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Good Friday marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. It is a day to honor the sacrifice Jesus made when He suffered and died. So why do we call it “good?” The name was likely derived from “Holy Friday” or a similar title, and in German, it is called “Sorrowful Friday.” For many, it is a day to mourn the torture Jesus endured to pay for our sins. However, while we should solemnly acknowledge the truth, we have a real reason to find joy. We don’t know when the first official observance of Good Friday took place, but we have documentation of the true story that started it. It’s the story of how Jesus chose to save us while knowing the darkest parts of us. And that is what makes Good Friday great.
Jesus knew He was going to die and did it to give us hope for our future. His sacrifice wasn’t the end of the story; Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, illustrating the power of God’s will. Because Jesus paid the debt of our sins, death is not the end for us either. Not only can we receive eternal life with God, no matter what we’ve done, but our relationship with Him can give us new life in the here and now.The truth is, we can’t free ourselves from sin on our own, and we can’t earn our way to God. The only reason we have hope is because God wants us to have that forgiveness and be reconciled back to right relationship with Him - He wants us to experience freedom, even though we are imperfect. When we accept Jesus into our lives, He doesn’t erase the existence of our sin, but He does erase the penalty of it. We will face struggles and consequences of sin on this Earth, but we can rest in the fact that God will renew us and that one day we will have everlasting peace.
Jesus died a brutal death. He felt the pain as deeply as anyone would. Not only was Jesus physically tortured, but He was betrayed and mocked by the people around Him. Still, as He hung from the cross, Jesus used His last breaths to give hope to others.
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'” - Luke 23:39-43
To follow Jesus is to share the faith of that criminal and the love that Jesus gave Him, even in our trials. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we can see how God overcomes suffering and uses it for good. Jesus experienced temptation, hurt, and joy; He understands how we feel. We can seek solace in Him no matter where we are. God’s promise to us is not only for our future; it is for every moment in our present.
Prayer is the one thing we should all do on Good Friday. We need to connect with God in every part of our lives, and Good Friday is an opportunity to focus on the impact of His gift. You can pray in repentance and gratitude, and ask God to open your heart to His purpose. You can also attend a Good Friday service to engage in fellowship and teaching, or watch the devotional we are releasing on Good Friday. (Sign up to receive that and other daily devotionals here). As you approach Easter, your reflection on Jesus’ profound sacrifice will bring deeper meaning to the power of His resurrection.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.