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Should Good Friday be a paid holiday?

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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A cross is carried on the Brooklyn Bridge during the 19th annual 'Way of the Cross Over the Brooklyn Bridge Ceremony' in New York City April 18, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

Christian teachers in Rhode Island asked off for Good Friday and were denied. Last fall, however, Jewish teachers were permitted to take Rosh Hashanah off. The Christian teachers sued and last Friday, a court ruled in their favor.

I did a quick check of the 15 school districts in and closest to Dallas.  Our city is often called the “buckle of the Bible belt,” but you wouldn’t know it by our Good Friday practices.  Most make today an inclement weather makeup day—they are closed only if earlier weather closures do not require them to use the day.  A minority designate today a holiday.  One treats Good Friday like any other day of the year.

Here’s why it’s not.

Dr. David Platt, renowned for his bestseller Radical, is the new president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  He spoke recently at the National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention.  Consider this assertion: “Homosexual activity is a pervasive topic today.  But we must be careful not to be careful of selective moral outrage in our culture.”

He explained: “If we roll our eyes and shake our heads at court decisions in our country, yet we turn the channel to stare uncritically at adultery in a drama, watch the trivialization of sex in movies, look at seductive images on reality TV shows and the internet or virtual prostitution and advertisements that sell by provoking sexual interests in us, then we’ve missed the whole point.”

He’s right.  Sin is sin.  Your sin may not be mine, just as mine may not be yours.  Paul listed “men who practice homosexuality” in a catalog of immorality.  But he also listed “the sexually immoral,” “idolaters,” “adulterers,” “thieves,” “the greedy,” “drunkards,” “revilers,” and “swindlers” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  Did any of your recent sins make his list?

Here’s my point: Jesus died for you.  Your sins put him on the cross just as much as those of the most notorious criminals in human history. (Tweet this) You need his atoning death as much as the worst sinner you know.  If you were the only person who had ever sinned, Jesus would go through Good Friday, just for you. (Tweet this)

At 3:00 this afternoon, Jesus said “it is finished,” then “he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).  Chuck Swindoll notes that “it is finished” translates the Greek word tetelestai and explains: “It was an accounting term.  Archaeologists have found papyrus tax receipts with ‘Tetelestai’ written across them, meaning ‘paid in full.’  With Jesus’ last breath on the cross, He declared the debt of sin cancelled, completely satisfied.  Nothing else required.  Not good deeds.  Not generous donations.  Not penance or confession or baptism.”

Your culture says you are what we say you are.  Good Friday says you are what God says you are.  This day proves that there is nothing you can do to make God love you any more than he already does, or any less. (Tweet this) How will you respond to such grace today?

Note: I hope you will join us for the annual Easter Eve service at Dallas Baptist University at 6pm on Saturday, April 4. Click here to RSVP. A transcript of my message will be available on our website next week. May you and yours have a blessed Easter weekend.

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