Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53: 4-5)

 This may seem strange, but I absolutely love Good Friday. Even though it’s a sad and somber holiday, I enjoy it, look forward to it ahead of time, and consider it one of my favorite days of the church year. For one thing, some of my favorite hymns are Good Friday hymns, such as O Sacred Head Now Wounded and Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted.

Of course, another part of the appeal of Good Friday is the fact that it’s just two days before Easter. When one is sitting in church singing something like O Sacred Head Now Wounded, one knows that Jesus Christ is Risen Today and Awake, My Heart, with Gladness are just around the corner. Nothing can negate the atrocity of Jesus’ crucifixion and of the sin that made it necessary, but the salvation that comes from Good Friday and the Resurrection make it an occasion that can be observed with gladness as well as with sorrow.

Basically, Good Friday and Easter each imply the significance of the other. The Gospel is not absent from Good Friday because salvation comes from the cross, and the Law is not absent from Easter because Jesus’ death and resurrection were necessitated by sin. Really, every church service has both Good Friday and Easter in it.  (‘Tis good to be Lutheran)

That’s what makes the aforementioned Good Friday hymns so awesome. They’re about sin and death, but they’re also about grace and salvation.

Here we have a firm foundation, Here the refuge of the lost; Christ’s the Rock of our salvation, His the  name of which we boast. Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, Sacrificed to cancel guilt! None shall ever be confounded Who on Him their hope have built. (Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted, verse 4)

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