Today is Good Friday, the day Christians all over the world remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is an important day of remembrance in the Christian calendar because without Good Friday there is no Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, which, really, is what makes the Christian life possible.
Good Friday is morbid. The picture of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross like a common criminal in His time is a picture of defeat. The Son of God, dead. Indeed, He died, because He died a mortal being, like all of us will die. When He died, however, unusual things happened: the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (Matt 27: 51-53, NIV)
The witnesses probably didn’t know what to make of His death, except, perhaps, for the centurian and the soldiers with him who were guarding Jesus Christ. They saw what happened and they began to wonder if “surely he was the Son of God!” (Matt 27: 54) It was only much later when the disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, found understanding and began to teach the significance of His death: the sacrifice that brought about the forgiveness of sins.
It is something hard to understand because the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ — like the Resurrection — is really a mystery. Humanly, we can’t comprehend it fully, and I am not going to attempt to here except to explain it in simple terms to make my point. When Jesus died, He put to death mortality. Meaning, we need not be trapped by our mortality. We need not be oppressed by the failings of being human, the end of which is death because we know we are forgiven.
What makes the crucifixion necessary is the resurrection when Jesus rose from the dead. The disciples and others saw Him after He rose from the dead. All the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — attest to it. It is this fact that makes Jesus relevant to this day. The crucifixion is history — death of a man. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ is supremely divine yet current because a man rose from the dead no longer as a man but as the God He is before He became a man. He is alive, not dead, and He is available to us now and forever!
The significance of the resurrection is tremendous. It means that that the divine is available to humanity. If we have access to the divine, then, we can get help for every human failing we confront. And, because our sins are forgiven, we find grace to face our mortality into death. And, in death, we become free because death is just a door to life! This is not a mortal reality. It is a supernatural reality that has found expression in human reality, because of Jesus Christ.
When I think of Jesus Christ, I don’t see a man dead on the cross. I see Him the risen Lord, alive and involved with humanity! It is a powerful reality and I am very thankful for the privilege of being a part of such a reality.
That, for me and for Christians everywhere, is what Easter is all about — God who is for us every day!
Wishing you a blessed Easter!