I get Easter. I can understand the celebration. I recognize the magnitude of what an empty tomb meant 2,000 years ago, and what it means now. But the days leading up to Easter? For me, these take more mental finesse, more grappling, more exploring.
A few years ago I wrote about Silent Saturday, the day that represents the pause between Christ’s death and His resurrection. The thought of what that day was like — for Jesus’ disciples, followers, believers, those who hated Him — it still sits like a weight on my heart. Had I been there, I would have been all wringing hands and pacing and tears and grief. It’s different now though. Now Saturday has become, simply, the day before Easter. We know what’s coming.
But what about Good Friday? How do I reconcile a day that represents the darkness of Christ’s death with a day that represents His triumphant resurrection? It isn’t easy, but the truth is there. Without Friday there wouldn’t be Sunday.
For nearly six months I’ve been working on a Good Friday project that required me to truly consider the importance of the day. I asked questions like, “Why do we call it good?” and “Am I the only Christ-follower so focused on pastel-wrapped Easter celebrations that I see Jesus’ sacrifice as a mere stepping stone to a much happier day?” During the last several months — before-sunrise mornings and quick moments between life’s tasks and in the rice paper-thin pages of my Bible — I’ve sought after the answers to those questions.
Here’s what I realized.
Good Friday isn’t good because of the pain and anguish. Good Friday is good because of the sacrifice and the grace and the love. It’s good because, without it, we wouldn’t be celebrating on Sunday. Without the dying, there would be no rising. I can’t walk through Friday so focused on Sunday that I forget about the cross.
I get it. Easter Sunday is laughter, rejoicing, and warm breezes. It’s bright blue skies, celebrating, and light. So much Light. Juxtaposed sits Good Friday, representing darkness, anguish, and death. But here’s the thing…that’s what makes Easter Sunday so blindingly beautiful.
If you celebrate the Risen King, don’t forget to celebrate the Sacrificial King also.