It's hard not to become calloused to words we hear over and over again. Whether you're a Christian or not, you've probably heard the name Jesus used in more contexts than you can count. It's almost like He's become a concept that gets thrown around between political parties, pet causes, hobby horses and angry radicals. I think it can be hard for those inside and outside the church to know who Jesus really is and what "being a Christian" is all about.
Good Friday reminded me. It reminded me that Christianity is actually the opposite of what so many think it is. I'll explain. Most religions believe that man is morally flawed. Watch the news and we find that pretty easy to accept, right? But the solution, according to "religion" is that we should therefore try to do good things to make up for the bad we've done. So when someone sees a billboard (I actually saw this today in Dallas) that says in large letters "turn from sin and follow Jesus" they probably think, "I need to stop doing bad things, clean myself up and start doing things to please God in order to get right with Him."
Good Friday reminded me that the only problem with that idea is the Gospel itself. The message of Easter is that we can't get right with God. We can't clean ourselves up and do enough "good things" to please God. And God, knowing that, does the most unimaginable thing possible. He does it for us.
He comes to where we are and takes on our flesh. He subjects Himself to our weakness, pain, and disease. He not only lowers Himself to be in our physical presence and take on our limited, creaturely form, but He washes our feet. He loves us perfectly and lives before God perfectly. And then He willingly takes death in our place. As a result, we are given His life.
Just let that sink in. Who would think up a God that humbles Himself by going down to His creation and letting their dirty, broken filth get on Him? Who would think up a God who would take His own justice onto Himself for the sake of His creatures? It's about as unnatural as thinking that I can't be the solution to my own problem. But that's the Gospel! I can't save me, and I can't please God. But Christ can, and He has. And He did it for me.
That's what it's called "Good Friday."