit to help the disciples tell the whole world the how story of Jesus is the story of God’s gracious, forgiving love for all people.
· God sent the Holy Spirit to change people, so they would be like Jesus.
· God sent the Holy Spirit in baptism, so angry and hateful parts of people would drown and die, so Jesus would be raised up in them. Just like the Apostle Paul said,
“It’s no longer I who live, but Jesus who lives in me!!!”
Like Jesus, we all go through a Good Friday and Easter! It’s Good that Jesus lives in us! It’s Good that more and more people become like Jesus!
It was a scary thing to be Jesus, just like it’s a scary thing to be a firefighter or a soldier or a doctor or nurse working in countries where there are wars or diseases like Ebola. When he knew he had been betrayed by Judas, Jesus could have run away. But on Good Friday Jesus acted with love and courage and did not give up on anything he stood for. And that’s a Good thing. For you and me and for the whole world.