I won’t spill too much digital ink here today, but I do want to acknowledge that today commemorates perhaps the most important day in all of recorded history.
As a young Lutheran, like most children I always looked forward to Easter Sunday. I understood that Good Friday marked the Day that Christ died, but because it was such a somber time, it was forgotten in the anticipatory glee of the weekend. If I went to a church service, it was forgotten as soon as it ended.
These days, I see it differently. Today marks the first time in my adult life that I will truly reflect on Good Friday in my heart, and not just in my head.
Today I contemplate the pain and suffering endured by Christ, who was betrayed by people he loved, persecuted by people he represented, and brutally crucified.
Today I celebrate the sacrifice given so that my debts of sin might be paid in full.
Today I rejoice in the Love that God showed when He gave his son for us.
It’s a difficult thing for a child to understand, isn’t it? Why is it called “Good” Friday, if Christ died on a cross? I understood it in my mind–what He did for us was good–but I don’t think I really felt it in my heart.
Today, for the first time in my life, I truly celebrate what is not a “Good” Friday, but what is the best Friday.
In the cooking world, a reduction is used to boil off excess fluids, so that you are left with the most concentrated syrup or sauce. This morning, I thought about what it would look like if I reduced the Bible to its smallest, most concentrated message. I realize that this is cliche, and that this is almost certainly the most quoted Bible verse in the world, but it feels very apropos today, and a good thing to celebrate. And in the end, it might be the only verse that really matters; everything else we know about God, love, charity, and humanity can in a way be inferred from this single verse:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).