On Good Friday, we remember the death of the Son of God on a bloody and horrific cross. It seems paradoxical to call such a day Good Friday. How can a day focused on death and suffering be good? How can Jesus being rejected by his people and tortured on a Roman cross be good? To understand more of this mystery, and what Good Friday is all about, it might help to wade deeper into the pool of theology by considering the meaning of the cross. Ultimate victory was at work in initial defeat.
There is no more fundamental problem for us as human beings than how we deal with our sin before a holy God. Sin is wrong-doing and law-breaking. A holy and just God cannot look the other way and let crimes go unpunished. They must be dealt with. That puts you and I in quite the predicament. Sin creates guilt before God, guilt and shame we sometimes feel strongly. It incurs death. It separates us from God. It corrupts and makes us feel unclean. Our biggest problem in life is a sin-problem. So how do we deal with that? How do we get a clean slate? How do fix what’s broken? That’s the deep human question and it’s behind so much of every religion’s quest to make right or atone for sin.
Like any good narrative, the Bible uses literary devices such as metaphors, double-meanings, paradoxes, and irony. The New Testament authors often used irony to draw out the difference between how mankind sees things and how God sees things. Irony shows the sharp contrast between expectations and realities as well as between intent and effect. A third way authors employ irony is to highlight something the readers know that the characters in the story would have been unaware of. In Colossians 2:13-15 Paul provides at least four ironies tied to the cross of Jesus Christ.