Good Friday can be an odd day to get our heads around. We can spend our whole lives hearing about it, getting a day off because of it, perhaps even going to church on it- and yet, still not quite get it.
Still not quite understand why we would ever call the day that someone died a ‘good’ day.
Still not fully understand what exactly happened, and why it had to happen that way.
Still not get our heads around how or why it has anything to do with us, thousands of years later.
I hear you.
A lot happened on that day: Jesus, our Jesus, died and the world has never been the same since. It’s huge and almost impossible to wrap our heads around. Let me give you a hand, let me talk you through four of the most confusing details of the day.
I promise, they’re worth it.
‘At noon the sky became extremely dark…’ (Mark 15:33)
The day Jesus died was filled with darkness. Literally.
The Bible tells us that the sky went mysteriously dark and stayed that way until Jesus breathed his last breath. This happened in the middle of the day, it’s like the sun went into hiding, unable to shine on what was happening down below.
The universe itself seemed to understand what so many people still didn’t, that the King of Kings was dying before their eyes.
‘There was an earthquake, and the rocks were split in pieces’ (Matthew 27:51)
Jesus’ death was quite literally earth-shaking.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was there right at the beginning of everything, watching and joining God as the earth was put together, as creation was brought out of chaos. And then, he did the unthinkable- he moved into the world he created, and he died there.
Just like with the darkness, the earthquake that happened at the moment Jesus died tells us something- it tells us that the earth itself was somehow aware of what was happening before any person really understood it. The very same earth that Jesus helped to create quaked as he died on it.
‘The Temple curtain split right down the middle’ (Luke 23:45)
This has to be one of my favourite details in the whole Bible.
It was believed that God’s home address was the Temple, it’s where he could be found. It was thought that his presence rested in a little room right in the middle of the Temple called the ‘Holy of Holies’. The thick, heavy, tall curtain that was used in the Temple to block off the Holy of Holies, to separate the people from God, was torn from top to bottom the moment that Jesus died.
Yep. Jesus’ death means that there is nothing, literally NOTHING, that can get between you and God now. And the torn curtain proves it.
God was letting the whole world know that he had officially left the building.
‘What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised…’ (Matthew 27:52)
The whole point of Easter, the whole reason Jesus died was to bring life.
There and then. Here and now- life, life, and more life.
And what better time to give the world a glimpse of that than on Good Friday? These people who came back to life were like a teaser-trailer, a preview, a clue at what Jesus had planned all along. We don’t even know who they were, all we know is that Jesus was about to kick death’s butt once and for all and these mysterious people were here to prove it.
The most important thing to remember about all four of these details, these odd and mysterious things that happened the moment Jesus died, is that they happened for you.
Easter isn’t some ancient event that happened thousands of years ago, kinda noteworthy, but not really relevant here and now.
God used each of these four dramatic details to show you the lengths he went to so that He could do life with you. Why not go through each detail again, knowing that each one is proof of his love for you.
Oh, and just FYI- Jesus’ story doesn’t end here, a lot can happen in three days…