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What Luther Says

What's So 'Good' About Good Friday?

As Christians, when we reflect on the gruesome and violent torture and death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, how can we then call all that happened to Him "good" on a day like Good Friday?

Have you ever wondered that at some point in your life? Perhaps it's a question that typically comes up more so when you're a "Baby Christian" (a.k.a. a new convert; like a "Newtheran").

Normally, I think we quickly put to rest such deep, thoughtful questions with an equally quick reminder to ourselves that Jesus had to die that way or else we wouldn't have from Him the free gift of salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Sure, we all know that verse, but what does it really mean, especially as we meditate upon it on a day like Good Friday? How do we grasp the gravity of what occurred on this day thousands of years ago?

Jesus took upon Himself our status and standing before God's righteous court. He was declared guilty of all the sin and evil in this world. Mankind's sins were charged to the account of an innocent man and by His death in your place, you were declared innocent!

"Christ alone is our Righteousness, who is true God and man, because in Him the divine and human natures are personally united with each other." 
*- Formula of Concord Ep III 1

I love how C.F.W. Walther put it though (thanks to Pastor Matt Richard for sharing this)...

Baptized Saints, Good Friday’s cross is "your sanctuary in the agony of sin, your hope’s anchor in affliction, your victory banner in the battle with sin, world, and Satan, your heavenly ladder in the hour of your death." 
*- C.F.W. Walther (Gospel Sermons: Volume 1) 
[Image Source]

I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking that most of us have never really stopped to think about Good Friday with such depth let alone explained it to others in such a beautiful, thoughtful way.

What's so "good" about Good Friday? Well, in short, it makes me think about how "hopeful" I am.

And I have hope for Friday. Good Friday. The day that He was crucified unjustly for MY sins (the sins I commit every day, in thought, word, and deed). The day He took the sentence of "guilty" in my place so that I could stand before God as innocent. The day he suffered, died, and was buried because of His love for us all. 
And I have hope for Saturday. That cold, dark day He spent in the grave. Apart from His Father. Apart from this world that HE created. Apart from the glory He so rightly deserves. I have hope for that long, black day... 
And I have hope for Sunday. The best day! The day to remember and celebrate that He didn't stay dead and cold in that mountainous tomb. The day to remember that He overcame death and the grave so that I wouldn't have to spend eternity in one myself. The day to remember and celebrate that I now have a clean slate and a clear path to God the Father. I've been pronounced "not guilty" because Jesus volunteered as tribute in my place and now I get to live a life of hope, knowing my eternity is secure with the Lord! 
So it is a weird thing to flippantly say "Happy Easter" to the gal at the grocery store checkouts. Yeah, it really is - especially if you don't think about what it means apart from the Easter Bunny and marshmallow Peeps. But at the same time, I AM happy about Easter. I'm happy that it wasn't me on that cross. I'm happy that God loved me so much He would send His son to take my place on it. I'm happy that I get to serve that kind of God! And I'm happy because such a love as that gives me a hope for this thing called life in all of its ups & downs. 
It's a loaded statement, and a paradoxical one when taken apart at its' seams. But a truer statement couldn't come from my mouth this week, no matter how flip it may sound when the words tumble out. 

In a Lutheran layman's terms, what's so "good" about Good Friday is the fact that Good Friday gave us the cross with Jesus Christ dying on it in my place and yours because of my sins and yours, and yet, we are both forgiven unto salvation because of what happened that day!

NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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