Good Friday. It’s a funny thing isn’t it. Good… Friday. It’s not suffering Friday or sacrificial Friday. Not Savior Friday or Jesus Friday. Of course, it could be any of these. But good. Why good? Maybe the best thing we can call today is good. Yes, we are remembering the day where Jesus acted as our Savior, going through incredible suffering and making the ultimate sacrifice. Good? Yes, good. Today, we not only celebrate the death of Jesus (that even sounds weird. Celebrate death?), we celebrate the Gospel. Good Friday kicks off Easter weekend. Together, they make up the core of the Gospel message.
Good Friday + Easter = The Gospel
You can’t have one without the other. There can be no Easter without Good Friday. Jesus had to die. He had to pay the sin-debt of all humanity. Sin can only be covered by blood. And Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. But Good Friday without Easter is simply death like any other. Sin required death. Victory required resurrection. Today, we kick off the Easter weekend.
So, why good?
Gospel means good news. The Gospel is the good news of what Jesus did for us. Why Good Friday? Because today is all about the start of the Gospel. Yes, Jesus lived 33 years on this planet. He was perfect. But without death, it would not have mattered. The climax of the Bible is Easter. Resurrection. But the Good News, the Gospel, started today. It began with death.
The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus took your place and paid your price so you could experience a restored relationship with God!
So, this leads to a question. A question we all must answer. A question they asked 2,000 years ago when Jesus entered Jerusalem for His final week on this earth.
The one question we all have to answer
We are coming to the end of Holy Week. That is the week Christians celebrate that takes place between Palm Sunday and Easter. It also happened to be Jesus’s last week on Earth before going to the cross. In the Bible, Palm Sunday is known as the Triumphal Entry. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey. People began to shout, “Hosanna!” as they threw palm branches on the road in front of Him. For us, that may seem a little strange. But ancient prophecies foretold the next king of Israel would come into the capital city on a donkey. This was a VERY big deal!
With all this hustle and bustle, a spark of curiosity began to move through the crowd.
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (emphasis mine)
Right in the middle of this story, the people in the crowd asked a very important question. So important, that this question still resonates today, 2,000 years later. It is the question. The one we all have to answer at some point in our lives. It doesn’t matter what you believe, you are not exempt. Everyone, at some point in time, will give account for this one important question:
Who is Jesus?
In our story, the crowd was confused. Either they couldn’t see who was coming in through the gate because of all of the people or they couldn’t believe that it was Jesus (does anything good come from Nazareth? John 1:46) But one thing was true. When Jesus entered the city, the people were stirred.
Wasn’t this true throughout Jesus’s life?
Wherever He went, people began talking. When Jesus entered a town, a crowd immediately gathered. The sick, the hungry, the lepers, and the outcasts came from every direction. The religious leaders showed up so they could keep tabs on Him. All types of men, women, and children gathered together to hear Jesus preach.
When Jesus shows up, things change.
When Jesus shows up, things get stirred up.
The very nature of Jesus forces us to make a choice: accept Him or reject Him.
Have you answered the question?
Who is Jesus? Have you answered it? Have you thought about it?
Was He just a man? A prophet? Or was He a Savior?
Who do you say that Jesus is?
It’s the most important question you will ever answer.
Christians: Are you still asking this question?
I don’t think this is a “one and done” question. For a long time, I treated it this way. But that was a mistake. We can’t answer this question one time in our lives and never revisit it. Let me explain.
The same question will mean different things to different people depending on where they are in their faith journey.
This is more than a question of salvation. Yes, for unbelievers, they must choose who Jesus is. They have to decide if they will believe in Him or not. If they will follow Him or not. This is critical. It’s the question that must be answered.
But for us, as Christians, it doesn’t stop there. Jesus is much more than just a “free ticket to heaven.” Who is Jesus to you… today?
Let me ask that, again, to make sure it sinks in:
Who is Jesus… to you… today?
Is He still the same person He was the first day you believed in Him? I hope not. My relationship with my wife isn’t the same that it was the first day we met or even the first day we were married. I think we would agree that if your marriage is the same today as when you first met, something is wrong. You aren’t growing.
The same is true in our relationship with Jesus.
Is He simply your “get out of Hell free” card? Or is He your friend? Your Father? Your Guide?
Easter is coming in just a few short days. So, I want to offer a challenge to help you prepare for a powerful Easter experience.
Easter Challenge: Who is Jesus?
Here is the challenge: Take some time in the next day or two to answer the question we have been discussing:
Who is Jesus to me today?
What would this uncover? Are you taking Him for granted? Are you trusting Him with your life? With your finances? With your future?
Have you started doing everything on your own instead of trusting in Him?
Are you trusting Him for your life after death but not your life right now?
Is He your friend?
Do you cherish your time with Him?
Is He still real to you?
If these questions are causing you stress, anxiety, or even making you feel a little say, that’s a great indicator that it’s time to pause, step back, and take stock of your relationship with God today.
And Good Friday is a great day to do it! What better way to celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus than to reconnect with Him today?
I think He’d love that!