Good Friday is the Friday before Easter and also the day on which Christians annually observe the passion, or suffering, and death on the cross of Jesus Christ. Many Christians spend Good Friday in fasting, prayer, repentance, and meditation on the agony and suffering of Christ. Good Friday is celebrated on Friday, April 2, 2021. The most important events in Christianity are the death and later resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God, and whose life and teachings are the foundation of Christianity.
For Christians, Good Friday is a significant day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Good Friday is a day of mourning. During special Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross.
Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? At first glance, it seems a strange name for a day that marked such a terrible event as a crucifixion, but when we look at the origin of the name it becomes clearer. For example, it’s known as Holy Friday in most Latin nations, ‘Great Friday’ by the Slavic peoples, “Friday of Mourning” in Germany and “Long Friday” in Norway. In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.”
According to the Bible, the son of God was flogged, ordered to carry the cross on which he would be crucified and then put to death. It’s difficult to see what is “good” about it.
Some sources suggest that the day is “good” in that it is holy.
According to Fiona MacPherson, senior editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, the adjective traditionally “identifies a day on which religious observance is held”. The OED states that “good” in this context refers to “a day observed as holy by the church”, hence the greeting “good tide” at Christmas.
Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.
“For the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to his resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.
Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was or how an awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross it was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter and the salvation.
It is the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil and God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage.
Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That’s why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.
Many Church services are held in the afternoon, usually between noon to 3pm, to remember the hours when Jesus was crucified on the cross.
Some churches observe the day by acting out, like in a play, the process of the cross in the rituals of stations of the cross, which shows the final hours of Jesus’ life. Other churches may participate in Veneration of the Cross, a short ceremony in which Christians kneel before the cross and affirm their faith.
In Jerusalem, Christians follow in Jesus’ footsteps and walk Via Dolorosa, the traditional path that led to the site of the crucifixion. Many who participate try to ritually bear the same weight Jesus did by carrying crosses on their backs.
Though it’s not a public holiday in the Vatican or Italy, the Pope will say a mass at the Vatican before leading an annual public prayer of the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome. A procession is then made to the Palatine Hill, accompanied by a huge cross covered in burning torches.
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