black friday

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There are two Fridays that people reference frequently: Black Friday and Good Friday.

How did Black Friday get its name? “Black Friday” had an early meaning of referring to the day that normally retailers “sell in the black” or make a profit from their sales for the year. Religiously, the day after Thanksgiving, we make a mad rush to stores long before they open to get bargains before Christmas.

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More important is “Good Friday.” It was the first Black Friday. Good Friday is ironically named. It’s good because something horrific happen, a death. How can a death be called good? It’s who died and why He died. Jesus died. And when he died, on Friday, He carry the weight of our sin on the cross, bore the wrath of God, and paid the price for our sins!

Isn’t it ironic we call it “Good” when Jesus suffered incomprehensibly for us? As horrific as it is, it’s Good News! Jesus took our place! Without Good Friday we have no eternal profit, rather we are bankrupt. We would be in the red.

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Who has believed what he has heard from us?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

For he grew up before him like a young plant,

and like a root out of dry ground;

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

and no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men;

a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

and as one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;

and as for his generation, who considered

that he was cut off out of the land of the living,

stricken for the transgression of my people?

And they made his grave with the wicked

and with a rich man in his death,

although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;

he has put him to grief;

when his soul makes an offering for guilt,

he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;

the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;

by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

make many to be accounted righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

because he poured out his soul to death

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and makes intercession for the transgressors.

– Isaiah 53

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hanged on a tree (for me)

Part of the curse Jesus would bear for us on Golgotha was the taunting and testing by God’s enemies. As he drowned in his own blood, the spectators yelled words quite similar to those of Satan in the desert: “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32). But he didn’t jump down. He didn’t ascend to the skies. He just writhed there. And, after it all, the bloated corpse of Jesus hit the ground as he was pulled off the stake, spattering warm blood and water on the faces of the crowd.

That night the religious leaders probably read Deuteronomy 21 to their families, warning them about the curse of God on those who are “hanged on a tree.” Fathers probably told their sons, “Watch out that you don’t ever wind up like him.” Those Roman soldiers probably went home and washed the blood of Jesus from under their fingernails and played with their children in front of the fire before dozing off. This was just one more insurrectionist they had pulled off a cross, one in a line of them dotting the roadside. And this one (what was his name? Joshua?) was just decaying meat now, no threat to the empire at all.

That corpse of Jesus just lay there in the silences of that cave. By all appearances it had been tested and tried, and found wanting. If you’d been there to pull open his bruised eyelids, matted together with mottled blood, you would have looked into blank holes. If you’d lifted his arm, you would have felt no resistance. You would have heard only the thud as it hit the table when you let it go. You might have walked away from that morbid scene muttering to yourself, “The wages of sin is death.”

But sometime before dawn on a Sunday morning, a spike-torn hand twitched. A blood-crusted eyelid opened. The breath of God came blowing into that cave, and a new creation flashed into reality….

The following is my favorite excerpt from: Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell Moore, Crossway, 2011. pages 124-125.

why did Jesus die?

Jesus lived to die. Jesus was a man on a mission. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, who took on flesh so that He would become the complete and perfect God-man. His death is incredibly important.

Without the death of Christ man cannot live (Galatians 2:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:16-17) Christ died to save lost and sinful me. Christ died to save sinful man from their hopeless state (Romans 3:21-26). In other words, Christ died in my place to satisfy the wrath of God on me in order to declare me innocent even through I was guilty (justification), He died to buy me off the slave market of sin (redemption), He died to make me friend even when I was an enemy (reconciliation), and He died so the Father would see me through the righteousness of Christ. Christ paid the penalty that He did not owe so that I might be freed from a penalty that I owed but could not pay.

Without the death of Christ He would not have glorified His Father (Luke 22:41-42; John 6:38; 17:1-5). Jesus was obedient to His father and did what He was commanded to do—be the sacrifice for mankind’s sin. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial promises and became our suffering servant (Isaiah 53). The death on the cross is what God wanted and the cross was the means by which Jesus glorified His father. Jesus Christ glorified God the Father in both His life and in His death.

Jesus lived to die. Without His death I could not live, forever. Without His death i could not glorify the Father. But Jesus did die, therefore I have eternal hope of glory. Thanks be to God.

For more, check out this video by Thabiti Anyabwile:

What is so good about Good Friday?

“What is so good about Good Friday?” asked a girl with a quizzical look. When we scan the surface of the events surrounding Good Friday they do not seem so good, in fact, they appear grotesque. How could the horrific death of the Jesus be so good, when a bloody and baffling execution appears so bad? This question begs another:

What if Jesus never came?
Or instead, accepted immediate fame?
What if He never walked this earth?
And purposed to die from birth?

What if Jesus never willfully died?
And lived a ludicrous lie?
What if He never became the sinless sacrifice?
And tumbled in temptations vices?

What if Jesus never bore God’s wrath?
And became righteousness on my behalf?
What if He complained and moaned?
And left my sin unatoned?

What if Jesus copped out of the crucifixion?
And put a pause on propitiation?
What if to Him redemption did not matter?
Or withheld glory from His Father?

What if Jesus decided not to save?
Or remained hidden in the grave?
What if He failed to rise again?
Or reconcile mankind from within?

I thank God that He did die that day,
Demonstrating and redefining a Good Friday.
Amidst sorrow and melancholy mood,
I can confidently say, “We got IT good.”