Irony is not lost on me as I seek to be more precise with language when I am not wired to do so. As a person who thinks we take ourselves too seriously, as I grow older I see the wisdom more and more of being precise with our language. While I wrote on this topic nearly a decade ago, my thoughts seem more firm than ever on using the word good to describe this day in history.
From a biblical perspective, death is not a good thing. Death came as a result of sin. It is the payment for sin. In a future a moment in heaven is coming when there will be silence before the breaking of the 7th seal. This seal brings on the ferocity of God’s wrath. Death having to be used to pay for sin is not good, it is tragedy.
Jesus died for us and in our place. He sacrificed himself that the relationship with God and humanity may be fully restored. The self sacrifice of Jesus do die once for all sin is incredible in scope. It is fully consistent with the nature of God to be both merciful and gracious. Merciful in Jesus took on Himself what we deserved. Gracious in giving us what we do not deserve. While there is no doubt we benefit from Jesus’ noble act of sacrifice, it still does not make it good. Bluntly, it is tragic that an innocent man had to die.
Glory is the fullness of who someone is. At the cross we see the glory of God’s wrath and the glory of God’s love. God the Father punished Jesus for what we deserve because His character required it. God the Son willingly submitted to taking on our punishment because His love required it. Great leaders give the credit and take the blame, even when the blame is not their fault. On this day in history the greatest leader in existence took the blame, and gave us who fully deserve the blame the credit. The cross is a moment in history that incredibly reveals to us who God is. It is glorious as much as it is tragic.
The word good fails in describing this moment in history. Death is tragic, not good. The cross is glorious, far exceeding good. Neither the tragedy of the cross nor the gloriousness of the cross average out to the word good. This day in the life of a Christian brings out feelings of mourning, and feelings of gratitude. Of seeing our fallenness, but also out immense value because God loved us so much that He died for us. The word memorial is already taken by another holiday that mirrors the feelings of this day. If I could have my way, this day would be called Sacrificial Friday. The word sacrifice captures both the tragedy and the gloriousness of this day.
Life is not about you, it is about Him. On this day in history God showed us deeply, sacrificially, and fearfully who He is. On this day in history, God fully knowing the mistakes, brokenness, and tragedy of our choices, chose to die for us anyway. On this day in history while God would have been completely just in eliminating all creation, He was completely loving in solving the problem. On this day in history God’s wrath at sin and the punishment for sin collided. On this day in history a new promise is inaugurated. A promise when in full effect will bring ultimate peace, restoration, and reconciliation. This sacrifice is the turning point in history.
Blessings to all those who celebrate this solemn day. Peace to those who feel the weight of what Jesus did, and the immensely freeing love that Jesus showed. Grace to all whom God lavished His grace to us.