Visualize this: It’s 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. A crowd of Roman soldiers and community members gather around three crosses. You see Jesus, bloodied to a pulp, crucified. You smell impending death and hear a mixture of cheers, jeers, and sobbing.
All you want to do is run away so you can curl up in your own bed, desperate for any ounce of comfort and familiarity. But you don’t. Paralyzed, you stand and stare and hear and smell and feel.
So, what’s good about Good Friday?
We usually associate “good” with positive emotions — love, joy, peace, etc. Certainly not tears of sadness.
But dare we say that those tears, too, can actually be an outflow of what is good? That the side of humanity which mourns is something God meant for us?
When Jesus saw Mary weeping for her brother, he was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Jesus mourned for Mary’s pain, as well as the death of his friend, Lazarus, and thus wept (John 11:33-35), revealing a beautiful expression of compassion.
And after weeping, he was moved to action. As an act of love and a glimpse of the resurrection to come, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
Perhaps it would be a dangerous game to play if we never cried anymore — if we put up barrier after barrier to hide our emotions from the outside world. Perhaps the welling up of our salty tears, whose pressure can’t help but break the seal of our eyelids, no matter how hard we try, is just our way of showing compassion.
So this is why we celebrate the cross. In Jesus, we see that sadness can be a gift. His love led to tears, and his tears led to the cross. And when the tears, sweat, and blood of Jesus hung on that cross, the ultimate sacrifice was paid on our behalf.
And that is truly good — God’s goodness.
What’s good about Good Friday is God’s love, expressed through compassion.
So as we reflect on this day, let us follow the model Jesus set. Let us take up our cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24) to compassion and action. Let’s give hope to the hopeless. Rest to the restless. A voice to the voiceless. Let’s invest in the children of our world as Jesus does.
Dare we break a tear for them?
Let’s do good on Good Friday.
As a response to God’s compassion, begin a new relationship and reflect His love to a boy or girl in need. Sponsor a child today.