What is Good Friday?
Good Friday is a memorable and auspicious day for Christians commemorating the sufferings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary (also, known as Golgotha). Usually, it is the Friday proceeding the Easter Sunday.
History about Good Friday and how is it celebrated?
Though the date of Good Friday varies from year to year, it corresponds with Pascha also called Passover, one of the important Jewish festivals. It is also called Black Friday, Holy Friday, Easter Friday, or Great Friday. In 2019, it falls on 19th April.
The beginning of Good Friday dates back to the fourth century. From the beginning, Christian gathered together for a special time of prayer, repentance, mourning, and meditation upon the last seven words spoken by Jesus Christ. Most of the Christians observe a fast on this day.
Why is it called Good Friday?
On the cross, Jesus willingly bore the sins of the entire mankind. Several people prophesied about Jesus’ sufferings. Prophet Isaiah beautifully describes it in Isaiah 53: 3-9.
Although the events that happened and the name it has been given looks contradictory, it’s an appropriate title. Based on the above-mentioned verses, it is affirmed that by giving His life, Jesus gained the power to redeem the lost mankind from the power of sins and its eternal consequences. He died on our behalf so that we might be adopted as God’s children: For it is written in Galatians 4:4-5). It was a day of selfless sacrifice. On the cross of Calvary, God’s mercy and justice kissed each other (Psalm 85:10). By pouring out his entire wrath on Jesus, the Lamb of God, God vindicated the sins of entire mankind. He thereby justifies a sinner, who sincerely turns to him for forgiveness in faith and redeems them from the bondage of Satan and death. For it is written, the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23).
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Events that happened during the Holy Week:
The Holy week starts with Palm Sunday and ends with Resurrection Sunday Day. On Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a colt. People welcome Jesus by spreading their clothes on the way and singing Hosanna. They joyfully waved palm branches for Jesus. Later, Jesus enters the temple. When he saw the way merchants traded in the Temple, he was deeply offended. He turned their tables around and rebuked saying, “My house will be called the house of prayers and you turned into a den of thieves. (Mathew 21:13)”
Betrayal and arrest of Jesus Christ:
Two days later Jesus and his disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane for a time of prayer. At that time, Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, made a deal with the Jewish Religious leaders to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Mathew 26:14-16). By giving a kiss, he gave a confirmation to the Roman soldiers to distinguish Jesus from other disciples, who too were in the garden of Gethsemane. Since His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, a series of events begin from Wednesday, hence it is called Holy Wednesday, which is then followed by Maundy Thursday then comes Good Friday. The succeeding day is Holy Saturday and then the final Resurrection Sunday.
Trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ:
Following his arrest, Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest (Mark 14:53). Immediately the Sanhedrin council was called to interrogate Jesus (John 18:1-24). Though many self-contradictory witnesses were brought against Jesus, he didn’t open his mouth but remained silent. Thus, fulfilling the prophecy of Isiah 53:7. However, when the High priest insisted Jesus Christ to respond under solemn oath saying, “I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us are you the Anointed One, the son of God?” (Mathew 26:63) Jesus responded, “You have said it and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.”
Hearing this, the High priest condemned Jesus for blasphemy and charged him with a death sentence (Mathew 26:57-66). As they didn’t have the authority to execute capital punishment, they took him to Pontius Pilate and Herod for further interrogation (Luke 22:66-71 & Luke 23: 7-15). Finally, after six different trials, Jesus was crowned with thorns, whipped, mocked, beaten, and then was crucified between two criminals. Finally, a Roman soldier pierced his side to confirm his death. Immediately, blood and water oozed out of his body.
After experiencing six hours of excruciating sufferings, Jesus yields His Spirit to God and died. Some of his followers took permission from Pontus Pilate and buried his body in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.
What happened on Easter Sunday?
However, the story of Jesus Christ doesn’t end with his suffering on Good Friday. On Sunday, he defeats death and resurrects back to life.
One of the Gospel writers, Dr. Luke boldly testified about Jesus’ resurrection in his book:
“They found the stone rolled far from the tomb;
but after they entered, they failed to notice the body of the Lord Logos.
He is not here, however he has been raised. keep in mind what he same to you whereas he was still in geographical area, : Luke: 24: 2-3
The sufferings that Jesus went through was very pathetic, however, the end result of his death was GOOD and beneficial for the entire mankind. It was the greatest day in the history of mankind, where sorrow and joy were perfectly blended with each other. His death serves as a bridge between the Righteous God and the fallen mankind. Through his death, God extends His grace to the sinners, who repent for their evil deeds. A famous composer beautifully described it in a song which says:
You came from Heaven to earth- to purpose the means
From the planet to the cross- My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave- From the grave to the sky
Lord, I elevate Your name on high
If you have been personally blessed by the sufferings of Jesus Christ then I lift up my hands and praise God on your behalf. But, if you haven’t, then I pray that right now, God would open your eyes and help you understand the true purpose of his sufferings and turn to him in repentance and receive the gift of salvation.