Good Friday? As if. What’s good about that Friday? In fact, it’s easy to look at the events leading up to the crucifixion, and the crucifixion itself, as a complete failure. Judas, one of the twelve disciples, betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Lk 22:48). Peter failed to understand and implement Jesus’ teaching of non-violence when he cut off the soldier’s ear (22:50-51). The chief priests and temple police failed to recognise the true King and sovereign, arresting him as a bandit (22:53). The soldiers punch and verbally assault him (22:63-65). Then, another failure by Peter in his repeated denial of Jesus (22:54-62). Then we have the failure of Pilate to stand up for justice. He recognises that there is no basis for the accusations against Jesus (23:4). The questioning of Jesus by Herod turns out to be unsuccessful, and Pilate too finds no reason to sentence Jesus to death (23:15). And lastly the crowd shouts “crucify, crucify him!” What could possibly be good about that Friday?
How does Jesus respond? There’s no lust for vengeance. Instead there’s Jesus’ request to the father that he not retaliate against them because they have acted in ignorance. There’s no antagonism towards those who have abandoned or abused him. Instead, there’s a promise that the thief who trusts in him will be in paradise with Jesus. There’s no ultimate despair and hopelessness, but rather a turning towards the Father in trust that he will vindicate the Son. So what’s good about this Friday? Once again, Jesus does not respond the way we would expect. Jesus does something entirely consistent with his own message, he continues to love even his enemies and offer forgiveness to the lost. It is here, in the cross of Jesus, that we see the character of God revealed. And one thing that is revealed is that God doesn’t act like we would. That’s just one of things that’s good about that Friday.