Throughout history, Fridays have harbored their share of tragic events. For a moment, let’s look at some of these catastrophic days of old.
April 14th, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd attended Ford’s Theatre to watch the play, “Our American Cousin.” John Wilkes Boothe slipped into the State Box and fired a bullet into the President’s head. Lincoln passed away the next day.
December 13th, 1916: During the First World War, Italy and Austria manned military bases in the Swiss Alps. The military personnel discovered that enemy attacks weren’t the only cause for concern. Heavy snowfall triggered a series of avalanches in the Tyrol Region causing the deaths of 10,000 soldiers. The day became known as White Friday.
March 18th, 1937: The modern, newly constructed school, in New London, Texas exploded, killing an estimated 280 children and 14 teachers. The explosion occurred at the end of the school day as grades one through four exited their classrooms to file onto waiting school busses. Apparently, a natural gas leak precipitated the calamitous loss of life. Three minutes before dismissal, a shop instructor turned on an electric sander, sparking the explosion.
November 22nd, 1963: Shortly after noon on this day, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.
March 2, 2011: This arguably marked the worst tornado outbreak in history. The National Weather Center reported 86 tornadoes. Normally, there are 87 tornadoes during the entire month of March.
March 11th, 2011: Hundreds of Japanese citizens perished after the worst earthquake in decades. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook buildings violently in Tokyo, sending millions fleeing for higher ground. This earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that obliterated large portions of coastal territory.
If scientific technology permitted time travel, a journey to Golgotha, A.D. 33 might be in order. On this Friday in history, Roman soldiers nailed three men to crosses, the man in the middle, no ordinary man. The crucifixion of Jesus marked the end of an era, so His closest followers thought. If interviewed on that day, undoubtedly the disciples considered Friday, that Friday, the worst Friday of recorded history. The man they believed to be the deliverer of the Jewish people hung helplessly on a cross, all hope dissipating with his dying words,
“It is finished.”
For years, Paul Harvey hosted a radio program entitled “The Rest of the Story,” and for those who know the rest of the story, we acknowledge that Friday as not only a Good Friday, but the greatest Friday of all time. Certainly Christ’s death on the cross appeared to be a crushing defeat for those who witnessed and participated in his earthly ministry, but as we know, appearances can be deceiving.
I Corinthians 1:18 expresses the truth of the cross in this manner,
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
Galatians 3:18 shares,
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
And there’s the hope of Good Friday.
He bore the penalty for our sin, enduring the punishment we deserved. His sacrifice afforded mankind the opportunity to be forgiven of sin’s ravaging consequences and receive eternal life. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God extends a promise to all from His Word,
“For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Though the followers of Christ considered Golgotha’s Friday bleak, in reality, it truly was a Good Friday. In fact, Golgotha’s Friday earns the title, “The Best Friday Ever.”
And by the way, it may be Friday, but Sunday’s coming!