Every year Good Friday is observed on the Friday before Easter and this year it falls on April 2. According to the Church’s Lunar calendar, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after Paschal Full Moon which is on April 4th this year. It is on this that the Christians commemorate Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. It is a day of solemnity, grief, penance and fasting for Christians all over the world. The day is also known as Black Friday and Silent Friday  for the same reason. Good Friday aka Holy Friday also marks the end of Lent which is a 40-day fasting period for Christians.

The History Behind It

Good Friday is about the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It was on this day that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was arrested and executed. Good Friday is considered holy because on this day, out of his love for everyone, Jesus Christ gave his life as a sacrifice while suffering for the sins of people. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice had significant immediate and eternal impacts upon all of mankind. It meant people for the first time can be forgiven of their sins without the shedding of animal blood once and for all. It meant that the way to the most Holy, the Holy of Holies was made rent and now open once and for all to go before the throne room of grace to obtain mercy and grace in time of need. It meant people for the first time can be free from fear and the fear of death having been held by it having now been delivered from the hand of their enemies. It meant that a person can now be in right standing with God, making it as if they never sinned because the powerful and miraculous work that was done for each and every person was that God through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ made a way where there seemed to be no way by offering Him up as a Holy sacrifice for the sin of all mankind so that if any person believe and place their entire life on Jesus they will not perish but have everlasting life. They can now become what is called in the Bible a new creation where all old things have passed away all things become new. It means that people can finally be healed from their sicknesses and disease that they have been held by for a day or decades. It meant all of this and more.

It is said that the aforementioned crucifixion took place around AD 30 or AD 33.

Now the question that arises is – if the day has such a sad history, why is it known as Good Friday? According to belief, the term actually came from the words God’s Friday.

Good Friday 2021: Symbol

The crucifix or cross is one of the most important symbols of Good Friday which represents how Jesus died.

Biblical accounts

According to the accounts in the Gospels, the royal soldiers, guided by Jesus’ disciple Judas Iscariot, arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas received money (30 pieces of silver)  for betraying Jesus and told the guards that whomever he kisses is the one they are to arrest. Following his arrest, Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. There he was interrogated with little result and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest where the Sanhedrin had assembled.

Conflicting testimony against Jesus was brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answered nothing. Finally the high priest adjured Jesus 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?” Jesus testified ambiguously, “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.” The high priest condemned Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin concurred with a sentence of death. Peter, waiting in the courtyard, also denied Jesus three times to bystanders while the interrogations were proceeding just as Jesus had foretold.

In the morning, the whole assembly brought Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king. Pilate authorized the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own law and execute sentencing; however, the Jewish leaders replied that they were not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death.

Pilate questioned Jesus and told the assembly that there was no basis for sentencing. Upon learning that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate referred the case to the ruler of Galilee, King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Herod questioned Jesus but received no answer; Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate told the assembly that neither he nor Herod found Jesus to be guilty; Pilate resolved to have Jesus whipped and released.

Under the guidance of the chief priests, the crowd asked for Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. Pilate asked what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demanded, “Crucify him” Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day, and she forewarned Pilate to “have nothing to do with this righteous man”. Pilate had Jesus flogged and then brought him out to the crowd to release him. The chief priests informed Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death “because he claimed to be God’s son.” This possibility filled Pilate with fear, and he brought Jesus back inside the palace and demanded to know from where he came.

Coming before the crowd one last time, Pilate declared Jesus innocent and washed his own hands in water to show he had no part in this condemnation. Nevertheless, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified in order to forestall a riot and ultimately to keep his job. The sentence written was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus carried his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene), called the “place of the Skull”, or “Golgotha” in Hebrew and in Latin “Calvary”. There he was crucified along 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. The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declared, “Truly this was God’s Son!”

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Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Jesus, who had not consented to his condemnation, went to Pilate to request the body of Jesus Another secret follower of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus brought about a hundred-pound weight mixture of spices and helped wrap the body of Jesus. Pilate asked confirmation from the centurion of whether Jesus was dead. A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out and the centurion informed Pilate that Jesus was dead.

Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and placed it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock in a garden near the site of the crucifixion. Nicodemus also brought 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, and placed them in the linen with the body, in keeping with Jewish burial customs They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb.

Then they returned home and rested, because Shabbat had begun at sunset. Matt. 28:1 “After the Shabbat, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb”. i.e. “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,…”. “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said….”. (Matt. 28:6)

 

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