We had a great discussion at the dinner table tonight. This week, as we anticipate our most celebrated holiday in Christendom, we find our minds frequently pondering the unfolding of the passion week. Every emotion fits within the context of that one week. The drastic highs and lows experienced in this short span of time would certainly have qualified for Guinness World Records, “Most Stressful Week Ever” award. Never to be broken.
Back to the dinner table discussion though. My daughter asked something like this, “Why is Good Friday good?”. We, of course, answered the question with several more questions (because, what are parents for?). Thus giving her the 180 degree opportunity to end up answering her own question in the end.
How many of us have wondered the same thing? Good Friday? We have a vantage point that helps us discover the goodness of Good Friday rather quickly today. But, what about during it’s initial occurrence?
From the vantage point of Christ’s contemporary followers and worshippers, was Good Friday really good when it was being lived and experienced first hand? I think I can safely speak for these men and women and say that Good Friday seemed anything but good. Though He had alluded to it several times, Christ’s followers still hadn’t any idea of the significance and necessity of His death. I think they would have preferred to call it, “Grief Friday” or, “Devastating and Perplexing Friday”, or how about, “Hopeless Friday”. From their vantage point, the good and the hope that resulted from the work that was accomplished on Good Friday only manifested itself 3 days later- In His resurrection.
Today, of course, we have an entirely different vantage point. Our vantage point certainly has the advantage. We can look at one of the most bleak and devastating of history’s events through eyes and a knowledge of the hope that comes from it. We completely understand the necessity of Christ’s work, and the suffering that He endured. We also understand the glorious and miraculous outcome, and what it means for the entire human race.
Good Friday today certainly is just that, good.
This is not, however, the only irony that encompasses this celebrated Christian holiday. While reading through the book of John this week, I was intrigued by how much irony surrounded this day. The contrast of heavenly and temporal realities creates so.much.paradox.
Without further ado, I want to share 5 ironies of Good Friday:
5 Ironies Surrounding the Death of Jesus
Seizing Jesus With Force:
- Judas came with a band of men which included officers, pharisees etc. It specifically says that these men came with weapons. They intended, with force, to seize the man who wittingly came to give His life, a ransom for many. (Jn 18:3 )
His Vicarious Death Prophesied By Caiaphas:
- It is incredibly ironic that God prophesies through the words of this unbelieving man, who was actually conspiring the murder of Jesus when He declared that it’s better for one man to die for the people, than that the whole nation perish. It’s also incredible to see God’s sovereignty in using the evil motives of man to accomplish His perfect plan. (Jn 11:50,51, 18:14)
Jesus is Rebuked for Not Giving Honour Where Honour Is Due:
- Jesus was struck forcefully. I sometimes think a punch is actually implied. In this way He was rebuked for answering the high priest in a way that was deemed inappropriate and dishonourable. Fathom that. Striking your creator and sustainer, the king of the entire universe for not giving honour where honour is due. Ironic. (Jn 18:22)
Pilot Declares His Power Over Jesus’ Life and Death:
- Pilot is frustrated by Jesus’ silence. He then asks Jesus the question- Do you not realize I have the power to crucify you, or to release you? The irony of this statement blows me away. Pilot obviously didn’t realize that the one he was threatening was one and the same with The Omnipotent One. Christ may have uttered but one word to accomplish Pilot’s demise and secure His own freedom. (Jn 19:10-11, Matt 26:53)
Jesus Wittingly Provides For the Greatest Need of Those Who Mock and Spit at Him:
- This irony is also implied: Jesus wittingly provided for my greatest need when I ignorantly mocked and spat at Him. Honour and humility. We humans are constantly mixing those 2 up. Exalting self while simultaneously humiliating the honourable. Ironic.
The object of the world’s most unjust act, despite His omnipotence, chose to restrain His power to stop His own murder in order to accomplish my salvation.
The meekness of Christ is distinctly manifested in these 5 ironies surrounding His death. Christ experienced, and overcame, every provocation to incite the use of His power against those who smote him.
Instead, He simultaneously utters, and accomplishes these words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
What are your thoughts on Good Friday? What are some conversations you have had in your home this week before approaching this special day? I would love to hear.
Due to it being Easter this Sunday, I will be posting a special post in honour and celebration of the day. Be sure to check in on Sunday!
Linked up with Grace & Truth Linkup at ArabahJoy