‘Why Christians Celebrate Good Friday’


A renowned scholar, Justin Holcomb once asked: “Why do we call Good Friday good when it is such a dark and bleak event commemorating a day of suffering and death of Jesus?”
For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the whole of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised from death, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive marking point for all creation.
Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and was raised from the death to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the scriptures (1st Corintians 15:3).
On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1st John 1:10) it is followed by Easter the glories celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).
Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death good Friday, instead of ‘bad Friday’ or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach. In Germany for example the day is called ‘harfreitag’ or ‘sorrowful Friday in English, infact the origin of the term good is debated. Some believe it developed from an older name ‘God’s Friday’.
Regardless of the origin, the name good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from further sins.
In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The goodness of deliverance only make sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in scripture. We need the law first to show us low hopeless our condition is, then the gospel of Jesus, grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.
In the same good Friday is good because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out to the nations in that awful day of suffering, sorrow and Jesus blood on the cross.