One particular evening, driving back to my hotel after a wonderful night of anointing, I saw a restaurant which sells itself as being the utopian weekend spot. Yet its name comes from a slogan that, at the beginning of every weekend, most of my own employees chant joyously as they sprint for their cars in the parking lot: "Thank God It's Friday!"
As we approach one of the most sacred Christian days of the year, I think we should all know why so many Americans cry out this same sentiment every weekend.
One dark and dreary afternoon, between the sixth and ninth hours of the day, the wind whistled and the clouds swarmed over a brazen Nazarene set to be put to death for speaking some very controversial views in the face of the priests and religious leaders of his day. He was bludgeoned, battered and bruised. With his head hanging low, not out of self-pity but because of a rafter hanging on his neck and brittle arms, He made a trek up an inclined cobblestone path - barefoot and bleeding. There were scars on His back from a merciless cat-of-nine-tails whose silver tips lacerated Him. There were hairs missing from his beard, drops of spittle dangling on His face and bruises scattered from as many as 600 fists crashing in his jaw.
Yet, all the while, this man was silent...by choice, not by force.
This man was not scared. He was confident because in the background, during His final breath, He could hear a veil being torn in two and a mighty shudder in the Earth. Surrounded by thieves and left devoid of all personal contact on this supposed final day of His life, He knew something that no one else did: this was not the end of the story. There would be another chapter.
It was not. He was there, and then reality set in. In the words of that repentant soldier: "Truly, this was the Son of God." (Mt. 27:54) Today, we celebrate this miraculous occurrence as Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. Yet, in spite of the Blood atoning work done on the Cross for all of mankind, we commercialize this selfless act with chocolate bunnies and painted eggs. In most grade schools, there are Easter egg hunts-not searches for meaning. There are pageants-not prayer. There are rabbits-not repentance.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (Jn. 3:16) This is a magnificent Scripture that most people today equate with a poster board at a football game instead of a Holy reminder that God placed before us - a Savior on a Cross, a Son on a Mission - to save a world that would largely ignore Him and substitute His redemptive work for a cute animal found in most petting zoos.
So the next time the clock strikes 5 p.m. and you rush for the door, remember a serene man with a strident message. This humble man spent plenty of time on the road doing His work. He ate many meals in strange surroundings to carry on yet again to another destination, another strange place away from His own family and home.
The three days that it took our Savior to rise from His tomb, His friends were all forced to wait, pondering. As you wait for quitting time, I charge you to think about this: For every drop of sweat and every ounce of blood, there was a cost for Him.
So, why bring up the restaurant? Friday did come, true. It was not only the end of a week, but also the end of a life and a ministry. Nevertheless, Sunday came, too-and with it, a victorious resurrection. "Thank God It's Friday" -indeed!