What makes Good Friday so "good"?

Michael Ramsden recounts his own dramatic near-death rescue to help us understand what makes Good Friday so “good.”

The main challenge of course is if we have a superficial diagnosis, we will always apply a superficial remedy.

And so the ultimate question is what has ultimately gone wrong in this world? And the answer runs far deeper and goes much further than many of us dare or care to admit.

There’s a form of social alienation, spiritual alienation, vocational alienation, ecological alienation, and also vocational alienation. At every single level, things suddenly get harder. The whole fabric of reality has been affected. That’s the depth of the problem.

Good Friday is good, not because we were good, not because of any righteous thing we had done. Good Friday is good because of what he has done.

When we repent and turn to Christ, we find that new life. I hope you’ll find it.

Let us know:

  • Have you ever had someone rescue you from a serious injury or even possible death? What was it like to be rescued like that?

  • What keeps you from repenting and turning to Christ, to know the new life that he gives us?

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I remember as a child I was around ten years old and I was part of the Boys Club. I was taking swimming lessons and for some reason, I went into the deep part which I wasn’t supposed to go to. I walked in there, and I was literally drowning. An older boy jumped in and rescued me. I never forgot that experience. It stayed with me, I was helpless and I was pulled out of there. I was scared and thankful at the same time.

For many people who haven’t repented and put their trust in Christ, pride plays a big part. For me, it was a combination of pride and anger. It was during the Vietnam war when I was taking my R&R in Thailand that I came face to face to a God who loved me as I am. I remember for some reason, the story of the prodigal son. I wasn’t religious, I never read the bible but for some reason, I remembered this story when I was a kid. Why did I remember this story? I don’t know. I do know this, the home I was staying in Bangkok, was owned by a missionary couple who was praying for me while I was there. I was in their home during my R&R. They didn’t share the gospel per se, they gave me a paperback book to read. The book was The Cross and the Switchblade. As I opened the book and began to read the first couple of pages, I started to sob profusely. I couldn’t stop sobbing and I became angrier at God and the book. I was so angry at God I looked up in the sky, cursed him and gave him the proverbial finger. I said to God you’re trying to convert me and I said to him I will never be a Christian. I came back to my base and I started thinking about why I had such an emotional response to the book. That is when I remembered the story of the prodigal son. For some reason, I remembered the details of the story. I started sobbing again profusely, I realized how awful I really am before God. I said to God, could you find it in your heart to forgive me? I don’t deserve to be forgiven. I was so sorry for my sins. He did that instantly. I felt his presence and joy. Instantly three things happened to me. I wanted to be holy, I had a desire and a hunger to read the bible and I wanted to tell everyone about Jesus. It was the kindness of God that led me to him. Romans 2:4 His kindness led me to himself.

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What makes good friday good?
Jesus took upon Himself our condemnation!

MY FATHER who never once told me he loved me. But showed it every day during my life with him and my six siblings. Pondered, prayed, and thought should I share about when he snatched me back from the edge of the roof on our three story row house, should i share about his calm demeanor in the midst of things. When I broke my wrist at ten, gashed my leg open, busted my head, being stupid. Or maybe the time at a stop sign he jumped out of the car to stop a police car from rolling into traffic. Or the restraint he used when I rebelled and broke the law. Simple things as a kid but very profound in who he taught me to be. Or about being run over by a tractor while my friend and a paramedic tended to me and both said my hip was broken but no sign of it when an xray was completed. Or my bout with Leukemia 13 years ago were some just like me, same illness did not make it but i did. Saying why me Lord questioning why didnt He save them, knowing now but struggled much with that part back then.
Not at the time for any of these past rescues but looking back through the glass more clearly these people regarded me highly and put me ahead of themselves which when I was young just assumed that’s what you do.

What hindered, hinders me from repenting
MY FATHER, was not a religious man, but according to tradition you had to become a Catholic to marry a Catholic. A product of the great depression, and WW2, He was proud, independent, strong willed, and I became just like Him. That part of my flesh rears its head from time to time. But His strength is perfected in my weakness.
Thank you for seeking answers.
Mike

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In 2005 I travelled from Singapore to Hanoi, Vietnam by land. On the bus from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi I began to feel sick. I met an Australian on the bus who helped me make it to a cheap hostel on Ta Hien st. My symptoms got worse and somehow I ended up in the French hospital, most likely with the help of the Australian chap. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. I was not a believer at the time, but before leaving Ireland felt led to buy a Bible and bring it with me. I would read it from time to time. One day in the hospital my symptoms got very bad and that night alone, I felt my room light up with love. The scripture God is love from 1 John 4:8 came so real for me that night. The next day my symptoms improved and I was released a day or two afterwards.

I believe God came to my room that night and healed me because he had a special purpose for my life. However, even after that I did not turn to him and continued in my patterns of sin. I believe I would not turn to him for a number of reasons. The main one was probably the cost. If I gave my life to Jesus, I knew I would have to stop sinning, which I loved.

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@a1781 thanks for sharing your story. That book had a huge impact on me also! It was a Vietnam vet from Detroit who confronted me about my sin in Vietnam and was a big part in the process of my salvation.

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Thank you, Brian, it was so many years ago, he took me from the gutter and lifted me up. I failed along the way in a lot of things but his promise " I will never leave or forsake you" is a promise I hang on to. Hebrews 13:5. Praise God for his faithfulness.

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I find that when I need to repent of sin and be restored there is so often an interval in which the accusation of our adversary tries to shout down the “strong and perfect plea”* of our Advocate.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1 ESV)

I think this is a familiar experience for many believers, no doubt intended to tempt us to despair. But the Spirit strengthens us to believe the promises and entrust ourselves to Christ. He is our righteousness; we may come boldly to the throne of grace. Thanks be to God!

The hymn Before the Throne of God Above is always an encouragement to me as I come to God, entrusting myself to his grace. I love that it was originally titled The Advocate, fitting for a song about the One “who ever lives and pleads for me.”

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Liz, thank you for your insight. Thank God for 1 John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 these verses can sustain us and the ones you shared.

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