As children, many of us learned a little prayer that began, “God is good, God is great….”
We often sing a praise song in worship with the lyrics, “God is so good.” And indeed He is. God’s goodness created the world. Called Abraham. Protected the patriarchs. And blessed Israel. Asaph, the Psalmist said, “God is good to Israel” (Ps 73:1).
It was God’s goodness that sent His Son into the world. But it was a corrupt culture. One perverted from God’s original purpose. In a word, evil.
It was an evil Herod that slaughtered the innocent infants seeking to eliminate who he perceived was a rival King.
Jesus grew up under the rule of an evil Emperor, Tiberius. He was a homosexual and a pedophile, who cavorted with young boys on the isle of Capri.
Sadly many of the Jewish religious leaders were evil. Jesus challenged them when he asked, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” (Matt 9:4).
Jesus, however, “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). He is called “good teacher” and “good master.” Jesus identified himself as “the Good Shepherd.” His goodness spoke to his inner nature. His virtue. His character. However, after 3 ½ years of His teaching, evil still flourished.
Evil was in abundance on the Friday Christ was killed.
The Pharisees and religious leaders’ hearts were filled with envy. Pilate knew it. He said so. Evil plotting. Evil planning. Evil purposes. These men were outwardly religious. But inside they were corrupt. ” Whitewashed tombs,” Jesus called them. Evil.
Evil entered the heart of the betrayer who sold Jesus out. For thirty pieces of silver. He was thief. A pretender. A traitor. An evil man.
Evil weakened the resolve of Peter who denied his Lord. Not once. Not twice. But three times! Peter wasn’t a bad man. But evil won out on that day.
Evil witnesses paid to perjure themselves. An evil High Priest that circumvented the law. An evil court that ignored justice.
An evil governor. He knew Jesus was not guilty. “What evil has he done?” Pilate asked the mob. But he caved in. He was an unprincipled man concerned more about his career and political standing than doing right.
An evil empire allowed Jesus to be crucified. Rome was powerful. Rich. Expansive. They ruled the world. But they were weak spiritually.
Jesus was killed. Buried. Evil seemed to triumph. But that was Friday. They didn’t know Sunday was coming!
Because on Sunday everything changed. The God of goodness brought about a great victory over evil. Jesus arose from the dead. The enemies were dumfounded. The scattered followers reunited. The dishearten disciples filled with joy. The devil didn’t win. Evil didn’t triumph. The man Jesus was proved to be the Son of God. And once more for 40 days he went about doing good.
And the gospel, the good news, was set to overpower evil. To diffuse its influence. To undermine its hold on the human race. To eradicate its eternal consequences.
Oh the evil of the empire continued. Men committed unspeakable acts. There was still treachery. Murder. Vice. And 2,000 years later, today’s news screams with “Friday’s evils.” Rioters. Looters. Thugs. Anarchy. Corrupt politicians. Police brutality. Cowardly leaders. And hypocritical Clergymen.
But Jesus has shown us a new way. A better way. A way of goodness. A way that was God-ward. A way in which evil doesn’t have to win. Through the victory of Jesus we don’t have to be servants of sin. We don’t have to be slaves to Satan. We don’t have to be subject to evil’s alluring enticements.
Yes, Sunday’s coming!
Literally. We will come to worship. To focus on God. To see His goodness. And hear the Good News. And to know that evil does not have to reign in our hearts.
“Resurrection Sunday” is also coming! A day of triumph. A day when those who have done evil will come forth from the grave to the resurrection of condemnation. And those who have done good to the resurrection of life.(John 5:29-30)
It may be Friday. But thanks be to God, Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman