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Sacrifice of Jesus on Cross turned Black Friday into Good Friday for us all

Thought for the weekend

By Rev Gareth Burke

So yesterday was Black Friday. A remarkable shopping day - the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States - when the shops slash prices and bargain hunters go crazy. Now I was beginning to think that I must have been very dozy as a child because I can never remember anyone talking about 'Back Friday' whenever I was growing up. So I did a little research and was relieved to discover that the Black Friday phenomenon did not really hit our country until 2003 and it's only in the last couple of years that it has really taken off.

But why Black Friday? There are two views. Some think it's called Black Friday because years ago the police in Philadelphia gave it this name whenever the traffic was incredibly snarled up all day. Others say, no no, it's to do with the retailers. It's the day when their profits move from being in the red to being in the black.

Anyway, it makes me think of another Black Friday. This one we read about in the Bible, the day when Jesus died on the cross. We don't normally call it Black Friday. In fact, it's normally referred to as Good Friday, but nevertheless there was something very black about it. Take the darkness - for three hours on that Friday from 12 noon until 3pm - a thick darkness descended over all the land. Symbolic darkness. Darkness that speaks of sin. Our sin being laid on Jesus and Jesus dying in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve. We're told that as he was dying Jesus cried out 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Matthew 27:46). There were things happening that day that are way beyond our understanding. Martin Luther sat on a chair for three hours contemplating the darkness and the Saviour's cry of dereliction. He rose from his chair and said 'God, forsaken by God, who can understand it?' But the basic facts are clear - that Jesus died in our place; that he died that we who trust in him by faith might be forgiven and experience eternal life.

I suppose that's why we call it Good Friday rather than Black Friday. For there is good news. Good news because of the cross. Good news because of the darkness. It's the good news of salvation and forgiveness. Black Friday becomes Good Friday.

Belfast Telegraph


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