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Friday, March 29, 2013

Why Do We Call it Good Friday?

Whether you believe the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on Thursday or on Friday really doesn’t matter. We know from Scripture that he was in the tomb three days and nights.

I was surprised to find out how many Scriptures mention Jesus’ being in the grave three days:
  • Matthew 12:40; 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 26:61; 27:40, 63-64
  • Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34; 14:58; 15:29
  • Luke 9:22; 13:22; 18:33; 24:7, 21, 46
  • John 2:1, 19-20
  • Acts 10:40
  • 1 Corinthians 15:4

When I was younger, I thought the name Good Friday was a misnomer. How could something as horrible as Christ’s death on the cross be “good”? As I grew up, I realized His death for me was even more horrible than I had understood as a child. It meant being separated from God the Father for that terrible millisecond when the price of redemption was fully paid. It is finished was Jesus’ cry as He gave up his spirit.

In that moment, more things happened than Jesus’ physical death:
  • The curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom. This is the veil that separated normal priests and all of the common people from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. The high priest was only allowed in there once a year. If he did anything wrong—not following God’s prescribed steps—he faced death. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross opened the way for us to approach a Holy God without needing any other intermediary besides Jesus Himself. (1 Timothy 2:5)
  • Graves were opened, and dead believers in Jesus were resurrected. (Matthew 27:52) (Wouldn’t you have loved to have seen this?)
  • There was darkness at midday—three hours of darkness. (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44)
  • There was an earthquake strong enough to split rocks. (Matthew 27:51) 

I feel it is very important to follow the advice of Philippians 4:8 when approaching Good Friday. We are supposed to think on the good, positive, beautiful things. We are to fill our minds with Christ. Yes, part of that is His crucifixion for our sins. Part of that is His horrible torture, even though He was innocent and perfect.

But, the beautiful part of Good Friday is the atonement being finished.

The way was opened between men and God.

The reason Jesus came to earth and made Himself flesh was for that moment. 

God wanted to make a way for men to go to heaven. That way was the perfect sacrifice of His own Son, the only One Who could have qualified to pay that price.

This is why we call it Good Friday. It’s because Jesus provided salvation for sinful man.

What a blessing that, through faith in Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, we can have eternal life!

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ
unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.
(Romans 3:21-25a).


  1. I remember that same conundrum, almost feeling guilty over being glad for what was a horrible death for Jesus. Chris Anderson's song "My Jesus Fair" captures that perfectly, talking in the chorus about "joyful grief."

    1. Without His death, there is no hope for us. Without His resurrection, the victory wouldn't have been totally won. It is very awesome to think that God made all the provision for sinful man before there was a man. Such grace. I am so thankful.

      Thank you for sharing the phrase from that song. I read it recently and had to think long and hard how grief could be joyful. I admit I will never understand all of it.

      God bless, Barbara!


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