If you had asked the disciples, the friends of Jesus who had shared their lives with him and lived through all the highs and lows, they would never have called it a good Friday. They would have called it 'Very Bad Friday', or 'Friday the Worst!'
They still didn't understand, immersed in the story as they were, unable to see the end from the beginning. It's not like that for us, we are not in the dark. We know the end of the story. Can you imagine anyone going to see the relaunched Titanic movie in 3D this weekend and wondering whether the boat sinks or not?! This is our position, we know that the man who died on the Friday, came through death and out the other side into indestructable life!
We know Good Friday is good news because with his death on the cross, Jesus broke the curse that we were under. The curse of separation which has been marked over our lives since the beginning, in the Garden, when Adam and Eve first made a decision to live their lives independently from the God who made them for relationship. Since that time, the curse has been like a thread, entangling all of our lives. However hard we try to overcome it with the extremes of our religion, or our ignorance of God, the curse looms large like the Titanic iceberg, no way past, a certain tragedy.
The scriptures tell us that Christ takes that curse on himself, on the cross - our shame, our separation, our punishment. This is good news on Good Friday.
He is an effective curse-breaker. The gospel accounts confirm that as soon as Jesus breathed his last breath, the giant curtain in the temple tore in two, from top to bottom. This barrier between the holy place in the temple, and the ordinary - if ever there was a symbol of the curse of separation, the curtain in the temple was it.
In one moment, this no entry sign is removed. So complete and final is this work of demolishing the curse, the later scripture writers are able to say that we can now confidently enter into the presence of God, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, through his body which is the curtain.
So Good Friday is good news. In our sorrow, he is more than just a comforter : The torn curtain means we can follow him right through into the joy of restored friendship and acceptance with the Father. In our darkness, we can follow Christ through the torn curtain, the blazing light of the world.
In our fears, our anxieties, our depression, we can walk through the torn curtain into the perfect love of the Father which chases fear away - even the ultimate fear of death no longer has a sting in it's tail. In our sickness, we step through the torn curtain with a glimmer of hope that we might just experience a foretaste now of the irresistible resurrection life of Christ in our bodies.
So Good Friday is good news. When you draw your curtains at home tonight, you can thank God that the way to Him will never be closed for you. When you open your curtains tomorrow and the bright light of a new day dawns in your home, you can thank Jesus that he has flooded your life with hope in his resurrection life forever.