Thank God It's Friday!
By Dot Bowen
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”Luke 22:42 (ESV)
It’s mid-week and almost time to enjoy a relaxing weekend. I have a feeling if we were to walk through the hallways of most schools or pass by a few executive offices, we would hear, “Thank God it’s Friday!” This Friday holds a special remembrance for Christians around the world as we reflect on the meaning of the cross. Today the cross stands as a symbol of Christianity, but at the time of Jesus’ death, the cross represented a humiliating and shameful form of punishment. To be hung on a tree was the equivalent of being put under a curse. Today, we may wear a cross around our neck or have a cross hanging on the wall in our homes as a sign of hope. But in Jesus’ day, the cross-meant punishment. Even Jesus’ disciples viewed the cross differently than Jesus. I can only imagine what the angels thought as they watched the Son of God in the hands of an angry mob. Then again, the angels did not understand redemption. Our Lord was not murdered against His will; He voluntarily gave himself to die for us. The cross was a divine assignment, not a human accident. But the disciples saw it differently.
The disciples saw the cross as defeat. Jesus saw it as victory. To them the cross meant shame. To Jesus it meant glory. To the disciples the cross represented a sign of weakness. To Jesus it stood for power. But what does the cross represent to you?
We see the cross correctly only when we see it from Jesus’ standpoint. You may be familiar with Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. As He prayed, blood fell on the very ground He created. What was in the cup Jesus asked to pass from Him? I believe it was anticipation of the very moment on the cross when God turned His face from His only Son. I believe Jesus couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from His Father so He prayed for another plan. If you have ever cried out to God and begged Him to change your circumstances, you can relate to Jesus’ prayer. Jesus knew God was all-powerful and was able to call 10,000 angels to rescue Him. But God said no to Jesus’ request. God wanted our heart, and our only hope of a relationship with Him had to come through the death of His Son—The Lamb who took the sins of the world. That’s why we say, “Thank God for that Friday!” God was faithful to His plan.
Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t change the difficult circumstances of your life? Often the “why” echoes out of our darkest despair and leaves us feeling forsaken by God. Good Friday is a reminder that pain is not about God forsaking us, but about God’s faithfulness to us. Pain may cause us to cry and ask God why, but I personally know God can use pain as an avenue to show us His strength. Even when we are unable to see past the pain, God gives us His strength. And we may never understand the “why” behind certain circumstances. Asking God why He allowed certain things to come into our life is not a sign of a lack of faith! Jesus had perfect faith and still asked God why. More than understanding why, we must believe God is good. And because He is good, He will not withhold anything from us that is best for us.
Have you ever considered what would have happened if Jesus had not submitted to the will of His Father in Gethsemane? What if Jesus had said, “This is harder than I imagined, and I can’t follow through with this plan?” What if Jesus had chosen not to suffer the pain of the cross? In other words, what if Jesus were like you and me? Pain has caused many of us to walk away from a loving God and look for a way to live life without pain. Jesus was very clear when He taught His disciples in this world that there will be suffering and pain. Therefore, we cannot live in this life without experiencing suffering. This is not heaven, and we do not have the ability to make it heaven.
The Friday before Resurrection Sunday appeared to be anything but “good.” But no one knew what God had planned for Sunday. The cross is a reminder of how God uses all things—including pain—for our good and His glory. This is why on the Friday before Easter, Christians are able to say, “Thank God it’s Friday!”
Further Reading Luke 22:39-46, Matthew 27:45-46, Romans 8:28, John 16:33; Galatians 3:13