By Gloria Wessner.
The connection with Good Friday has to do with death – the term conjures up all kinds of negative and dark connotations. In real life, many times things must die in order to give way to the new (which we always hope is better) such as a seed has to die in order to bring forth new life. The simplest answer as to where the original name that Good Friday comes from is that it comes from the word ‘holy’ eventually becoming the word ‘good.’1 But for our purposes, we want to see the name for the holiday for its intent.
Before Jesus came, the Jews received forgiveness through sacrifices of blood by goats, sheep and bulls. The priest would sprinkle a combination of hyssop (a herb from the mint family used a lot in the Middle East and often used for purification purposes) and blood basically on the people and in the temple/tabernacle at various times depending on the ‘condition’ of the person or group of people they were dealing with. The priests also had to do it time and again in order to fulfill the law. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22 NIV)
This was symbolic as to what Christ would do when he came, and that very purpose was to purify hearts.
“But Christ has come as the high priest of the good things we now have. The tent he entered is greater and more perfect. It is not made by men. It does not belong to this world. Christ entered the Most Holy Place only once—and for all time. He did not take with him the blood of goats and calves. His sacrifice was his own blood. He entered the Most Holy Place and set us free from sin forever. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a cow are sprinkled on the people who are unclean and this makes their bodies clean again. How much more is done by the blood of Christ. He offered himself through the eternal Spirit as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will make our hearts clean from useless acts. We are made pure so that we may serve the living God.
So Christ brings a new agreement from God to his people. Those who are called by God can now receive the blessings that God has promised. These blessings will last forever. They can have those things because Christ died so that the people who lived under the first agreement could be set free from sin.” (Hebrews 9: 11-15 ICB)
“So the copies of the real things in heaven had to be made clean by animal sacrifices. But the real things in heaven need much better sacrifices. For Christ did not go into the Most Holy Place made by men. It is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven itself. He is there now before God to help us. The high priest enters the Most Holy Place once every year. He takes with him blood that is not his own blood. But Christ did not go into heaven to offer himself many times. Then he would have had to suffer many times since the world was made. But Christ came only once and for all time. He came at just the right time to take away all sin by sacrificing himself. Everyone must die once. After a person dies, he is judged. So Christ was offered as a sacrifice one time to take away the sins of many people. And he will come a second time, but not to offer himself for sin. He will come again to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:23-28 ICB)
So what is ‘good’ about Good Friday? It is that Christ’s death takes away our sins (wrongdoings), that He did the ultimate act of sacrificing Himself that reverses that to become total newness of life. I’ve taken the key thoughts from above and put them together here to look at them in one place.
~ He entered the Most Holy Place and set us free from sin forever
~ His blood will make our hearts clean from useless acts.
~ We are made pure so that we may serve the living God.
~ So Christ brings a new agreement from God to his people (Jesus fulfilled the law, hence a new agreement).
~ Those who are called by God can now receive the blessings that God has promised.
~ These blessings will last forever.
~ He went into heaven itself. He is there now before God to help us. (not only did He himself perform the act to make us clean, He’s not dead and He lives now so He’s always there to help me).
~ He came at just the right time to take away all sin by sacrificing himself.
~ And he will come a second time, but not to offer himself for sin. He will come again to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Jesus didn’t stay dead. He’s very much alive (therefore Easter Sunday!) so that is why He was able to promise that ‘he will come again to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.’ Are you one of those waiting for him? You can be. He’s promised salvation (forgiveness of wrongdoings) to All who believe, call on his name, and give the reins of their life to him. There is no other person, living or dead, who can make these claims and do what He has promised to do in your heart, plus the promise of eternal life with him if you accept his gift of salvation. No other philosophy or train of thought or religion can do for you what He can and wants to do for you. Love is behind His sacrifice just for you, and love is His ongoing reason for His promise to help you every moment if you need it no matter what it is, and it is love behind the fact that He wants you to be with him in His very real heaven that he is preparing for you that he promised as well. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3 NIV)
I hope this Good Friday and Easter Sunday you will see and sense God’s love for you and you will respond to Him as He longs for you to do with His arms open wide.
Readers are invited to write Gloria at gloriawes@hotmail .com and I will gladly respond to you.