Absolutely the best of days
It will never catch on. I know it. Good Friday will continue to be called Good Friday without so much as a backward glance. So why go to the trouble of suggesting a new name for it?
It has all to do with Good Friday being good. Why call it good? As far as the original reason is concerned, a definitive explanation seems lost in the mists of the past. The day has borne the name for centuries and no-one can be quite sure who bestowed it and why.
Of this at least we can be certain: it is well-named. Good Friday is absolutely the best of days and my suggested new name for it is not offered as a substitute (it would never catch on), but in explanation.
So what’s the new name? World Peacemaking Day. Let me explain my choice.
On the face of it, the first Good Friday was about as bad a day as it’s possible to conceive. Imagine crucifying the one only man in all of human history who had done no wrong! Worse still, imagine executing our loving Creator who had assumed our nature for no other purpose than to do us good! From the standpoint of human behaviour, Good Friday is far and away the wickedest of all days.
And yet, still the best. Why? Because from the standpoint of God the crucifixion of Jesus was no tragedy, an event he would have prevented if he had been able to. It was rather the culmination of the most amazing of plans. Here is his own explanation of it, given to us through the Apostle Paul: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (2 Cor.5:19). This was world peacemaking day!
Do note carefully who it is who’s doing the peacemaking: the very God whom we, both as a race and as individuals, had offended by our sins. Isn’t that great love? The fault for the disruption of relations between us was one hundred percent ours. Yet God was the one who effected the reconciliation. And at such enormous personal cost as well. In the crucifixion of Jesus, it was none other than God himself who was suffering and dying – taking the place of the guilty and bearing our sin so that we might be freely forgiven and forever enjoy his friendship.
It is only too possible to be rebuffed when seeking reconciliation with a fellow human being. That ever happened to you? It will never happen if you seek to be right with God! Because of the wonders of Good Friday, World Peacemaking Day, God only ever gives one response to the heart-cry of a sinner for a restored relationship with himself: Yes!