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A Good Friday

There is a sort of power in a name. It affects us differently when people say our names in different tones of voice, and the names they choose to call us reflects who they think we are. I, for instance, answer to "Chris" from most people, "Brother Chris" from my congregation, "Pastor Chris" from others in familiar church circles, "Reverend Peters" in very formal settings, "Christopher" from my family, and "Christopher William!" from Mom when I'm in trouble.

It matters, then, that we have named one of the darkest days in human history Good Friday.

In a way, it's unthinkable we would ever call it that. The Son of God, the Savior of the world was subjected to sham trials, miscarriages of justice, beatings, humiliation, mockery, betrayal, and, finally, a barbaric execution motivated by politics. What Jesus endured was horrifying, beyond the pale. Not a single step in the process could ever be called "good."

It wasn't good. But it was also the greatest thing which could ever have happened for us.

Without the events, the tragedy and tears, of Good Friday, none of us could have hope. None of us would ever have even the slightest chance of forgiveness for our sins. No one could gain eternal life in a perfect world. But as the prophet says, "Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5). What we could not bear, he bore. What we could not pay, he paid.

When one dies in our stead, when God offers forgiveness and life everlasting through atonement wrought in His own blood?

We call that good.

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