What is the meaning of Good Friday? Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday and is the day that Jesus died on the cross.
What Happened on Good Friday?
Here is what happened in the life of Jesus on Good Friday.
Jesus prayed at the Mount of Olives saying, “Father, if it’s possible, take this cup from me. Not my will but yours be done.” (Matthew 26:39) Instead of keeping watch and praying, the disciples feel asleep.
Judas came with a large crowd of chief priests and elders, and betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Jesus was arrested in the garden by Roman soldiers. A follower of Jesus took his sword and struck a servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Jesus healed his ear, replying, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
Jesus was taken before Caiaphas the high priest and the Counsel. False witnesses accused Jesus of wrongdoing, but Jesus remained silent. (Matthew 26:63) Jesus was accused of blasphemy, slapped, and spit upon.
In the courtyard outside, Peter denied Jesus three times, and then the rooster crowed. (Matthew 26:75) Peter repented.
In the morning, Jesus was delivered to Pilate the governor. (Matthew 27:1)
Judas returned the 30 pieces of silver that he had been given in order to betray Jesus (Matthew 27:3), and then hanged himself in a field. (Matthew 27:5)
Pilate allowed the crowd to choose one prisoner to release, and the crowd chose to release Barabbas, a notorious criminal. The crowd shouted for Jesus to be crucified. (Matthew 27:15-22)
Pilot washed his hands of the matter to claim his innocence of Jesus’ death, then ordered Jesus’ to be scourged and then crucified. (Matthew 27:26)
Jesus was stripped, a robe and crown of thorns placed upon his head. He was spit upon and mocked.
As he was led away to be crucified, a man named Simon was ordered to carry Jesus’ cross. (Matthew 27:27-32)
Jesus was led to Golgotha, where he was crucified. He was crucified with 2 robbers, one on his right and one on his left. The whole world turned dark from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. A signed was placed over his head reading “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
While Jesus was on the cross, he spoke 7 phrases, often called the 7 Words of the Cross.
Seven Words of the Cross
Here is what Jesus said when He was on the cross.
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
Woman, this is your son. This is your mother. (John 19:26-27)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
I thirst. (John 19:28)
It is finished. (John 19:29-30)
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)
At the ninth hour (3:00 in the afternoon), Jesus died. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook.
Jesus body was taken down and he was placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man who was a disciple of Jesus. A large rock was placed at the entrance. Pilate ordered the tomb sealed and soldiers to guard the tomb.
Read about Good Friday in the Bible here: Matthew 26:36-27:66, John 19, Mark 15
How Should You Honor Good Friday?
Good Friday is remembered as a solemn day of pondering and reflection. Many Christians attend worship.
Good Friday is the name the church has given for the day that Jesus died on the cross. The term “Good Friday” is not used in the Bible.
Good Friday Tenebrae Worship Service
One type of Good Friday worship is a Tenebrae Service. Tenebrae is the Latin word for shadows.
A Tenebrae service is meant to capture the emotion of Jesus’ death as worshipers walk through the events of his last hours on earth.
The service is somber, gradually becomes darker, and worshipers leave in silence. Click here for further explanation of a Tenebrae service.
If you have the opportunity to attend a Tenebrae or other Good Friday worship, take this opportunity to experience a powerful service to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for you. This makes your Easter worship all the more meaningful.
Personal devotions and prayers on Good Friday are also meaningful. See below for resources.
Why is Good Friday Called “Good”?
Calling Good Friday a “good” day might seem strange since what happened to Jesus was horrible. He was completely innocent yet died a horrific death.
Good Friday is called “good” because it is a day that changed not just history, but all of eternity. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, you have the free gift of salvation. Jesus ultimate act of grace is truly good.
How do you honor Good Friday? Share about it in the comments below.
Other Posts for Lent and Holy Week
Other Lenten Resources
Good Friday — Arch Children’s Book
Six Hours One Friday — Max Lucado
Carrying the Cross — video devotion by The Skit Guys
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