Irony. It’s when one thing is said and its opposite implied. That’s what Good Friday means to a Christian. How can it be ‘good’ when a man realizes that it was his Father’s plan to have him executed?
But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (Isaiah 53:10 NLT)
I’ve shared some symbolic stories from the Old Testament in these last six Fridays of Lent; thanks for staying with me. However, the death of Christ is not symbolism: it’s reality. Therefore, a final question must be asked. What does the descent of Jesus Christ into hell, Sheol, mean to me? What’s the value of those three days in my life?
First of all, Jesus’ presence in hell proves His authority over Satan. The evidence was presented, He was made sin itself, and that offering was validated. Secondly, the record of charges against us was expunged. God hit the ‘delete’ button and He erased our sin nature that Satan held over our head.
If that wasn’t enough, Jesus restores us spiritually to our position before the Fall. When He returns I believe we will be physically restored as well, but for now, as we eagerly await His return, we rest in that truth. It allows us to declare to the devil, as he tempts us to sin, that he was defeated by Christ. It allows us to stand against him, fight the good fight of faith, and be victorious in life now.
And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. (Ephesians 4:10 NLT)
Jesus fulfilled every prophecy in scripture concerning the Messiah. He knew the Plan from the beginning and He accepted the mission. Now it’s our turn. Will we accept the mission to share our faith with others? Will we take every opportunity to bring a word of encouragement and hope to those who need it?
I now understand more clearly the irony of Good Friday and what Paul was trying to convey in this last passage. My hope is that this teaching has conveyed it to you as well.
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. (Philippians 1:20-24 NLT)