Today is Good Friday and commemorates the day 2,000 years ago Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and died on the cross for the sin of mankind.
Also known as "Holy Friday," Good Friday is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday - the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead.
On this day, many Christian churches hold solemn services, usually in the evening, in which Christ's death is remembered with hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ suffering for our sakes, and observance of the Lord's Supper.
The Death and Crucifixion of Jesus
According to the Gospels, Jesus was tried for treason by Pilate, the Roman governor, and then by Herod, King of Judea, and once again by Pilate. Though declared innocent by authorities, Christ Jesus was brutally flogged before his death and tormented with a crown of thorns. Following his flogging, Jesus was compelled to carry his cross to the place of His execution, at Calvary.
After arrival at Calvary, Jesus was nailed to the cross and crucified between two thieves, a death that was usually reserved for only the most dangerous of criminals.
While nailed to the cross, Jesus said: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34).
In saying these words while enduring persecution at the hands of His enemies, Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy that He would make "intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).
During Christ's last few hours on the cross, darkness fell over the whole land. Before His death, Jesus uttered the words, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).
After his death, the body of Christ was removed from the cross and laid in a donated tomb, buried according to custom.
Why is Good Friday "Good"?
The events that took place on Good Friday were undeniably horrific. Why, then, do we call this day "Good Friday"? For Christians, Good Friday is "good" because through Christ's death, God himself was acting to save the world from sin and death as promised in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Christ's humble death is significant because, without it, there would be no hope of forgiveness or eternal life. Sin, which has affected mankind since the Fall, has separated God from all of the humanity, both now, and for eternity.
But when Christ died on the cross, He became the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins, thus taking upon Himself the judgment that we deserve. As the Bible says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21). In dying, Jesus sealed Satan's fate. It was through Jesus' death that "He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).
Today, those who believe in Christ do not need to fear death, because Jesus has defeated its power over us. Jesus' promise of eternal life for those who follow Him is found in John 11:25: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."
Good Friday Bible Verses
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8,
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." 1 Peter 3:18
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" Romans 5:6-10
"He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24
"He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53: 3-5