I remember walking with my friend Ben along a riverbank in Northwestern Arkansas this time last year. I’d only known him for about 7 months but already he, and a few other guys, had become some of those dearest to me. By God’s grace, I got to see the transforming grace of God through the Word of God in his life. He probably didn’t know, but I was really discouraged at the time (and it wasn’t because of the big snake we were about to see!).
It was Good Friday and we were camping. Our little discipleship group had taken to the woods! My heart was lagging behind my head. What I knew about the sure and finished work of Christ on my behalf was not as sweet to me as it should have been, it was not causing the great comfort and holy fire that it is to produce in those whom God has saved. Just trying to carry on conversation I asked if this Good Friday and Easter meant anything different to him now in light of all that we had learned. What he said to me remains to this day one of the most encouraging things I have ever been told by a brother. He said that, for the first time, he really understood what took place on the cross of Christ.
I was blown away. God had shown him just what it meant that Christ died in his place. He knew the worth and value of God and our heinous sin before Him for failing to value Him as He deserves. He saw the sufficiency of the atonement – as Christ bore the wrath of God deserved for him in his place and positively fulfill the Law as he was required. Ben understood the gospel. This Good Friday, he finally saw what makes Good Friday “good.”
But the beauty of this story is that every day, not just one day out of the year, had become a Good Friday. Every single day of his life has come to be dominated by the person and work of Christ. And by God’s grace, every day from then on to the other side of eternity will be dominated by these realities – the Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom, we are the foremost! It seems that the mass of the redeemed from every tribe, tongue and nation will never tire of the gospel. Forever, we will sing the praises of the Lamb who was slain! His worth will be our highest joy and confidence.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with focusing a day on the bloody death of the Lord of life. We had a beautiful service at Third Avenue Baptist Church this evening. Our pastor proclaimed the sufficiency of Christ and the glory of the gospel. A visible line was drawn around the church in the taking of the Lord’s Supper, allowing us to see just what God hath wrought! Lord willing, in a few days, we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our King and long for our future resurrection together with Him when we will finally enjoy Him fully.
But we don’t reserve this glorious news for next year! Each and every Sunday, indeed each and every day, is Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Praise God that we are not bound by a church calendar! While we can celebrate especially on one day, we get to find our highest end in this message every living second and into eternity.
Christ’s work on the cross was not an end in itself. The facts of the gospel – the atonement, our justification and even our resurrection- bring us to the God of the gospel. These gospel gifts eliminate all obstacles to us seeing and savoring the glory of Christ. Good Friday is for us but only because it is for God. God has made much of Himself by saving sinners from Himself, by Himself and for Himself. God has loved us in that He has given us our greatest pleasure: God Himself.
This makes today and every day a really, really Good Friday.