“Good day to you!” The man doffed his Irish cap as he passed by on the narrow cobblestone street. How lovely, I thought, to cast a blessing upon strangers as they passed. That’s not something we see much in North America. You’re lucky if you get a slight nod let alone a quick smile. I found myself wishing it were otherwise.
Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about that word, ‘good.’
It’s used 594 times in the Bible. All of those instances are appropriate. That makes me think of another use of the word, in the phrase, Good Friday. The question has often been asked, why is the day on which Christ died such a horrible death called ‘good?’ Did you know the day is only called good in English? In most other languages, it is called Holy Friday. In Denmark, it’s Long Friday. In Germany, it’s Sorrowful or Suffering Friday. All names that seem more fitting.
But then, think about it. This is not the only thing in the Bible that seems topsy-turvy to us. Jesus exemplified that rather descriptive English expression. “Love your enemies,” He said. “Do good to those who despise you,” He commanded. (Luke 6:27) More than once he turned the religious leaders’ world upside down. He ate with sinners and broke the rules on the Sabbath. In a sense, Jesus was the original counter-culture revolutionary. Continually His disciples came to realize that when He said His ways and His thoughts were higher than theirs, He wasn’t joking. Often, they found them incomprehensible because they were so opposite to the way in which they were accustomed to thinking and living.
So yes, it is fitting that we call this day ‘good,’ because that is what Jesus would have called it. Though he was beaten and tortured, spat upon and ridiculed, He would have called it ‘good’ because it was on that day that he accomplished the will of His father. This ‘good’ Friday was the day on which mankind was restored to the state of righteousness that God intended. It is the day on which mankind was released from the burden of sin, the day on which the greatest sacrifice ever given occurred for our benefit. It was on that day that He made it possible for us, not only to come into the holy presence of his Father, but to live ‘in Him,’ forever bound to Him as his children, His beloved.
That day is ‘good’ because it leads us all to the resurrection. Glory! Glory to God in the highest!