On Good Friday, Jesus showed mercy and forgiveness
Friday, April 19, 2019
This editorial originally appeared on April 14, 2017
Today is Good Friday, the day Christians recognize as the day Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was nailed to the cross and died. Sunday, Christians recognize Easter, the day Christ was resurrected.
The story of the cross is a violent one. Nailed to a tree, Jesus suffered. Christians believe Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross to represent the sin of all men, who may be made spiritually whole and clean by putting their faith in Jesus. It is through this spiritual cleansing and faith in Christ that Christians believe secures a place in heaven for eternity.
The story of Good Friday is remembered as sacrifice, but it is also remembered for mercy.
In Christ's final moments, while enduring the pain of the nails, the thorns in his head, the gash in his side, the blood loss and fatigue, Christ prayed to God, saying "Forgive them for they know not what they do."
He did not call for revenge. He called for forgiveness.
Jesus, Scripture tells us, also showed mercy upon a thief who hung on the cross beside him.
On the other side of Jesus, a criminal hurled insults at Jesus, asking if he was truly the Christ, then why wouldn't he save himself?
But the other criminal said they were being punished justly, but that Jesus had done nothing wrong. He asked Jesus to remember him when he entered the kingdom.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
As Christians reflect on Good Friday, it's a time to recognize the sacrifice of Jesus, and God's power over death. But it's also a good time to look at our own lives and consider forgiveness and mercy for those who may have wronged us in the past.
Several churches are holding Good Friday services tonight. Consider attending and learning more about the death and resurrection that is the basis for Christianity.