Today is the Thursday before Resurrection Day. The day before Good Friday. A day I’ll be spending in part making unleavened bread and apple clay . . . we’re not having an official seder this year, but eating these familiar, symbolic foods will help me get my head out of “prepare for book launch!” mode and into “focus solely on Christ” mode. As I pondered what to post for these holiest of days, I decided that I’d actually share a portion of a post from 5 years ago. Originally, this was part of a Bible study I did on my blog during Lent. Which means the passage below was buried at the end of a very long post with a lot of scripture. I recently recorded it for my podcast, and I think it bears repeating here in general. I don’t know what you do or don’t do to observe Good Friday…but it’s always been an important day for me, in my own faith journey. Good Friday was the day I wrote the short story that inspired A Stray Drop of Blood. Good Friday was the day when it really hit me what my Jesus did for me. Good Friday stirs the depths of my heart each time I pause to really dwell in it. And so, here it is. My reflections on the day…and why “it is sufficient.”
I never understood, as a child, why this day was called Good Friday, when it seemed pretty darn bad to me. My Jesus was killed on this day. He was mocked, he was beaten, he was reviled. He was hung upon a cross. My Lord, my King suffered on this day like on no other. Why, if I love Him, would I call such a day Good?
There’s a very thorough look into the origins of it in this blog post. (German actually calls it “Sorrowful Friday,” just FYI.) But the one all linguistics experts agree on is that good used to mean holy. And we can certainly agree it’s a holy day without the more modern connotation of “happy” getting put on it.
Let’s dwell today on this sorrowful, holy day that we commemorate on this Friday before the Resurrection. Part of the Seder meal we observe the night before Good Friday has a traditional Jewish responsive reading called “Dayenu”–it would have been sufficient. In it, they go through the events of the Exodus, proclaiming after each one that if God had, for instance, led them out of Egypt but not parted the Red Sea, “It would have been sufficient.” Dayenu. It would have shown His glory still. The Messianic portion of the seder goes on to add Jesus into it in a way that I find so striking.
“If He had come but not died –
If He had died but not risen –
He came. He came to earth for no reason other than his love for us. He came to live among us, to teach us how to approach the Father. He came, and when he walked this earth, it was sufficient. Those who believed him to be the Savior before his death, before his resurrection, tasted of the faith that leads to Heaven. If any of them died while he still walked the Earth, I’m confident that faith in him saved them.
But coming wasn’t all Jesus did. He didn’t only show us how to live, how to approach the throne. He died for us too. He died for our sins, like the passover lamb. That was enough to cleanse us. Just as the sin offering always did, but more. Once, for all. Forever. Had he only died, it would have washed us clean.
But He rose again to prove that death would not have the final victory even over our mortal bodies. He rose again because he wasn’t just a sin offering, he was the Passover Lamb. The lamb whose blood saves us from death.
Oh, my Jesus. Every year it strikes me anew. The things you suffered. The things you did. For me. And this year, like every year, I lack the words to thank you. So I walk that path with you in my mind. And I no doubt fail to picture it fully. But my eyes burn with tears for you. My heart aches. And my soul weeps out its thanks. Because your sacrifice on this day all those years ago saved me.