Good Friday is observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day Christians commemorate 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 a very important day for all Christians. On Good Friday, Christians remember that Jesus died for everyone. He was crucified by the Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem although he had not done anything wrong. When a person was crucified, they were tied and nailed by the wrists and feet to a large wooden cross or scaffold and left to die. This is why a cross if often used as a symbol of the Christian faith. Good Friday demonstrates a pure sacrifice of love and purpose.
What Happened on Good Friday?
On Good Friday, Christians focus on the day of Jesus Christ's death. The night before he died, Jesus and his disciples took part in the Last Supper and then went to the Garden of Gethsemane. In the garden, Jesus spent his last hours of freedom praying to the Father while his disciples slept nearby: Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.""This cup" or "death by crucifixion" was not only one of the most disgraceful forms of death but also one of the most dreaded and painful methods of execution in the ancient world. But "this cup" represented something even worse than crucifixion. Christ knew in death he would take on the sins of the world—even the most heinous crimes ever committed—to set believers free from sin and death. This was the agony our Lord faced and humbly submitted to for you and me: He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
Is good Friday really “good”? It may seem odd that people celebrate the day Jesus’ was crucified as “good.” Obviously, the suffering Jesus went through on Good Friday was not good. He was whipped, beaten, mocked, and killed in a very violent way. How can that be good? The results of Jesus’ death are very good! This is explained in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Then in 1 Peter 3:18, it is reiterated again: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”
What Do People Do?
Many people in different countries celebrate the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and death on the Friday before Easter Sunday. This is an observance that involves people fasting and praying. Many church services are held in the afternoon, usually around noon or midday to 3 pm, to remember the hours when Jesus hung on the cross. Many churches also observe the day by re-enacting the procession of the cross as in the ritual of the Stations of the Cross, which depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life. Processions are held in many countries such as India, Italy, Malta, the Philippines, and Spain.
How Celebrated Good Friday?
Good Friday celebrations are marked by a sombre, sorrowful tone. People spend the day fasting, meditating and remembering Christ through their prayers. Churches hold services but bells are not rung, and churchgoers and priests wear black clothes. The altar and pulpit of the church are left bare, and candles are not lit on this day.
The significance of this day lies in the Church's commemoration of Christ's arrest, crucifixion, death, and eventual resurrection. This day is symbolic of the win of good over evil because it is believed that Christ died in 33 AD for the sake of humanity; he bore the sacrifice on behalf of the rest of humankind and is considered the bridge between God and mortals. It is written in gospels that Judas, one of the twelve disciples of Christ, betrayed him for thirty silver coins to the Sanhedrin. Accused of blasphemy, Christ was sentenced to death and crucified with two criminals.
Jesus agonized on the cross for six hours. During his last three hours on the cross, from noon to 3 pm, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus spoke from the cross, quoting the messianic Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"With a loud cry, Jesus gave up his spirit. There was an earthquake, tombs broke open, and the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. This tear, according to Christian tradition, signified a removal of restriction of the common Jews from the Temple's "Holiest of Holies", and that God's people now could, themselves, communicate directly with their advocate before God, Jesus the Christ, rather than needing the Temple's High Priest as an intercessor. The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declared, "Truly this was God's Son!"
On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5). Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” 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.