Tearing & Mending: Why Good Friday is “Good”
Good Friday remembers the hasty and unjust trial of Jesus, the Son of God, and His resulting crucifixion and death. So, why is Good Friday “good”? Let's explore how Jesus mended it all.
Is it really a “good” Friday?
Good Friday remembers the hasty and unjust trial of Jesus, the Son of God, and His resulting crucifixion and death.
So, why is Good Friday “good”?
On the surface, it isn’t a feel-good story. It involves a mob, torture, politics, and the death of the Messiah. The disciples’ hope in their King — dashed. The hope of the Jewish people regaining their independence from Roman rule — gone.
How is all of this “good”?
Tearing and mending
As Christians, we use a variety of phrases to describe what Jesus did on Good Friday:
- Atonement from sin
- Sacrifice for sins
- Reconciliation with God
I’d love to use a simple metaphor to summarize: tearing and mending.
Before Christ’s reconciling death and resurrection, our relationship with God was torn due to sin. Things were not as they should be. Our peace, or shalom, with God was torn.
When Pilate sentenced Jesus to flogging, soldiers tore the flesh of the Son of God and they jammed a crown of thorns into His scalp.
On the cross, suffered more literal tearing. But His death inaugurated mending. Note Mathew’s description of the moment:
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:50-54 (emphasis mine)
Note how the temple’s curtain was “torn in two from top to bottom,” a true miracle and act of God. The ESV Study Bible provides this awesome description of the temple curtain:
The curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was an elaborately woven fabric of 72 twisted plaits of 24 threads each. It was 60 feet (18 m) high and 30 feet (9.1 m) wide. No one was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the curtain except the high priest, and he only once a year, on the Day of Atonement.
The fact the curtain was torn from “top to bottom” means God did it. No human could tear that curtain from the bottom anyhow. But tearing from the top — impossible. Most commentators agree: The tearing of the curtain represented God’s removal of the barrier between Himself and humanity. The death of Jesus, as the Lamb of God and as our High Priest, mended our relationship with God.
I also imagine the tearing of the curtain as God mourning the death of His Son. When someone grieved or was moved by injustice in the Bible, they would rend, or tear, their clothing. It’s an expression of the internal tearing on the inside.
The death of Jesus, as the Lamb of God and as our High Priest, mended our relationship with God.
Though I cannot prove this connection to the rending of the temple curtain, the ultimate meaning of it remains: God chose to mend the problem of sin through the love and sacrifice of His Son.
Isaiah’s famous prophecy captures this beautiful theme of tearing and mending through Jesus:
“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:4-6 (emphasis mine)
Jesus was crushed, stricken, pierced. He bore our sins. He was torn.
Yet, He inaugurated peace, healing, and reconciliation with God.
Tearing became mending. Separation, reconciliation. Guilt into forgiveness.
All because of Jesus.
This is why Good Friday is good.
🔥 Bonus Sauce!
For more on Good Friday…
For more on the beauty in the word Shalom, check out this video: