Why do we call Good Friday “good,” when it is such a dark and bleak event commemorating a day of suffering and death for Jesus?
Good Friday, the Friday before Easter (Resurrection Sunday), is a Christian Holy day to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus and His death at Calvary. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday and Black Friday.
For many Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Apostle Paul considered it to be “of first importance “ that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and as raised to life on the third day, in all accordance with what God had promised all alone in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3). It is the belief followers of Christ base their Salvation on.
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 resurrection Sunday (or 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).
What Is The Meaning Of Calling It “Good” Friday?
Still, why call the day of Jesus’s 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 “Sorrowful Friday.” In English in fact, the original 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.
In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another ways of saying that is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus’s grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.
In the same way, Good Friday is “good’ because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of the resurrection (Easter). The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrifice substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both “just and the justifier” of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the death blow In God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage. (and that’s why Satan wants our souls, and he will do any thing in his power to get it).
The cross is where we see the convergence of great suffering and God’s forgiveness. Psalms 85:10 sings of a day when “righteousness and peace” will kiss each other.” The cross of Jesus is where that occurred, where God’s demands, His righteousness, coincided with His mercy, and peace because Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God’s righteousness against sin. “ For the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to His resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.
Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That’s why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.
It is believed that the name Easter was drawn from the pagan god Eostre. Every spring the pagans would celebrate this deity with a festival. Eostre was the pagan goddess of spring and fertility and such did the festival and season follow.