Why is it "Good" Friday?

As I type this I am in celebratory mood, having just returned home from a resounding win for Poole Town FC in the Dorset Senior Cup final against Wimborne Town. 

 Thinking about winning and losing is very appropriate as we head towards 'holy week' leading up to Easter.  The big day of the week is Good Friday, when Christians all around the world remember the death of Jesus on a cross.  No other religion celebrates the death of its founder this way - crucifixion was a gruesome way of dying reserved for criminals and conspirators against Rome, so how can this apparent defeat be a victory?

 The answer is that Christians believe Jesus died for us all.  His death builds a bridge over the chasm between people and God, a chasm made by all the wrongdoing which separates us from God.  That's why the anniversary of Jesus death can be regarded as 'Good' Friday.

 Across Jerusalem, hundreds of yards from the place outside the city wall where Jesus died, was the temple, where a huge curtain (30 feet high and as thick as the span of a human hand) kept people out from what was known as the 'holy of holies'.  The curtain was like a huge 'no entry' sign keeping people away from God.  But at the moment of Jesus' death, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom - God did this to show that what seemed like a defeat was in fact a victory over sin and death.  And the proof came a couple of days later in the empty tomb - but that's my next blog, so I'll wait until then to wish you 'happy Easter'.