Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are Always Together
When Jesus talks about Good Friday, He almost always talks about Easter as well. Consider the following three texts from the Gospel of St. Matthew, called Jesus' three “passion predictions”:
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” [St Matthew 16:21]
“The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” [St Matthew 17:22-23]
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” [St Matthew 20:18-19]
The way the Lord Jesus gives it to us, the cross and the empty tomb are bound together, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are one event, Jesus' death and resurrection are two sides of the same coin. What God has joined together, no man can separate.
There are two dangers here, one is that in our remembering of the Lord's cross and death we would forget about His resurrection. As we solemnly celebrate Jesus' suffering, the scourging and spitting and whipping and weeping the beating and bleeding, we do not pretend or try to forget Easter. This would tend toward melancholy gloom, as if the Lord would hand us over to sadness.
On the other hand, in the glorious light of Easter, we might be tempted to forget or 'get over' the mocking and the scourging and the shame of the cross. These always, into eternity, belong together. It is the resurrected Jesus who says to St Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.” [St John 20:27] St John sees the ascended Jesus in heaven as “a Lamb as it had been slain.” [Revelation 5:6] Jesus is always, even after the resurrection, even in heavenly glory, the crucified Jesus.
We, therefore, cannot separate Easter from Good Friday or Good Friday from Easter. On Good Friday the Son offers Himself for the sins of all the world; on Easter Sunday the Father shows to all the world that He is pleased with the Son's sacrifice and has forgiven all sin. On Good Friday Jesus destroys death and defeats the devil; on Easter death and the devil are made a public spectacle. On Good Friday the victory of Easter is hidden; on Easter Sunday the victory of the cross shines forth.
May the Lord grant to us, His church, that as we celebrate the great events of our redemption, even the Lord Jesus' death and resurrection, that our hearts would be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving, rejoicing that the Lord Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and rose again on the third day for us, and for our salvation. Amen.
The Lord's Blessings in Christ,
For Further Study on Suffering and Glory:
St Luke 24:26,46; Acts 17:2,3; 26:22,23; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4
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