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Ask A Pastor


Q: If Jesus already defeated death in his resurrection on Easter, why bother?

A: I think of this classic question in terms of a sports analogy: If you knew before the big game that your team would win, would you seek to avoid playing in it or would you long to get in the game? I’ve always felt that I would want to play because of the joy of being a part of the big victory as well as the freedom and comfort that would come from knowing that no matter what I did—how often I fumbled the ball or missed the tackle—we would still win. I’d want to be a part of that!

That’s my first answer to “Why bother?” in the wake of Easter: While Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the grave is certain, his victory is still being played out, and we have the opportunity—yes, the distinct privilege—to be on the team and have plays called for us! These are the “good works God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them,” the many ways we participate in the victory of the King over the powers of darkness. The joy, freedom, and comfort that can mark your life in place of stress, guilt, and anxiety are remarkable when you’re playing on the winning team.

One more answer to this “Why bother?” question: The winning team is determined already, but God has called us to invite others to be on the team. In light of the fact that we know which team wins, there is an urgency to filling up the roster with others who can celebrate the victory of Jesus with us. God has called us (forgive the extended analogy!) to be recruiters, inviting people to join the team that wins eternally … what a great joy and privilege!

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Q: Why do we call Good Friday “good”?

A: How could it be possible that a day so full of pain and suffering, evil and death, could be referred to as “good”? Only in the hands of our gracious God! Of course, the wrongful crucifixion of Jesus was not in itself a good deed, nor do we celebrate the pain and torment he endured as an inherently good thing. On the other hand, there are at least two very good aspects of “Good Friday” in the hands of our sovereign and good God.

First and most importantly, Good Friday is good because of the good that God accomplishes on our behalf through the death of Jesus. Jesus endures the wrath of God justly due to our sin and pays the penalty for our sins in full. He experiences the rejection of the Father, so we can know His acceptance. He experiences the judgment of God, so we can know His forgiveness. He suffers death, so that we can know life. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and that’s a very good thing!

In addition to that primary good gift, God uses what men intended for evil for good in yet another way. Good Friday shows us that suffering and sacrifice—far from being things to avoid at all costs—are a fundamental part of following Jesus. And this is good because in the face of suffering, life can seem hopeless; when we are faced with the choice to sacrifice for following Jesus or to take the “easy road,” sacrifice can seem pointless. And God shows us on Good Friday that these things we often feel are not true. He shows us that he brings even the greatest good out of the deepest pain, and it’s good to know we can trust God even there.