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April 2012

Good Bad Friday

Good Friday

Scripture Reference: Luke 24:19 – 21

Preparation: (Optional) You may bring a version of the Chinese folktale called “The Lost Horse” or another variation.

Good Friday is sort of a strange name for such a sad day, isn’t it? On Good Friday, we remember that day that our Savior, Jesus, was nailed to a cross and hung up to die with two criminals on either side of him. It was a terrible, sad day. His disciples were heart-broken and his mother and other friends stood at the foot of the cross weeping. They could not believe that their wonderful teacher was dying in front of their very eyes.

How could such a sad day be called good? I remember thinking, when I was very young, that it should be called “Bad Friday” instead of “Good Friday.” But sometimes, when we think something is bad, it is only because we don’t see the whole picture… we don’t know everything about the situation.

It reminds me of an old Chinese folktale where an old man’s only horse, a mare, runs away. “That’s bad,” say his neighbors. “No, that was good,” says the old man when the horse returns with a stallion by her side, and now he has two horses. “Ah, that’s good,” say the neighbors. “No, that was bad,” says the old man after the horse throws his only son to the ground and the son breaks his hip. “That is really bad,” say the neighbors. But then an army marches through the town, forcing all of the young men and sons who are healthy to go to war with them. The old man’s son is not taken because of his broken hip and so he is left behind. The son heals and is able to stay and care for his old father. So the final result for this family is good.

Good Friday is good because of the whole picture. Jesus knew what was going to happen. He knew that he would die on the cross; but he also knew that death was not the end of the story. Jesus knew that God is more powerful than death. Jesus knew that after three days, he would rise from the dead  and break the power of sin and death forever. Good Friday begins a story that ends in victory and that is why Good Friday is, indeed, good.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so much that you died on the cross to take away sin and death. Thank you for going through the bad to bring us to the good. Help us to always remember the good of Good Friday.

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