In the Shadow of Good Friday

Gershon Nimbalker, Common Grace National Director, shares a Good Friday reflection on the forces of sin we continue to see at work in our world today, pointing to the abounding life and hope we have in Jesus, heralded in the good news of Easter Sunday.

Good Friday is a heart-rending vision of humanity at its worse. The execution of a man that is the very best of what we can be.

He showed welcome and compassion to the outsiders, he devoted himself to healing the bodies of the sick, and the hearts of the broken. He offered forgiveness and restoration to the sinful, spoke up for the poor and oppressed and challenged the systems and people that were oppressing them.

He called others to follow his way of love. And he was killed for it.

The darkness of Good Friday, in some ways, feels like it’s never left us.

As I’ve spoken to friends and family in the lead up to Easter, so many of us are feeling heavy with sadness.

We’re traumatised by the news, worried about the climate, despairing about the tragedy unfolding in Gaza, and conflicts across the world, concerned about the rise of tyrannical leaders and still reeling from the referendum loss.

The drivers that saw humanity execute the man that was God incarnate – seem to haunt us still.

Then it was the religious leaders that conspired to kill Jesus to protect their power and status. The disciple that would betray him out of greed. The empire that would knowingly execute an innocent man to maintain control. And the friends that would abandon him out of fear.

Power, greed, control and fear – I feel their tendrils reaching through history into our present, still distorting and damaging our world.

This Holy Week, I’ve found it easy to resonate with the shock and sadness felt by the followers of Jesus as they saw him upon the cross. There’s been plenty to feel sad about, both out in the world and close to home.

Amongst my family and friends, too many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones, battling with ill health, managing our own personal chaos, and trying to wrestle with our own brokenness.

It’s a lot.

It’s also why I’m so grateful for Easter.

In God’s resurrection of Jesus, we witness the most important truth of our world. Darkness will yield to light. That from the tomb of despair, it is life and hope that will emerge victorious. And that there is nothing so broken that it can’t be mended. Even death will lose its sting.

Easter reminds us that the forces of sin that mar our world, do not have the final say. Not over the world and not over my own life. That in the end, Jesus’ way of love will win out.

As followers of Jesus, we are people that live in the hope of Easter. As the world stands in the shadow of Good Friday, we are the pointers to Easter Sunday. In every act of generosity, every gesture of compassion, and every stand for justice, we herald the good news of the way of Jesus, a world transformed by love.


Gershon Nimbalker is the National Director of Common Grace and founder of Sojourners Social Change Consultants. He has more than 15 years of experience working in advocacy, policy, and research, as well as leading and growing grass roots movements to campaign on issues of social justice. Gershon lives on the lands of Awabakal peoples in Newcastle, NSW with his young family.