Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory

Why is it “Good” Friday?

Ever wonder why Good Friday is called “Good” Friday?

Many say it is because of the religious significance of the day for Christians, who believe that Jesus’s death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s sins. Therefore, it is good. 

My understanding is it is good because of the forgiveness aspect of it.

We all remember the story of the Thief on the Cross (my favorite story in the Bible). This exposé is what makes that Friday a “Good” Friday. Even great.

As Jesus is dying on the cross suspended above the ground between two criminals, he hears from one of the thieves who says, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal on the other side of Jesus rebuked the thief saying, “Don’t you fear God since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Just imagine that eye contact he made with our Savior.

Now what astounds me and comforts me about all this is this...The thief who rebuked the other is not coming from a religious background. He is not a church-goer. He is not a studier of the Bible. He is not a man of the cloth. He is an ordinary fellow (with at least one dire crime in his back pocket) and has most likely never been baptized. He’s probably never prayed to God before and he’s probably broken all 10 commandments. But what happens when he comes to Jesus with a contrite heart and repents? He receives forgiveness immediately and has a one-way ticket to heaven.

This man most likely led a 30+ year life in sinful blasphemy and wickedness yet he was the first earthly person to walk through the pearly gates of heaven at the same time as Jesus.

What a lesson!  God is not up there tallying how many times you’ve attended church each month. He’s not up there keeping track of all the money you’ve given to charities. He’s not up there weighing the good things you’ve done against the bad. He’s up there waiting for you to approach Him with a contrite heart and a desire to be with Him in eternity.

That’s it! That’s all it takes. Opening your heart to God and being genuine about it. Praying to God that He’ll have mercy on your soul. Asking Jesus to remember you.

The stickler is — too many people wait too long in their lives to reach out to God in repentance. Some think, “I’ll enjoy life now and worry about that kind of thing when I get older.” The thing is, some may live their lives like the thieves on the cross did and get the same opportunity the penitent one received, but some will miss that chance. Do you want to take that chance?

Remember too that despite his repentance and forgiveness, the thief still faced the consequences of his earthly sins. He hung for hours on a cross (just as Jesus did) and had his legs broken later on. Being forgiven for ones’ sins on earth doesn’t excuse the crime nor the punishment. But receiving a heavenly gift from God is your just reward.

The penitent thief is a perfect example of how someone can start a relationship with Jesus. Approach God apologetically for your sins and ask Him to be a part of your life now and in the afterlife. 

And Jesus will look you right in the eye and smile.