What’s So Good About Good Friday—And How It Makes Jesus’ Victory So Different

Jesus took on death willingly, to defeat it permanently.

Most of the world’s historic victories happened in one simple, yet brutal way—the winner was better at killing than the loser was.

Death wins. As long as it’s your death, not mine.

One of the many reasons I follow Jesus is that his victory on the cross was different from that. In fact it was the polar opposite of that.

Four Ways Jesus’ Victory Was Different

First, when Jesus died, it wasn’t because his enemies were stronger, smarter, or better fighters. He gave himself up voluntarily. Instead of killing his enemies, Jesus took death into his own bosom. (John 10:18)

Second, Jesus didn’t fight against those who saw him as their enemy. He didn’t try to defeat them, he gave his life to save them. As he hung on the cross, he didn’t curse them, he forgave them. (Luke 23:34)

Third, Jesus knew who the real enemy was. Death itself. And that’s what he took on when he offered himself on the cross. Death was the enemy, sin was its champion and Jesus would conquer them both, with resurrection as the proof of his victory. (Romans 5:12-17)

Fourth (and ultimately), Jesus did not just defeat death allegorically or philosophically. He experienced a physical, literal, bodily death and resurrection. By doing so he defeated death in actual, real time and space. (1 Corinthians 15-26)

If physical resurrection wasn’t important, Jesus’ physical crucifixion would not have been necessary. And if bodily resurrection didn’t happen, then death—actual, physical, literal death—would not have been defeated, and it would still be the ultimate winner in all of life’s battles.

The Death Of Death

The way Jesus died (bodily, publicly, and intentionally) set the stage for the way he would rise (also bodily, publicly, and intentionally).

Death has no power any more.

So, in one way, Jesus’ victory was like all the other victories. It did rely on killing his enemy. But in Jesus’ case, his enemy was death itself.

That’s why Good Friday matters. Jesus took on death willingly, to defeat it permanently.

Jesus killed death.

There’s no better news than that.

(Photo by Chris Benson | Unsplash)


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