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Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today, I want to trade the headline news for the Good News. Today is Maundy Thursday and tomorrow we celebrate Good Friday. Harry, I can remember as a child going to Good Friday services around the Easter celebration and I always thought to myself, “Why in the world do they call it Good Friday?” I can remember watching the movie, “The Robe,” with Victor Mature many decades ago and thinking, “What a terrible tragedy this is. Why would they call it Good Friday?”

DR. REEDER: Maybe I can put it this way: The death of Christ is tragic, but not a tragedy. It is tragic in the sense of all of the issues of one completely innocent being put to death in an unjust verdict and yet it is not a tragedy because the sovereign Godhead ordained all of this to provide an atoning death on behalf of sinners whereby we can be saved.

Tom, let’s back up. I love the way you started this program. Let’s change the headline news for Good News and headline news, many times, is very little good about it but this is good news and it is glorious news.

There are two weeks revealed to us in the Word of God that are of significant, premier and paramount importance. One is the week in which God the Creator has revealed His glorious work to create the heavens and the earth and humanity, male and female in His image. And then you also find, in that week, the fall of humanity into sin.

And then, gloriously, the God of creation is a God of redemption and He has provided a way of salvation. And the focal point of that redeeming work is what His Son, come in the flesh, has done for His people on what we call “The Week of Passion.”

GOSPEL OF JOHN EXPLAINS HOW CHRIST’S LIFE LED TO CRUCIFIXION

I love to study the Gospel of John because it focuses on the life of Jesus in a very significant way and John gives you a lot of background information that the other gospels do not give you. John focuses on the glorious ministry of Christ in his 33-year incarnate life here on the earth and then, the last three years of that life, John brings significant focus. Beginning in John 1 through John 3, he looks at the first week of Jesus’ public ministry that begins with His baptism and then he gives a series of evangelistic encounters in Chapters 3 all the way to Chapter 11.

And then, from Chapter 11 all the way through to Chapter 21, he focuses on the last week of the events and the life of Jesus where Jesus relentlessly moves to that cross to provide an atoning death and gloriously comes from the tomb, announcing the victory that He has secured over sin, and over death, and over Hell, and over Satan and over the grave.

Now, why do we call it Good Friday? Because, on that day, sinners who are helpless and hopeless in what seems to be a tragic event — in that moment of that atoning death of Christ — God has done something that we could not do. He gave us a life in His Son, Jesus, that we had to live but could not live, a life of perfect righteousness that clothes us with the righteousness to take us to Heaven.

WHAT EXACTLY DID CHRIST DO ON THE CROSS FOR US?

And, at the cross, Jesus, stripped of His righteousness, then has the sins of all of His people for all of eternity poured out upon Him and then the wrath of God relentlessly is poured out upon Him as He drinks the cup of our judgement to the last drop, declaring, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”– ”My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And there, all of the hell due to all of His people for all of eternity, in that cry of dereliction, we see Him descending into hell and hell descending upon Him in the cross.

Then comes that next glorious word, “Tetelestai,” — “It is finished.” And that’s why it’s good. It is tragic, but not a tragedy, for in that moment, Jesus is not dying a martyr’s death and Jesus is not simply dying a model death, but Jesus is dying an atoning death. There is the crux or the cross or the crucial — all of those words come from the Latin word “cross” because there is the moment of history.

Here is the greatest week in all of history and here is the greatest day in all of history. And here, as Jesus said, Himself, is the greatest hour: “My hour has come.” “I was born for this: to go to the cross.” And, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For God demonstrates His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Well, then He goes to the tomb and He is buried in the tomb and the glorious truth of His resurrection on the Lord’s Day. In fulfillment of Scripture, on the third day, He rises from the dead and, in that, God has announced the victory of the saving work of Christ.

WHY DID CHRIST CHOOSE TO TAKE OUR SUFFERING INSTEAD OF US DOING IT OURSELVES?

If you can think of it this way, God has announced the victory of the saving work of Christ. If you can think of it this way, many people can go and claim that they’re dying a sacrificial death, but it does not provide an atonement. Why? Because they need their own savior. Jesus did not need a savior — He was perfectly innocent.

However, Jesus not only died for us perfectly innocent, He died in our place specifically so that our sins would be paid for and God’s announcement to us that, not only was Christ innocent and could take our sins, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. His righteousness and glorious righteousness stripped from Him, our sins put on Him and now, having paid for our sins, His righteousness descends upon us so that the gates of Hell have been shut with His atoning death and the gates of Heaven are open because we have the righteousness of Christ to bring us to glory.

And God’s announcement of that is the resurrection: because He lives, I know His atoning death paid for my sins. As the Scripture says, “He has seen the travail of His soul and is satisfied.” Why did he see it? He’s raised. And why was he raised? Because of the satisfactory atonement of Christ for our sins.

JESUS’ RESURRECTION WAS JUST THE BEGINNING OF GRACE AND EVANGELISM

I love the way it states it in the Gospel of John as the disciples come wondering who’s going to take the stone away — it was the women who were the last at the cross and the women who were the first at the tomb — and they get there and He is not there. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” We find Mary Magdalen coming and sitting there weeping and the voice of Jesus, when He calls her name, “Mary.” And she says, “Rabboni,” the term of endearment that she would have called Him as her redeemer and teacher.

We find John giving us the information she thought he was a gardener — well, that’s interesting, isn’t it, Tom? The first Adam was what? A gardener. What was the second Adam? Supposed to be a gardener, but He’s not a gardener — He is the Gardener. The first gardener was supposed to have developed the garden and fill the earth. The second Gardener has got another Garden and He’s going to fill the earth as the Kingdom of God.

And then we find the first evangelist as Mary Magdalen goes back to tell the disciples, “I have seen the Savior and He is risen.” And then is released the glorious movement of the power of the Gospel throughout the whole world.

THE GOOD NEWS STRETCHES FROM OUR LIFETIME INTO ETERNITY

Tom, isn’t it glorious, as you began this program, we are taking a break from the headline news to the Good News? Well, actually, it’s the Good News that alone will change the headline news. And the biggest headline news I would love for all of our listeners to know: you have been saved and you can only be saved through Jesus. And you can only be saved through Jesus when you come to Him by faith and repentance — there is no other way. The answer to your life is not found in the news of the world, but the answer to your life and my life is the news that has come from Heaven that Jesus saves.

Hallelujah. What a friend for sinners. Now that gives us a world and life view whereby we understand the news of the day but, more importantly, it gives us the instrument that changes the news of every day — first, by changing you and me.

Come to Christ. Good news: what seems to be a tragic death is no tragedy. It is the work of redemption to save sinners from their sins. It is the victory of God’s grace over our sin and, where our sin abounds, the Good News is God’s grace more than abounds in Jesus Christ. Amazing grace. Come to Jesus and be saved by grace through faith alone and Christ alone and then enjoy that Savior for now and for all eternity.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

11 hours ago

Hoover protest leader calls for nationwide boycott of all stores, restaurants with locations at Riverchase Galleria

Carlos Chaverst, Jr., the president of the Birmingham Justice League and self-proclaimed leader of protesting in Hoover, on Tuesday called for a nationwide boycott of all stores and restaurants with locations at the Riverchase Galleria.

In a press release, Chaverst said, “In addition to protests resuming throughout the City of Hoover, The Justice League is attempting to coordinate efforts with grass roots organizations all over the country to boycott the stores and restaurants that are inside the Riverchase Galleria if their demands for justice and transparency are not answered! Those stores include Bath & Body Works, Belk, Dave & Busters, Express, Gap, GNC, H&M, JC Penney, Macy’s, Old Navy, Sears, Victoria’s Secret, and Von Maur just to name a few.”

He called this “broadening the scope of the boycott,” while adding protests will continue “escalating.”

Chaverst has been the face of protests since a Hoover Police officer shot and killed Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr. on Thanksgiving night at the Galleria.

Chaverst listed the following demands in his Tuesday press release:

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1. We want those individuals who knowingly lied about the events of Thanksgiving night leading to the murder of Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. to resign or be terminated immediately!
2. We want Hoover to ask for a Justice Department investigation into its own police department for mistreatment of minorities (citizens AND officers on the police force).
3. We want a “Citizens Review Board” with subpoena power created by the City of Hoover.
4. We want to know the status (paid or unpaid?) of the officer that killed “EJ” Bradford and we want the City of Hoover to keep it’s word of having weekly updates.

To be clear, while Hoover officials apologized for initially misidentifying Bradford as the shooter of an 18-year-old and 12-year-old at the Galleria on the night of his death, there has been no public assertion by the Bradford family or their attorney that officials “knowingly lied.”

It should also be noted that Chaverst has accused the city of not sending out a weekly update this week, hence his last point in demand number four. However, the city and the police department did in fact issue that update as a joint press release on Monday, which was reported by Yellowhammer News and outlets across the state.

The investigation into Bradford’s death and the entirety of the Galleria tragedy is currently entirely out of Hoover’s jurisdiction and control, with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) handling the case.

While Chaverst spearheads the protests themselves and acts as the public face of “the movement,” the Nation of Islam’s Birmingham leader, student minister Tremon Muhammad, is leading the boycott as part of a greater “war.”

In addition to Chaverst’s press release, he also took to Facebook to request that people donate money and items to the protesters, including bandanas, facemasks, first aid kits and “healthy snacks.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Proposed Waters of the United States guidelines praised as good for Alabama farmers, landowners

Federal officials proposed new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) guidelines on Monday to help protect farmers and landowners from intrusive government regulations, per a release from the Alabama Farmers Federation.

In their proposal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers clarified federal authority under the Clean Water Act.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell applauded the newly proposed definition, which excludes ditches from regulation unless they contribute flow to a perennial or intermittent stream.

“The proposed rule is good news for Alabama farmers and restores common sense to Clean Water Act enforcement,” Parnell said.

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He continued, “For several years, farmers, businesses and homeowners have lived under the threat of government intrusion and costly penalties due to overaggressive actions of the Obama-era EPA. We appreciate the Trump administration, current EPA administration, Alabama’s congressional delegation and our state attorneys general for standing by farmers and landowners as we’ve fought back against the WOTUS rule.”

Under the proposal, federally regulated areas would include traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, some ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters.

The proposal also details non-waters of the U.S., such as areas that only contain water during or in response to rainfall, many ditches (including most roadside or farm ditches), prior converted cropland, stormwater control features and waste treatment systems.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall also thanked the EPA and Corps for investing time in a common sense rule that will allow farmers to comply with the law while protecting water resources.

“Clean water is our way of life. Preserving our land and protecting our water means healthy places to live, work and play,” Duvall outlined. “We believe this new Clean Water Rule is rooted in common sense. It will protect our nation’s water resources and allow farmers to farm.”

Today’s announcement is the second part in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS consistent with President Donald Trump’s February 2017 executive order. The first step was initiating a repeal of the Obama administration rule, which was put in place in 2015 but is only in effect in 22 states because of a barrage of state lawsuits challenging it.

Various courts upheld the challenges and postponed the law from going into effect within the boundaries of a bevy of states, including Alabama.

A 60-day comment period on the second part of the process, proposing the revised rule, is now underway.

The EPA and the Corps will hold an informational webcast January 10 and will then host a listening session on the proposed rule January 23 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

15 hours ago

Greg Reed: A Medicaid program built around families and communities

The elections of November 6 are over, and now, in Washington and in Montgomery legislators again take up the task of governing. As the leader of Alabama’s 27 Republican state senators, my focus is on working with other lawmakers and Governor Kay Ivey to make state government more efficient and to keep job growth strong.

Reforming the state’s Medicaid program is one of the toughest challenges we face in the coming year. Medicaid, the federally-mandated health insurance program for pregnant women, children, low-income adults, the elderly and the disabled, is by far the largest line item in the state’s General Fund — Medicaid by itself accounts for 37 percent of all non-education state spending and its budget for the current year is $755 million. For context, state prisons consume 23 percent and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (state troopers) uses 2.5 percent of non-education spending.

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The aging of America’s population as the Baby Boomers retire puts enormous stress on government-run health insurance programs like Medicaid. About 10,000 Boomers retire every day, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2035, the number of adults aged 65 and older in America will outstrip the number of children under the age of 18. In Alabama, the population of folks aged 65 and older is expected to grow by 25 percent between now and 2025. This coming demographic tidal wave threatens to swamp a number of government programs, including Medicaid.

For the past five years, I have worked with Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar to craft a new health care model that better serves the growing number of senior citizens in Alabama who are in Medicaid’s long-term care. Thankfully, this year Alabama received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington to move ahead with the Integrated Care Network (ICN). This reform will offer senior citizens on Medicaid additional health care choices and is projected to save, over the long run, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Here is how the ICN will work: in October of this year, the state Medicaid agency partnered with an Alabama health care provider that will now serve the medical needs of the 23,000 senior citizens who are receiving Medicaid’s long-term care services, 70 percent of whom are in nursing homes. By partnering with an expert health care provider based in Alabama, Medicaid can offer its long-term patients better care — and thus allow more Medicaid recipients to stay longer in the comfort of their own home.

Medicaid recipients can still opt for a nursing home, and no benefits are changed under this new system. But by partnering with a health care provider that is an expert in managed care, Medicaid can bend the cost curve down, offer improved health care, and give more of Alabama’s senior citizens an opportunity to stay a little longer in their homes and communities.

For my wife and me, one of the greatest privileges in life is spending time with our parents — and as the years have passed, we, like so many Alabama families, have discussed the future and begun to plan for the day when our parents will need additional help.

As a legislator, I think often about how the policies that I vote on will affect the lives of my friends and neighbors. The Integrated Care Network is just getting started, but I am optimistic that this reform will improve the quality of life for many families in Alabama and put Medicaid on a sounder financial footing.

Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is the Alabama Senate Majority Leader and represents Senate District 5, which is comprised of all or parts of Winston, Walker, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson and Fayette counties.

16 hours ago

Sessions makes first speech since resigning as attorney general, still supports Trump’s agenda

MONTGOMERY — Speaking at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s 146th annual meeting on Tuesday, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered his first public remarks since leaving President Donald Trump’s administration.

Despite his forced resignation and having been on the raw end of several Trump tweets and public comments this year, Sessions graciously made clear that he still supports the work the president is doing, praising the administration’s successes and some ongoing agenda items in a roughly 20-minute speech. He did not directly address speculation that he could run to return to the United States Senate in 2020.

He did, however, add some levity to the situation, with the crowd of approximately 600 enjoying a few trademark Sessions jokes.

“I’ve had a few ups and downs in the last two years,” Sessions remarked while thanking Bishop Lawson and Cheryl Bryan, who were in attendance. “And every now and then, it’s good to know your bishop is praying for you.”

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A couple of minutes later, Sessions spoke on some federal issues of note.

“On the Make America Great Again front, I will cite these words from Friday’s Wall Street Journal: Wage growth matched the highest rate in nearly a decade and unemployment held at its lowest rate in nearly half a century at 3.7 percent. This is the lowest rate since 1969,” Sessions outlined.

He continued, referring to his wife sitting some yards away from him, “That’s when Mary and I married – 1969.”

Sessions then spoke about the benefits of getting people working again across the nation, while saying that the workforce participation rate still needs improvement.

“So, personally, I’m attempting to chill out a bit,” Sessions said, transitioning away from speaking on the economy.

“You can be sure that I don’t follow the tweets as closely as I used to,” he added to great laughter and a smattering of applause.

Sessions added, “Having served in the Department of Justice for almost 15 years plus 20 on the [Senate] Judiciary Committee, I well knew that AG’s frequently face difficult choices and decisions which, almost inevitably, create some controversy. But this very public adventure, I gotta say, exceeded my expectations.”

The former attorney general and United States senator then continued to emphasize that he remains supportive of Trump and their shared agenda.

“I’m proud of President Trump’s policy agenda and to have had a part in it,” Sessions said. “He is driven to succeed and much of his frustration arises from his inability to move the bureaucracy to achieve what he believes oughta be achieved fast enough.”

Perhaps quoting Kanye West for the first time, Sessions commented, “[Trump] has dragon energy. Think that’s a good description of it, really.”

He then talked about his “love” for the Department of Justice, outlining the successes of his tenure in a similar manner to his speech in Hoover this fall.

“I poured my heart into our work and was pleased to be able to advance the president’s policies, which were my policies and good for America,” Sessions explained.

After listing some of the many accomplishments of his time as attorney general for several minutes, Sessions said that the DOJ’s recent work was just one way that “the rule of law” was being affirmed.

“First, and of monumental importance, the president continues to nominate the best group of highly qualified federal judges ever, in my opinion,” Sessions advised. “These judges understand that they adjudicate under the constitution – they’re not above it. And they know they are to be neutral umpires.”

In a timely manner with Tuesday’s announcement that Ben Shapiro will speak at the University of Alabama during the spring, Sessions also touched on his support of free speech on campuses.

“We’ve defended free speech on campus. Goodness gracious, [it’s] hard to believe the attacks on speech on campus,” Sessions said.

After getting into the weeds a little on more ways the DOJ defended the constitution under his watch, Sessions concluded his remarks.

“[W]e have the greatest legal system in the history of the world,” Sessions outlined. “This government, and especially the attorney general, must give his best effort every day to uphold and defend this heritage we have been so blessed to receive.”

“To that end, as God has given me the ability, I have been dedicated. I am satisfied our work has met the highest standards. Thank you for your friendship, your understanding, your support and for allowing me to represent the great people of this fabulous state. I love it. And of the United States. Thank you all and may God bless America and God bless this great state,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

Ledbetter: Around a ’75 percent’ chance higher gas tax passes

The gas tax may be a foregone conclusion if you listen to the leadership of the Alabama legislature.

Infrastructure needs are undoubtedly a priority heading into the next legislative session; how they get addressed is the battle we will see fought out.

A gas tax of up to 12 cents a gallon has been discussed, but according to Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, the target for a tax increase in Alabama is more likely to be in the six to 10 cent range, which could raise between $180 million and $300 million dollars a year.

While appearing Tuesday on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Ledbetter was optimistic about the chances of the tax passing legislation.

Without any particular promises made, he referred to the need for a “clean bill” that he believes makes the passage easier.

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In spite of that desire, there are pressing needs in every part of the state and constituents will want their needs addressed, but he agreed that every caveat carved out weakens the bill and makes it less likely to pass.

In the interview, Ledbetter signaled a strategy that will be unveiled to convince Alabama voters that a gas tax increase isn’t that bad and surrounding states have higher taxes so we should increase ours as well, arguing it would be a “reasonable” tax.

Ledbetter stated, “You know Georgia did 26 on gas, 29 on diesel with a five dollar lodging fee.”

“We’re not gonna do that,” he added.

Ledbetter then continued to point out Alabama’s higher tax neighbors, “Tennessee put 10 cents on, Louisiana put 18 cents on. I think we’re going to be more reasonable with what we do and we need to do it for the right reasons.”

A strategy for the gas tax is being unveiled before our eyes: using county commissioners to lobby legislators for a higher gas tax and compare Alabama’s taxes to our neighbors.

Will it work? Ledbetter said there is around a 75 percent chance it will.

Listen:

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN