Easter Changes Everything - The Good Friday Edition
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
1 Corinthian 15:3-4
Good Friday. I’ve never been particularly satisfied with the name that we have assigned to this day. On one hand it seems to be the greatest understatement of all time. This is the day on which Jesus Christ, God Himself, died on a cross in order to conquer sin and death and make salvation possible for all of mankind. On this day He bore the sins of the world and endured the wrath of God on our behalf. Because of this day we no longer have to live in slavery to our sin. Because of this day we have the hope of salvation and eternal life. Because of this day we have the opportunity to spend all of eternity in the presence of God Himself. With all of that being true, the best adjective we can come up with is good? It seems a little understated.
On the other hand, it also seems a little ironic. This is the day when God Himself willingly gave up His life on behalf of sinful mankind. He had come to earth as a man and lived a sinless life. He had healed the sick, raised the dead and promised to establish His kingdom, and what did we do? We spit on Him, we beat Him, we whipped Him, we nailed Him to a cross and we killed Him. The case could be made that this is the saddest and most tragic day in all of history. God Himself was killed by His own creation, yet we choose to call it Good Friday. It seems a little ironic. But despite my opinion of what we call it, Good Friday is a day that should stop us in our tracks. It should be a day that we set aside to carefully and honestly consider all that Jesus Christ did on our behalf.
Have you ever considered what the disciples must have felt on Good Friday? They had given up everything to follow Jesus. They had left their jobs and their families. They had completely changed their ways of life. They loved Jesus and they had committed everything to following Him. The journey had never been easy, but they trusted the one whom they were following. Many people hated Him and many people had threatened Him, but on Good Friday the hatred and threats went far beyond words. The disciples had hopes and dreams of what Jesus was going to accomplish. They had lofty expectations of how He would change the world and establish His kingdom, but now it seemed that all of that was shattered. Jesus had been beaten, crucified and killed. He was dead. What we call Good Friday was probably the most hopeless and devastating day of their lives.
It's hard to imagine the grief and fear that they must have experienced on Good Friday; and Saturday probably wasn’t any better. Have you ever had a day when your world seemed to fall apart? Maybe you woke up the next morning hoping that it was all just a bad dream. When the disciples woke up on Saturday morning (if they had slept at all) nothing had changed. Jesus was still dead, and they were left to pick of the pieces of their lives. Jesus had told them that He was going to go away, but it’s hard to imagine how they must have felt on that day. I'm sure the reality of the situation seemed like more than they could bear.
It’s a pretty bleak picture. The Messiah is dead and His disciples are left wondering what to do next. So how can we call this day Good Friday? We can call this a good day (or even a great day) because we know what happened on Sunday. We celebrate Good Friday because we know the story of Easter. If Easter never happened, if the resurrection never happened, then Friday would have been a tragedy.
1 Corinthians 15 is a beautiful reminder of the resurrection and all that it accomplished. Paul understood the essential nature of the resurrection. He knew that if Friday had been the end then our faith is empty and meaningless. Paul knew that if the story of Jesus ended at the cross then we would be without a Savior and without hope. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ has no power. We can only celebrate Christ's death because we know about His resurrection. Paul said it this way:
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Without Easter we are without hope. Paul tells us that if Christ had not risen from the grave, if Easter Sunday never happened, then there are some sad results.
- If Easter never happened, then our faith is useless.
- If Easter never happened, then we are still in our sins.
- If Easter never happened, then those who have died are gone forever.
- If Easter never happened, then we have wasted our lives.
But there is good news . . . great news . . . the best news . . . Easter did happen! You see, Good Friday is a wonderful day, but it is only wonderful because of what happened on Easter Sunday. The wonderful news of the resurrection is what makes Good Friday “Good.”
I love to think about the emotions that the disciples must have experienced when they arrived at the empty tomb on that first Easter Sunday. On Friday and Saturday they had lost everything and their lives had been sent into a tailspin. They had experienced two days that most of us cannot imagine, but on Sunday everything was made right. When they arrived at the tomb they found it empty. Christ had risen from the dead! He had overcome death!
Can you imagine the Christian life without the hope of the resurrection? The answer must be no, because without the resurrection there is no Christianity. Paul writes:
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins . . .
But thankfully he does not stop there, he continues:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead . . . For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:13, 20-22
Jesus overcame death.
Jesus conquered sin.
Jesus made salvation possible.
Jesus is alive.
Praise God! Easter Changes Everything!
Tags: Good Friday, Easter, Southern Hills Baptist Church Easter Sunday, Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15
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