Archive for April, 2023

For the first several years of my tenure as pastor here at First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, there was a member of the church, a doctor, who loved to give me a hard time. It was all in fun and there was no doubt on either of our parts that we loved each other deeply. He was in his 80’s but still involved in his medical practice, and still teaching a Bible study class on Sunday mornings in our church. Joe would often invite me to his class on Sunday morning and I never knew what to expect. One Sunday he might surprise me with demanding that he and I sing a duet of an old hymn or it might just be a question he wanted to try and stump me on – which is not hard to do.

One particular memory is special to me. Joe called early in the week and asked if I would pop into his class on Palm Sunday and explain why we call the Friday of Holy Week, “Good Friday.” As we visited on the phone, he asked the obvious and legitimate question – “Why do we call it Good Friday when we know it is the day that Jesus was beaten and tortured, when he was nailed to a cross and died. What’s so good about that?! It seems, maybe we should call it terrible Friday.”

While I appreciated the heads up, the answer is very simple. Yes, all the things that Joe described are true. Jesus endured unimaginable suffering on that day. He was ridiculed, beaten, scourged, nailed to a cross and abandoned by all. He died on that cross for the sins of the world. And that was, in no way, good for him.

But we call it Good Friday because of what it means for us. Because of the sacrifice Jesus endured for us, we can have the hope of a future. We have been given the opportunity to be free from the fear of death and forgiven of all our sins. We have been given the chance to have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Jesus’ unimaginable suffering brings the ability for life changing grace and a life of joy and peace for all who will accept it. And that is Good News for us!

So today, as we look forward to Easter Sunday and the celebration of the empty tomb, give thanks for the sacrifice. What Jesus did for us is truly good!

Joe is now with Jesus and all his questions have been answered. For me, Good Friday is now a day I remember Joe. But more importantly it is a day we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us and the goodness that sacrifice offers.

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