I woke up this morning to my normal routine. I greeted my Google Device with a hearty good morning and was given the stats of the day which I have programed to lead into worship music. As my coffee brewed I grabbed a protein bar, sweetened my coffee with lots of creamer and sat in what I call my “Jesus chair”. With the sun shining and the temperature rising it felt like it was going to be a good day. It is, after all, Good Friday.
This led me to choosing Matthew 27 as my reading for the day. It is the account of the events we celebrate today. As I read the story I must honestly say nothing about those events seemed good. What Jesus suffered for us is beyond my words. So I can only leave you with how your own imagination pictures the ones in my Bible gives.
So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.Matthew 27:26-31
And all of that was before the Crucifixion. We are spared a lot of the details in the text of what it is like to be crucified but there has been more than enough movies to aid my imagination. So far the word good hardly seems appropriate fore that day.
Then verses 51 and 52 show up and we get our first glimpse of goodness. It seems it was a good day for dead people.
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.Matthew 27:51-52
The death of the Son of God so shook the earth it tore open graves and woke up some godly dead people. Now that was some earthquake! Jesus giving up His life gave life even before resurrection Sunday.
We are not told who they were other than they were godly. A word defined as “devout and pious”. Were they perhaps chosen specifically because of these qualities? Since it was emphasized I think so. So many other questions come to my mind about this part of the story; most of which will have to remain a mystery for now.
What I do know is that Jesus’ death was good from the moment it happened. Earth shatteringly good. Death defeatingly good. Life experiencingly good. And not just for those shook out of their graves that day.
Jesus’ death was good for me, for mine for you and for yours. In that moment we had hope and a chance to get out of our graves. Not just the 6 foot under type but the graves of shame, the graves of fear and the graves of unbelief just to name a few.
Without Jesus and the anguish He went though as he gave up His life, we are all dead people laying in our graves. As the verse so accurately puts it:
Ephesians 2: 1-2
As for you, you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience.…
Yes, dead, maybe not physically yet but the spirit within us is. But thankfully Good Friday happened and Jesus Christ gave us the chance for life. Starting the moment we decide to make Him our Savior and Lord our spirits are shaken right out of their graves.
So today, if you find yourself still dead in your sin, it is your day. If you are feeling stuck in a grave of some kind, today is your day. Because today is a good day for dead people. Today is a good day to come alive. A good day to look to Jesus and leave the grave behind. It is a good day to run out of that grave into the arms of the One who ran out of His for me and you.
So I wll leave you with a great song to celebrate this fact: The fact that it is actually not just a good day but a glorious one.