By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, also known as the day that recognizes Jesus dying on the cross. It is a day of remembrance that Jesus indeed was crucified, beaten, and hung on a cross to die for the sins not only of the people of that age but for all mankind for all time. Many Christians observe this day as a day of fasting, prayer, and remembrance. In Germany, it is referred to as, Karfreitag, or Sorrowful Friday. It is hard to reconcile why such a somber day would be referred to as, good, but the reference comes from England in the 1200s. The purpose of referring to the day Christ died serves as a reminder that God’s great love for man was shown this day, or rather that the good that came from such an event was the salvation of the world.
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What Is Good Friday in the Bible?
In the Bible, Good Friday fulfills the prophecy Christ gave to His disciples on multiple occasions. Just a week prior Jesus had been celebrated in the streets; yet, Jesus knew what was to come. This is why, the night before, Jesus brought His disciples to the Last Supper in Mark 14. Jewish tradition during Passover on the first night was to prepare the sacrificial lamb, and Jesus was preparing to become the sacrifice for all mankind the day following. Following the meal, Jesus enters into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and afterward is arrested. The following day of Good Friday Jesus is taken to be beaten, mocked, and hung on the cross. It is there on Calvary at a place referred to as The Skull that Jesus took His last breath. With the last bit of human life in Him, Jesus cried out, “it is finished” and with that cry, the weight of every sin of mankind was accounted for. (John 19). Good Friday is a day of remembrance not only of the brutal death endured by Christ for us but ultimately for the love that was carried out that fateful day.
How Should We Celebrate Good Friday?
Around the world, Good Friday is celebrated in many different ways to call to light what Jesus did and to worship Him well. The death of Jesus on the Cross preceded the miracle that came from Him keeping His promise to rise again on the Third Day. In leading up to such a day it is only fitting to praise His name during the wait.
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Here Are 7 Good Friday Traditions
1. Flying Kites in Bermuda
In Bermuda, many locals fly kites on Good Friday. At first, it seems strange that such a serious day would be a day of flying kites, but the flying of the kites is to symbolize Jesus’s ascension into Heaven. As Jesus was dying a thief on the cross next to Him asked for Him to remember him after death, and Jesus promised to the thief that he too would be with Him in Paradise that night. (Luke 23:43). Jesus died on Good Friday and would rise on Earth again Easter Sunday, but the flying of kites on Good Friday is to represent the ascension into Heaven.
2. 'Passion of Christ' Play in London
In London, England each year a play depicting the crucifixion is held at Trafalgar Square. It is free and open to the public, but it is to show a reproduction of what occurred rather than just the reading of what occurred. Thanks to modern technology it is even live-streamed for those not living in England to watch to see. The event is canceled this year in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but you can find more information here.
3. Calvary Hill Walk in Jerusalem
In Israel where Jesus lived, many people today walk the same path up to Calvary Hill as Jesus did so many years ago. Every year in Jerusalem, there are many Christians who walk and many who carry crosses up this path. This is done in remembrance of what Jesus did and to give weight to follow in the steps that Christ Himself walked that fateful day. You can watch some of the footage here. And you can also see the full map here with videos at each station or walk some of the Via Dolorosa paths on Google Maps.
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4. Fast and Pray on Good Friday
Many observe Good Friday as a day to fast and pray. The physical act of fasting is to abstain from food or an activity to devote such time in prayer. Many Christians observe Good Friday as a day of fasting and prayer to focus on the suffering and sacrifice of the Lord but also as a day to refocus attention to the Father. Fasting and prayer remove distraction and open an opportunity to hear the heart of the Father. Fasting on Good Friday is a helpful way to unite one’s focus to Christ.
5. "Attend" a Good Friday Service
Attending a church service is common on Good Friday. The Easter season begins with Lent six weeks prior with an Ash Wednesday service in many denominations and leads up to events during Easter week. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, Good Friday the sacrifice and suffering of Christ, and Easter Sunday to celebrate the fulfilled promise of Christ raising just as He promised. Many denominations have services throughout the week, including Good Friday to ponder such a somber day. This year many churches are hosting virtual services for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
6. Sing Hymns to the Lord
The singing of hymns or songs to the Lord is a way to worship Him through song. Some churches make specific observations between 12 noon and 3 pm, or the hours in which Christ was on the cross to worship the Lord in song. You can sing with the people you live with or even get on a video call with your small group or family and sing together.
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7. Read the Gospel Accounts
The reading of the Gospel stories of the crucifixion of Christ often occurs on Good Friday. The retelling of the Word through reading aloud brings forth the significance and emphasis of what Jesus did that day and perhaps will be a blessing to those who listen to ruminate on such events. Good Friday is not just another day, but a day to place attention to the actions of Christ. Read through the Gospel accounts with your friends and family over video chat, as well as on your own. Find that time to spend with Jesus; read His story and pray in gratitude thanking Jesus that through His life, death, and resurrection you now have access to eternal life with Him.
A Prayer for Good Friday
Good Friday was the day in which You took on all of our sins. The cost of that sin is beyond our own comprehension to imagine the pain You endured for us. Not only did You take on our debts, our sins, and what we deserved, but You did this as a man without sin. Lord Jesus, thanking You for such a gift does not even begin to show our gratitude. This Holy day we come before You not to ask for anything, but to sincerely and authentically praise Your Holy Name. We know that Your blood has paid our ransom, and for that, we pour out our praise to You.
In Jesus name, Amen
Life often moves so quickly we can often forget what has been done for us to allow us peace and freedom. Jesus took on a sentence He did not deserve that fateful day, He took on Himself what our sins and failures warranted. This Good Friday, however, you choose to spend it, remember the sacrifice of the Lord. Direct your attention to the severity of what He did in order for you to have the hope of Heaven to come through believing and trusting in Him. Jesus was faithful to keep His promise to us that day, and He is this day as well.
Cally Logan is a writer and teacher from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Regent University. Currently, she is a writer for Dear Sparrows Ministry site, and the Podcast, "Dear Sparrows." In her free time, she enjoys leading a high school girls’ small group, cooking, and spending time in tree houses. Her latest books, Dear Young Sparrow and Unveiled are available everywhere or at https://dearsparrows.com/.
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This article is part of our larger Holy Week and Easter resource library centered around the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!