We know that this is true...
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him."
~John 3:16-18 from The Message
Today is Good Friday, the day the Christian faith declares as the very day Jesus was mocked, beaten and crucified on the cross. All because a God, who so loved the world, gave His one and only Son as his divine plan to save the world from sin and death. This very plan was designed just for me and just for you because God loves us so much, he wants our sins to be redeemed and our lives to be made right with him. He wants to spend eternity with us and his Word says he is preparing a place for us. All it takes from us is the step of faith to accept in belief this magnificent gift and divine plan for our lives.
Yesterday, at dinner, Jason and I took some time to explain to our kids that this week is called Holy Week and what this means. I explained Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter and what an important weekend this is. After a few seconds, Emily asked, "Why is it called Good Friday if Jesus was treated so badly on that day?" Have you ever stopped to think why, in fact, we call it Good Friday? I am no theologian, so if you are and have insight, please comment. However, it made sense to us to explain to our kids that Good Friday is not the end of the story. God's plan involved a horrible, tragic day for his Son, but the underlying thread of the entire plan was grounded in goodness...God's provision to overcome death, which is the natural punishment for sin. Good Friday had to happen for Easter Sunday to happen. Thus, the entire story gives us the gift of hope and eternal life.
What does that mean to us? We have been given the gift of hope and the knowledge that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28) and that no matter what today brings us, we have the hope that He is working all things for our good and we will be with Him forever. No tears, no sadness, no sin, no evil.
We participated in a Good Friday service for the past several years with our church in Houston. The service began with a dramatic reading, read by random members of the congregation, interspersed with a few hymns. The service ended in silence while each person went to the cross with his/her own nail and hammered the nail into the cross. I was always one of the last ones in line, and as I stood in line, waiting my turn to receive the hammer, I was moved by the visual reminder of the cross itself, the sound of the hammers hitting the nails, and how all those nails represented our sin. I am missing that active reminder today.
I am thankful for Good Friday. I am thankful for the sacrifice that was given for me, for you. I am thankful that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than anyone on this earth and is preparing a place just for me that will be beautiful beyond my wildest imagination and happier than my happiest days here in this lifetime.
And that, my friends, is something to ponder this Good Friday!