The “good” in Good Friday isn’t only anything

April 19, 2014

I’ll post last night’s Good Friday sermon later. I still haven’t posted my Palm Sunday sermon, I know! But in the sermon I talked about a Facebook post by a fellow pastor who raved that he had just heard a great Holy Week sermon about the “good” in Good Friday:


The “good” of Good Friday is only that in the deepest, darkest hole, God is present. 

Really? The only good? I responded with the following (click on image to enlarge):


I can’t help but feel like a grumpy old man when I post things like this. I really want to just be cool and get along, but I can’t! There’s too much at stake in these types of questions.

Nevertheless, upon further reflection, I realize my response didn’t go far enough. It’s not that God isn’t with us when we suffer—by all means he is! But I wouldn’t use the Good Friday scriptures as my proof-text! In the case of Jesus’ crucifixion, they make nearly the opposite point! As I said in last night’s sermon:

“In the deepest, darkest hole, God is present.” That’s the “only” good in Good Friday? In the case of what happened on the cross, that’s almost exactly opposite of the truth.

Because notice: Jesus doesn’t cry, in verse 46, “My God, my God, I’m so glad that you’re with me, even right here on the cross.” No, he shouts, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” He’s quoting the opening verse of Psalm 22, by the way. And herein lies the third surprisingly good thing about Good Friday—in truth, it’s the best thing of all: God the Father abandons his Son Jesus on the cross. This is nothing less than hell for Jesus—literally—to be separated from God. But God the Son, Jesus Christ, willingly endures this. He’s the only one who’s ever endured this separation from God in this world. It doesn’t matter how big a sinner you are; you can’t do anything, in your life in this world, to separate yourself from God. In eternity you can; but not here. God will be with you. But notice: God wasn’t with Jesus.

That’s why, despite what Mel Gibson or anyone else might depict in a Hollywood movie, it’s not the physical pain that Christ endured that made the cross so unimaginably painful, it was this spiritual pain of separation from his heavenly Father.

Why did he endure this infinitely painful separation from his Father? I went on to quote Isaiah 53:4-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Galatians 3:13. Through his suffering we are reconciled to God.

Near the end of my sermon, I said the following: “I don’t need the cross to show me that God is with me now when I suffer, but that God will be with me in eternity because God suffered now.”

4 Responses to “The “good” in Good Friday isn’t only anything”

  1. brendt Says:

    If the only “good” in Good Friday is that God is present, would someone please point me to the nearest mosque?

    • brentwhite Says:

      Right! It reflects typical liberal mainline blather. Something you’d hear at Candler.

      • brendt Says:

        I honestly don’t even get that much. This isn’t a rejection of PSA. This is a rejection that Jesus even died. Or His Deity. Or both.

      • brentwhite Says:

        This God “who’s always with us but doesn’t seem to do very much” is very popular in mainline circles. If he doesn’t do very much, he also doesn’t ask very much of us. I think that’s part of his appeal!

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