What is so good about Good Friday? A discussion with Matt Maher.

What is so good about Good Friday? A discussion with Matt Maher.

What is so good about Good Friday? A discussion with Matt Maher.

Good Friday is much bigger than simply the Friday leading up to Easter. Thousands of years ago we see Jesus experience the totality of human suffering from anxiety, loneliness, being mocked, and ultimately being killed.

Matt Maher is with us to talk about the good news that through Jesus’ resurrection, we can know that no matter what is going on in our life, we can experience that deep encounter with Christ.



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Kim:

Good Friday is one of the most beautiful services of the year because oftentimes we don’t sit in the reality of what at the cross was. And I would love to hear you just share on that and what that means to you, Good Friday service.

Matt Maher:

I think when we think about Easter and we think about the resurrection of Jesus, or we think about the cross, we don’t necessarily sometimes think about them as one sort of continuous journey. The thing about the journey it creates, I think, an entry point for people who are experiencing a lot of suffering in their life, in all the different forms that it can take. It could be physical, it could be emotional, it could be mental, it could be spiritual, but suffering is an inescapable part of humanity. And it really goes from there, from the Last Supper all the way to the cross, and in it, we see Jesus really embracing the totality of human suffering. We see him embracing anxiety in the garden, loneliness, the temptation to feel abandoned by God, to be ridiculed and mocked for his faith, for who he is, to be tortured, beaten.

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Matt Maher:

Watching the reaction of his closest followers, I think about the disciple, John, leaning on Jesus on Holy Thursday, and just that sense of intimacy. Less than 24 hours later, he’s the only guy standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother and everyone else is just kind of abandoned him. We think about Peter who’s like, “Lord, I’ll never forsake you. I’ll never deny you to the world.” And Jesus is like, actually, you’re going to do it three times. Peter’s anger, cutting off a soldier’s ear, his sort of that thing of lashing out and Jesus even rebuking him for that. In all of those things, we see a God who’s trying to hold capacity for everyone and all of their responses.

So when we get to Good Friday, when I get to Good Friday, to me, all of that is there. And the good news about all of that being there is that no matter what’s going on in my life, because of the story of the resurrection and how it comes through the passion and death of Jesus, I can experience that encounter with Christ, no matter what my life looks like. And then the last thing I want to say, the thing about Good Friday is it’s a bold claim for Christians right now to have a day where we don’t say at the end of it, God wins.

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Kim:

Yes.

Matt Maher:

But we kind of sit in the tension of he died.

Kim:

Yes.

Matt Maher:

What was that like for his followers to go through the next day and a half and not have any certainty? And I think everyone can relate to that, but also begin to, with faith, journey through that, those moments of uncertainty and doubt.

Kim:

Yeah. I think when I first really started to appreciate the Good Friday service and have a better understanding of it was after I’d lost my parents. And I lost them within a year. And I just remember sitting at that first Good Friday, just feeling grief at a different level, and then realizing, wait a minute, it’s so much more than just you go to your Friday service because you can’t wait to get to Sunday. And that was probably the first time I’d really connected the dots of the grieving and the sitting and the lamenting because I hadn’t really learned how to lament before.

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Matt Maher:

Yeah. I think it’s one of the hardest things that we don’t know how to do. The reality that we’re all going to die, it’s central to the mystery of the cross. And it’s because we’re going to die, that’s why Jesus had to. You know what I mean?

Kim:

Right.

Matt Maher:

That’s why his death is an atoning sacrifice. He used death to destroy death.

Kim:

Yes. Turning that corner to Easter. To the Sunday, to he has risen. Christ Has Risen is one of, in my personal opinion, the best songs ever. And I wonder as the person who wrote it, do you sing that with a new awe or a new revelation on Easter Sunday, when you, when you hear songs like that?

Matt Maher:

Oh, for sure. I think I need the reality of the resurrection every day of my life, but there is something powerful about on Easter Sunday of singing those words. And it’s amazing, even knowing, like I said, that that song was inspired by a sermon, that at one point it was preached. What that must have been like for the believers there.

Kim:

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I did not know that.

Matt Maher:

Yeah. As they’re reading, they’re telling the story of the resurrection, maybe they’re reading letters. This is before the formation of the scriptures. And what a powerful reminder that must have been for people to have this sort of bold faced joy in opposition to persecution, to disease, to sickness, to grief, all of it, that in the middle of all that, that’s where new life begins. And that’s where the power of the resurrection starts to work in our lives.

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