Recently I have heard people wondering what day of the week it is. For many, our days and weeks track with work and attending church on Sunday. Last week a husband (not me) asked his wife what day of the week it was. Her reply, “What difference does it make?” Another pointed out how life seemed a bit adrift designating the day as “Blursday the fortyteenth Marprilay.” Dates help us keep our bearings as the present relates to the past and in anticipation of the future.
Today is an important day to help us keep life in perspective. It is Friday - Good Friday, April 10, 2020 AD. Both A.D., and Good Friday, are significant historical markers.
For most of the world the historical calendar of dates and events include either B.C. or A.D., terms that are sometimes misunderstood. They are explained:
“A.D.” does not mean “after death,” as many people suppose. “B.C.” stands for the English phrase “before Christ,” but “A.D.” stands confusingly for a Latin phrase: anno domini (“in the year of the Lord”—the year Jesus was born)”1
Every time we refer to a date, even though we do not actually say A.D., we are describing it from the reference point of when Jesus Christ was born. Amazingly, almost every calendar, date, appointment, schedule . . . every reference made to time and dates throughout the world contains a mention and testimony about the birth of Jesus. I suppose it could be said in more than one way, that without Jesus people are lost.
Jesus is the name that the angel told both Mary and Joseph to name the child. That name was given because “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The birth of Jesus was planned, predetermined, and purposeful in order to accomplish salvation. We find this explained as recorded in Acts 2.
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” Acts 2:22-24
“God raised Jesus up again.” Jesus was born so He would gain victory over death so our sins might be forgiven and we might have eternal life and the resurrection from death through Him. This is the salvation promised in the birth of Jesus that is the pivot point of all history.
What about Good Friday? Since we know that the women came to the empty tomb on the first day (Sunday) of the week (Matthew 28:1) and that Jesus was three days in the grave (Matthew 27:63) then it is generally understood that the crucifixion of Jesus was on Friday.2
The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is called Easter and the Friday before Easter is called Good Friday. Although many Christians may assume that Good Friday is good because of the resurrection of Jesus that followed, there is actually much uncertainty about the designation Good Friday.3 Focusing on the terms Good Friday and Easter and their origins can be a distraction from the most important issue of the resurrection of Jesus.
Although Easter is an annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, so is the gathering of the church each and every Sunday. Every time we share in the Lord's Table, we remember and proclaim the Lord's death and resurrection looking forward to His return. For the Christian every day is lived in light of the salvation by grace that was secured for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. What is important is not so much the specific day, but our devotion and service to the Lord.
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:5-9)
So, today, Good Friday April 20, 2020, let us remember the birth of Jesus and the salvation we have through His death and resurrection . . . and let's remember this every Sunday . . . and let's remember this every day.
Serving with joy,
2There are many views as to exactly when the Passover occurred and the exact timing and sequence of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. However, it is clear from Scripture the tomb was empty on the first day of the week and Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights.
3For example, see https://www.bbc.com/news/