What is Good Friday / Holy Friday?

Good Friday or "Holy Friday," depending on your traditions, is the Friday right before Easter Sunday. Good Friday is not so much a celebration as it is a remembrance. It's a time for Christians to remember the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross.

The Bible doesn't command us to set aside a certain day to remember Christ's sacrifice. In fact, we are told that we should commemorate His death by observing communion or the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). In the final hours of Jesus' time on earth with His best friends, He instructed them to carry on the eating of bread and drinking of wine "in remembrance" of Him (Luke 22:19). But Good Friday is an additional day observed by the church once a year.

Therefore, it's a personal decision whether or not to do anything specific on Good Friday. Romans 14:5 says, "One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." So if you choose to attend a Good Friday service or not is up to you and your family. Just make sure that you don't make anyone else feel guilty for either doing it or not doing it.

What is a Good Friday service like?

Many churches will hold a Good Friday service in the evening that stands in stark contrast to the joyful light and excitement of an Easter Sunday service. It is usually very subdued and leaves space for quiet, inward contemplation.

Solemn hymns or other songs are performed or sung as a congregation, prayers of thanksgiving are spoken, a message centered on Christ's suffering for us may be given, and an observance of the Lord's Supper are usually all part of such a service.

What's so good about Good Friday?

It might seem weird to call a day "good" when it's the day Jesus was brutally beaten, abused, and put to death on a cross. All the horrible things that were done to Jesus on the day He was crucified were anything but "good" (see Matthew chapters 26-27). Why would we want to remember something so gruesome?

Because what happened as a result of Christ's death turned out to be the greatest gift mankind would ever receive.

Without His crucifixion, there would be no resurrection. Without His sacrifice, there would be no salvation. There is no being raised again into new life without being buried with Him in His death (Romans 6:4). "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).

Whether or not Christians choose to attend a Good Friday service or commemorate Christ's death in another way, the truth of those events should always remain on our hearts. Why? Because it is the only reason we can have hope in eternity. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Still confused about what's so good about Good Friday? Check out this article: What is salvation?

Good Friday Calendar:

  • 2014 — April 18
  • 2015 — April 3
  • 2016 — March 25
  • 2017 — April 14
  • 2018 — March 30
  • 2019 — April 19
  • 2020 — April 10

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Catiana Nak Kheiyn is the webmaster and editor of 412teens.org and regularly teaches local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, three socially awkward cats, and one curly-tailed dog.