What Is Good Friday and Why Do We Celebrate Easter?
Written by Christi Given | April 11, 2017
As many of you know, today is Good Friday, which is right before the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Why is the day called “Good Friday”? Many sources say it’s because it is the day that death died. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. It’s this simple, which is the message of the Gospel (aka the “Good News”): JESUS DIED FOR YOU. For your sins. The only thing we need to is have faith, call on the name of the Lord Jesus and believe.
Do you believe He is the Son of God, who died and rose again so that you can have new life? (Read John 3 for more about the gift of salvation.) Good Friday is one of the most important days of the year for Christians!
On Billy Graham’s ministry website, someone asked a question on this very topic, and here is the response.
Q: I’ve never understood why people refer to the day that Jesus died as “Good Friday.” It seems to me that Jesus’ death was a great tragedy, because it brought the life of an innocent man to an end. What’s so good about that?
A: You’re right, up to a point; Jesus was innocent of any crime, and from a human standpoint He didn’t deserve to die. You also are right in saying that Jesus’ death was a great tragedy—for it was.
Why do Christians call the day of His death “Good Friday”? They do so because of what He accomplished for us on that day. The key is to understand who Jesus was, and why He came into the world. Jesus wasn’t just another human being; He was also God in human flesh. Jesus Himself declared, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
To read more, click here.
THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF EASTER AND PASSOVER WEEK
The day of remembrance, called “Resurrection Sunday,” is also known in our culture as “Easter.” The word Easter is actually from a pagan name developed from the goddess of spring, sources say. The History Channel has explained the secular tradition of Easter and the symbolism of the bunny represented during the holiday. It is affiliated with new life, springtime and new birth—hence the Easter bunny, which stemmed from German roots and was brought over to the West. Obviously, this is the world’s way of altering the true holiday, but while we celebrate this day with family after church or with food, friends and gatherings, let us remember the TRUE meaning of Easter and reflect on Good Friday the weekend of the Resurrection.
It’s interesting that some people don’t know why they celebrate what they celebrate. It’s insightful to learn about these customs, and also to understand the Biblical meaning of these special holidays, such as Good Friday. Why do we as believers celebrate this special weekend beginning with the Passover celebration and then remembering Christ’s death? Is it important that we know what we believe and why we partake in this? The answer is yes, of course. It’s not only important, but vital in our faith walk to know why we believe what we believe, so we can tell a dying world why we have the hope we profess.
WHAT IS PASSOVER?
Passover is the original feasts of remembrance that the Jews conducted to remember how God delivered them from Egypt to the Promised Land (Leviticus 23:4-8). God instructed the people to remember the deliverance He gave His people when He delivered them out of Egypt. Symbolically, as Christ followers, we see the Old Testament and the New Testament by remembering what Jesus did on the cross and how he similarly delivered us out of the bondage of (sin/slavery/death like Egypt) into new life (deliverance/freedom/hope in the Promised Land).
Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. (Exodus 12:7)
Jesus ate the Passover Meal (the Last Supper) with the disciples before He predicted His death, and was betrayed and arrested in Gethsemane (Mark 14:12-50). Believers tend to celebrate the Lord’s Supper at this time, or regularly with the act of communion, by breaking unleavened bread and drinking wine or grape juice to symbolize the body and the blood of Jesus because He died for us. We want to remember what God did for us with the beautiful, free, perfect gift of salvation, and we do this by communing with the Lord and by dining with Him.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
We also understand as believers that chronologically Good Friday precedes Easter (Resurrection Sunday), as this was the day we remember that Jesus died on the cross. This could quite possibly be one of the most profound days that we should remember as believers. It’s interesting to think of how much as Americans we prepare for and think about Christmas (the coming of the Messiah). The coming of the Messiah was greatly awaited, which is rightfully honored, but we should remember equally the significance of the cross, as it redeems us into relationship and the fellowship with God.
Without the cross, the veil into God’s Holy Temple would not have been torn. We would not be able to have communion with the Lord, and we would not have the hope of the truth in the Word of God (John 3).
There are promises that God speaks about in the Old Testament (hundreds of years before Jesus came predicting his birth), and we are witnesses of His glory. We know that in the New Testament, God kept his promises (and still does), and sent Jesus (which means “salvation”) to save humanity from death. Jesus Christ (born of a virgin, the awaited Messiah) was spoken of by the prophets in the Old Testament hundreds of years before, shed His blood for us on Calvary and He died and rose again on the third day for us. What a beautiful, amazing love story that was given to us by God!
Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS. With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on the left. So the scripture was fulfilled which says, “and He was numbered with the transgressors.” (Mark 15:25-28)
PI Girls, if you didn’t already know the meaning and importance of Good Friday, will you look at this day differently now?