What can possibly be good about the day we humans did the worst thing we are capable of? This is the day we remember our deicide. This is the day which highlights the capacity for evil which lies within each of us. This is the day which shows us our propensity to join the mob who shouts “crucify!” This is the day which highlights our cowardice that even the most avid followers of Jesus would abandon and deny Him. So the question remains, what can be good about this most darkest of days of remembrance?
This day does not highlight our goodness. That much is for sure. What is good about Good Friday? God is good. God shows us just how good God is on Good Friday. We thirst for blood. We shout for death. We demand that the violent leader be given to us because the revolutionary teacher of love would rather heal the enemy than fight for the cause. We beat and batter the embodiment of love and grace and mercy. Good Friday shows us God’s response to our evil. While we are still sinners…while we still take part in deicide…while we cast lots for the garments of the Son of Man…God, with our nails in His hands, says “Abba forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In many Protestant circles Good Friday has been reduced to a day of hopelessness. Our dreams of a Messiah have been crushed and we do not know what to do. Yes, there is some of that present in Good Friday, but that is a very shortsighted way to view this day of remembrance. Look upon the cross my friends. Look at our messiah. He was not a messiah in the way the Jews expected a messiah. Nor was he a messiah in the way many Christians expect Him to return one day. There is no violence in Him. None, that is, except for the violence He inflicts upon the institution of violence.
You see, in violence we feel we can put down or silence an enemy. This is why the cross was such an utterly tortuous experience. The Romans not only wanted the people on the cross to suffer, they wanted everyone who saw the crucifixion to draw back in terror. Jesus annihilates the institution of violence by willingly stepping into it. Jesus annihilates violence by taking away its power. By forgiving us in the midst of the worst act humanity is capable of Jesus robs violence of its greatest power. Jesus shows us light in the midst of our darkness. Jesus brings love to our hate. “While we were still sinners, Christ…died…for…us.”
This was not some cosmic balancing of the scales of justice where part of the Holy Trinity uses another part as His own sadistic sacrifice. No, this was God the Father, in God the Son, with the Holy Spirit, loving us while we hate Him. This was God showing us the full extent of His forgiveness and how He responds to evil. God responds to evil with love. This is God’s character. God’s character is never more fully revealed than it is as Jesus hangs on the cross.
So on the darkest of days for humanity, we see God more clearly than any other day. On risk of being called a heretic I’m going to disagree with a scripture here. “No man has ever seen God,” ah, but I see my God today. I see my Lord so clearly through the lens of Good Friday. I see my redeemer meeting hate with love. I see my messiah with love flowing from the wounds I inflicted with mercy and hope in His eyes. Hope for me…hope for you…He believes in us…He sees the best in us even when we are at our absolute disgustingly worst. I see my savior rejecting the entire establishment of worldly justice and retribution and instead pronouncing His love and forgiveness over us. Oh, my friends, do you see our God?