My husband, Jeremy, has graciously offered to write the final post for the "Walk Through Holy Week" series. We have decided to combine Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday into one post. It is a little different than the other posts in this series, but I know you will enjoy what Jeremy has to say!
This past Wednesday at our youth group we finished a series based on Lent and the preparation of the heart for Easter, and the resurrection of Christ. When we were finished, on our way out one of my more curious students raised his hand and asked "If Good Friday is when Christ was killed, why is good Friday?". Now, when you take into consideration that my youth group is mostly made up middle schoolers who usually don't care about the boring theological discussions I beg them to have with me, I was overjoyed at the prospect of explaining the idealolgy behind Good Friday being "good". Despite this, there was one problem. Good Friday, standing alone, is NOT good. Good Friday is the day that Jesus' earthly ministry was interrupted by His trials and torture and death. How can we, on one hand, say that Jesus is our Lord and we love Him and then on the other say it was GOOD for Him to die?
The answer lies in hope.
I often use the example of what I like to call the "THX moment" to explain how Christ displayed His grace to the world.
When you and I go see a movie at the movie theater, we eagerly sit through the previews waiting to see the movie that we paid an outrageous $9 to see. We watch about 5 previews for movies we won't see, we're told to go buy snacks 20 times (also overpriced) and we sometimes forget that we even came to see a movie. Just as soon as we give up hope that the movie we have now spent $20 on (Cortney usually makes me buy popcorn), the theater goes dark. There is a slow rumble, and the letters "THX" come up on the screen. We are soon deaf and wonder why anyone in their right mind would do this to someone about to watch and listen to a movie. We then realize that all this THX company is doing is showing off how awesome their sound system is and letting us know the movie is about to start. The key lies in the fact that this jet engine taking off in front of you lets you know that you need to turn off your phones, take your seats and shut up because the main event is about to start.
Good Friday is our "THX moment". Good Friday, and the horrible pain and suffering that Christ took on OUR behalf is our wake up call to Him. It cries out to all listening that all the healings, prophecies and parables have been for this moment in time. The moment that the Son of God and the creator of the entire universe would died an ugly disgraceful death, so that you and I would not have to.
Good Friday is good because it screams at us to put away our phones, take our seats and shut up. The show is about to start.
That show takes place the moment Christ is put on that cross, hung for all to see and told He was the "King of the Jews". He was given three painful holes, a crown of thorns, lashes on his back and a spear in His side.He was killed, taken down from the cross, and laid in a tomb. The theater is black, and you don't think there is anyway that the movie will ever begin. You lose hope.
(picture of possible location of Golgotha)
Saturday was a very lonely day. Christ is in the tomb, and no one expects any different for Sunday. We begin to wonder if the law has been fulfilled, if there ever was supposed to be a Savior for the Jews. We begin to doubt that there was ever room for hope in our lives. The theater is darker than ever, and we contemplate the idea that the projector is possibly broken, and it may be time to go home.
Sunday. The greatest day in the history of man's existence begins the same way any other would. The sun comes up on a depraved and sinful world, and we all forget that there is a God that loves us. That is until He wakes us up with a deafening roar that lets us know that our world is not hopeless, and our depravity and sinfulness is not unbeatable. We are awoken by a Christ that is risen from the tomb in the most victorious fashion! He meets us with a message of hope and redemption that cannot be turned down. He shocks us into believing that the most perfect and holy God came to Earth to be with us, and took the punishment that sin gives us. He does this so that we may take the reward that Holiness gives instead. The theater shakes, the speakers show off their power and we are not given any reason to doubt anything anymore. The show is about to begin. For the Christian, that eagerly awaited show is the life that Christ gives us in His death. The life that leads to eternity in Heaven. A life of hope.
I once heard a story of a black Church (I hope you don't mind me calling it a black Church) that had a "preach off". Two men, who believed they could excite the congregation with their preaching decided to see who could do it best. The first preacher, a young man, stood up and gave a eloquent, Biblical sermon that made people think and smile, and even stand to their feet in praise. The second man was faced with a daunting task of "outdoing" his competitor. He stood up in the pulpit, looked in his audiences face and said one phrase. He repeated it, growing in his excitement, and the congregation responded in turn. By the end of the sermon, the entire Church was bursting with excitement, tears and praise. he had obviously won the competition, and in such a simple way. The phrase he used was "Today is Friday, but Sunday's comin!".
Our hope is built on nothing less. Friday and Saturday are so grim and resemble so much of our lives. Dark and scary, but we are given the promise that a sunrise is on it's way. We can rest assured that Christ, in His highest victory, will come back to life! Because of this, we can live our lives focused on Him, and sharing His love with the world. A risen Christ means a endless love that is free and can be accepted at any time. If you have never experienced an Easter celebration in your life, prepare your heart for tomorrow. Prepare your heart for the THX moment about to happen to you. Prepare your heart for the sunrise that breaks apart the darkness. Prepare for the Lord to completely change you in every possible way. Prepare for a love that cannot be taken away. Prepare your heart for the risen Christ.
We pray that you will each have a blessed Easter and remember the true meaning of it all.
Jeremy and Cortney