The words, "Good Friday" seem like somewhat of a misnomer. What is good, after all, about the brutal execution of Jesus of Nazareth? In a world in which violence dominates all media and suffuses the understanding which we have of our world, how can there be anything "good" about what this day commemorates? Do we really need yet another violent and brutal image to add to our violence-overloaded modern lives?

In a very real sense, there is nothing "good" about this day. This day marks the apex of human sinfulness, when the full fury of humanity's enmity toward God was poured out on Christ.
This day reveals the incredible juxtaposition of divine love and human hatred. In the incarnation, God comes to God's people with mercy, forgiveness and salvation, holding out the hope of reconciliation, restoration and recreation.

But this day also reveals the depths of the privation of good to in which humanity perpetually devolves, as its response to the immanence of love divine is brutality and violence infinitized, the virulence of the history of human hatred quantified in the execution of very God.

So then, there is nothing inherently "good" about what happened to Jesus some 2000 years ago. Christ's death was not "good" because it somehow satisfied the wrath of an angry God. The truth of the matter is, if violence, destruction and death are God's means of solving the world's problems, then the primal violence of humanity is legitimized in God's response to it. If the violence and dissolution of the cross represent the "justice" of God, then violence is the ultimate ruling paradigm; the eschatological kingdom of God would be one simply marked by the oppression and obliteration of that which is opposed to God, rather than the inbreaking of peace and reconciliation for all illustrated in the Incarnation of Christ.. In this sense, the violence of humanity is only "depraved" because it is not big enough to overcome God's infinite violence.

As such conclusions are unacceptable, it must concluded that Christ's death on the crossrather than displaying the rage and fury of God against human sin–underscores the violence and injustice that characterizes the existence of a humanity severed from the goodness of its creator. That is, if the Incarnation of very God in the person of Christ signifies the depths of God's reconciling love, the cross of Christ represents the hatred-suffused response of humanity to the same. The cross, then, rather than being good, is ultimately the most damning of realities, for it underlines the distance from which humanity has separated itself from the life of God through its lust for hatred and violence.
Therefore, the "goodness" of this day lies not in the bare fact of Christ's crucifixion. Rather, the good to be found is in Christ's response to the hatred and violence of sinful humanity. In a cosmic showdown, the collective history of human sin and hatred was mustered against Christ, executed fully and wrathfully upon his person. In this moment of terror, Christ could have resisted. As he notes to his followers, he could have obliterated his enemies with a show of violence that would have overwhelmed and destroyed; he could have called the ferocious legions of heaven to execute divine fury on his foes. This, after all, was exactly what the powers of evil and violence desired–for Christ to participate within their struggle for power and domination would have been their ultimate legitimizer, a divine seal of approval on the tactics and methods of hatred and violence. However, instead of capitulating to their power by engaging in a greater display of violence and wrath; instead of seeking to shield himself from the injustice of his enemies; instead of seeking to establish his "just-ness" in the face of obvious and illegitimate oppression and brutality; Christ bowed his head to his enemies, accepting the verdict of sin's judgment, submitting in humility to the violence, humiliation and devastation of the cross.

This act of submission, however, was Christ's ultimate triumph. The powers of human sinfulness and violence there gathered against Christ were like a fire raging with appetite that can only be sated by a constant supply of oxygen. The grand scheme of these powers was an ultimate confrontation in which God would be overwhelmed by their virulence and respond in kind. However, by not accepting the methods of human sinfulness and violence, but rather by submitting to their illegitimate judgments, Christ rendered their power completely void. By refusing to participate within their cycles of violence, Christ removed the only source of power by which they might persist and continue in their consumptive and destructive ways. As the powers of human sinfulness and violence could find no source of "fuel" within the reaction of Christ, their collective power executed upon Christ in the cross was fully absorbed in his person, their virulence forever overcome and infinitely extinguished.

The message of "goodness" of this day, then, lies not in the fact that Jesus was executed. Rather, the goodness is found in the fact that Christ has overcome the powers of human hatred and violence not through a greater show of the same, but rather through peace, mercy and reconciliation.
May our attitudes, in the words of the Apostle, be like that of Christ.