Why do Christians celebrate the heinous death of a man? Good Friday represents the betrayal of Jesus and the start of Jesus’ torture, humiliation, and death. What is there to celebrate in that?
Believe it or not, there is much to celebrate. However, the focus of the celebration is not on the betrayal, torture, humiliation or death. The focus of the celebration is the hope of salvation that comes with the aftermath of what that death brings about.
Although the scene starts with darkness, it ends in utmost joy. Easter Sunday is about the resurrection of Jesus, how He conquered death, and how He is preparing a place for believers to go to (Heaven). None of that could be without first having death.
Let us go back a little. Passover. This is when Jews would offer a sacrifice to God in order to get forgiveness of their sins. The sacrifice had to be perfect, without blemish. Without the death of a perfect lamb, the people’s sins would not be forgiven and they would be separated from God.
During Passover, Jesus was arrested and crucified. As Jesus was both God and man, He was perfect. His crucifixion and death was needed to atone for man’s sins. But this wasn’t enough.
If Jesus had just died, He would be no different than any other prophet or priest. He conquered death, Satan, and sin by coming back to life, proving that He has control of everything. His death and resurrection did away with the need for sacrifices. He was the ultimate sacrifice for all people. All people have sinned and need Jesus’ redemption. All have it available to them but not all people choose to believe.
Now, if you believe and follow Jesus’ commands, your sins will be forgiven and you will go to Heaven. You will be a Christ follower, a Christian. There is no need for blood sacrifices made by priests. Jesus is the only way. Sin is the only thing separating us from God. Through Jesus, our sin is forgiven and we are no longer separated.
This is what Christians celebrate on Good Friday. It is not the death in itself, but what the death leads to. It leads to resurrection. It leads to freedom from sin. It leads to hope. It leads to eternal life. It leads to God.