This evening as I was sitting in our Good Friday service, listening to our minister eloquently speak on the significance of Good Friday, I couldn’t help but think that for everyone who was present that day, it was not such a good Friday.
The fact of the matter is that not one individual who was present that day knew with certainty what was really occurring, not even the disciples who had spent the last three year with him. Indeed, even the last week with Jesus did not prepare them for what they experienced, even though Jesus himself spoke of what was coming.
Following an evening where Jesus was falsely accused, tried, struck, beaten, and flogged, it wasn’t such a good morning. For those who watched Pontius Pilate as he tried to set Jesus free by offering Jesus or Barrabas, it was not such a good day (oh, how fickle the people when riled up!).
For Jesus’ followers watching him along the road to Golgatha, and seeing him so faint that another carried his cross, it wasn’t such a good day. For Mary, Jesus’ mother to watch her son being nailed to a cross, and then hoisted in the air to fall with a thud into the earth, the small death to her heart was not a good day. For the many disciples who were probably scattered, maybe fearfully watching while their heads were covered, hoping that no one recognized them, it was not such a good day. Especially, for Peter, who had denied Christ three times the evening before, it was not a good day.
For John who listened as Jesus spoke to him from the cross and gave him the responsibility of being a son to Mary, it was not such a good day. For the women who had followed Jesus and been given value and had been known Christ’s love, it was not a good day. Even for the centurion, who realized a huge error had been made and acknowledged that surely this was the son of God, it was not a good day.
For Joseph of Arimathea, who begged for the body of Jesus to be laid in his very own tomb, it was surely a day filled with sorrow. And for Mary Magdalene who had been delivered from seven demons, and the other Mary who were sitting across from the tomb and watching, it was not a very good day.
The good news is that after three days, what was surely so sorrowful for all who loved Jesus became a day of joy as the news of his resurrection filled the rooms where they were gathered. But even then, I am not sure they realized the huge ramifications of what Jesus had finished.
But for us, we who can look back and see what Jesus has done–for us it was a very Good Friday.