We’d rather go to a party than a funeral. But according to the Bible, we’re missing something if we move from Good Friday to Easter too quickly.
You’ve done it, and I have too. You go to a Good Friday service, but as soon as you leave, you start talking with family and friends. Maybe you go home and watch a movie. Before you know it, it’s Sunday!
But enduring Good Friday as little as possible is indicative of a culture that ignores the reality of death.
Better to Go to the House of Mourning
On Monday, I heard the news that my boss’ closest mentor had passed away unexpectedly. Losing someone close leaves a hollow, throbbing ache felt only by those who have lost someone themselves.
It’s right for us to feel this way about death. According to the Bible, death was never part of God’s good design. We were made for eternity, but now a dark shadow saps our strength and robs us of life.
And into this dark reality, the Bible speaks—but maybe not as we expect.
A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
We expect the Bible to give us a message of hope (which it surely does). But sometimes we need to remember our own brokenness to truly live a life of significance. Death does a lot to put one’s priorities in order.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Ecclesiastes and the Cross
Last Sunday I attended our Sunday School on the topic of the crucifixion. During the segment, scenes were shown from the Son of God movie, including part of the crucifixion.
It’s no surprise some people said they couldn’t look long at the screen while the crucifixion was being shown. But what should our response be? To cry at the brutality of it? To weep for Jesus?
Yes…and no. We should mourn the reality of death and stop pretending any makeup, diet, or surgery could prevent death.
But we shouldn’t weep for Jesus.
In a moving article, Greg Morse writes how Jesus told those with Him not to weep for Him but to weep for themselves. We should weep in recognition of the death brought by sin in each of us.
All of us have sentenced ourselves to death by choosing our own way over God’s way. And that should lead us to weep. But not to despair.
Not Without Hope
Because we live on this side of the curtain, we can look at Good Friday through the lens of the resurrection. Our tears can fall—not out of despair but out of faith.
- Faith that Jesus knew what He was doing when He went to the cross.
- Faith that He went willingly, and that we too can willingly come to receive His grace.
- Faith that His blood has covered our sins, buried our iniquities, and banished our transgressions.
Christians, of all people, should be able to stare down the reality of death with both realism and hope. When we encounter death, we ache—but not as those without hope. We look to the crucified Savior, crying tears of faith, knowing in Him we have hope beyond death.
1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
[callout]This Good Friday, I hope you’ll take time to attend a Good Friday service, and either way to pause and reflect on the death of Jesus. Much can be gained by way of humility, wisdom, and faith when we come at the foot of the cross.[/callout]