Sunday, the best part of Good Friday

Published 8:38 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

As I write these words it is Good Friday. In a way, it is strange that it would be called “good,” because it marks the day when God was nailed to a cross. Shouldn’t it be “Bad Friday”?

No, there is a good reason we call this day Good Friday. It is good for us, because we needed a Savior, and on this day our Savior died for our sins.

Email newsletter signup

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

For us it is Good Friday, because it means we have a Savior. Our transgressions and iniquities are taken away. Healing is in his wounds.

But there would be nothing Good about this Friday without Easter Sunday. If Jesus had not been raised to life, it would mean that his death did not pay for our sins. It would mean that Jesus died as a martyr, but not as the sin-bearing Son of God.

The Christian faith is based on an event that happened in history. If that event (the resurrection of Christ) did not happen, our entire faith is false. The Apostle Paul makes this perfectly clear in 1 Corinthians 15.

Without the resurrection, Christian proclamation is empty and useless. Without the resurrection, Christian faith is futile. Without the resurrection, we are misrepresenting God. Without the resurrection, we are still under the condemnation of sin. Without the resurrection, Christians who have died are not in heaven, but have perished. Without the resurrection, Christians have wasted their lives by basing them on a lie and are a pitiful people.

But Christ has been raised. The risen Christ appeared to hundreds of eyewitnesses (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-11).

These people weren’t any more prone to believe that dead people rise than we are. They weren’t expecting it to happen. Yet they were so convinced that it had happened that they spent the rest of their lives proclaiming the resurrection, and, in many cases, dying for their faith. Would they have done so for a lie?

Jesus Christ walked out of that tomb alive, and that means he is Lord and King. It also means that we owe him our allegiance.

If you will turn to the Risen King in repentance and faith, relying on him to save you, then he will. He will acquit you of all your sins and adopt you as his own. He will love and accept you as his child, and will fill you with his Holy Spirit, giving you fresh power for living.

If you die before he returns, he will receive you into his presence. When he returns, whether you are alive or dead, he will give you a resurrected body like his own. It will not be a body that is subject to cancer cells or aging or dementia. It will be an imperishable, immortal body.

Furthermore, you will live in that transformed body in a transformed world. When Jesus returns, he will rid the world of terrorism and violence and sin. In fact, he will destroy everything that is evil.

We will live in a perfect creation that is beautiful and united in love, a world where our risen King reigns.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.