The Tradition of Good Friday
The day of Jesus’s crucifixion has been called Good Friday for many years. The origin of the name is unclear. However, the Roman Catholic Church has observed the day on the liturgical calendar since the 4th century. And so, the observance of Good Friday has continued through church history as a church tradition and not as a Biblical doctrine.
The Actual Day was Wednesday
Biblically, the day of Jesus’s crucifixion was Wednesday, not Friday. It was presumed to be Friday because the following day was the sabbath. Luke 23:54 says, “the day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.” But that particular sabbath was not the weekly Saturday sabbath. The sabbath after Jesus’s crucifixion was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, which was “an holy convocation,” Ex 12:16, a sabbath.
If you’ll think, for just one minute, you’ll realize that Jesus could not have been crucified on Friday. If he had been crucified on Friday, he would have only been in the grave two nights and one day. Matt 12:40 says that he was in the heart of the earth for three nights and three days. So, there is no way that he was crucified on Friday. For more information on this topic see The Day of Jesus Crucifixion.
Why This Matters
You might be thinking right now, “What difference does this make?” The answer is three-fold.
- First, correcting this misconception of a Friday crucifixion answers skeptics who point out the obvious contradiction with Matt 12:40.
- Second, proving that Good Friday is a church tradition helps us realize that much of what is observed this time of year is only tradition. Ash Wednesday, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter are all church traditions. There is no Biblical significance to any of these traditions. They get your mind off the main thing, which is the cross of Jesus Christ.
- Third, getting the day of Jesus’s crucifixion right emphasizes that Jesus is, in fact, our Passover Lamb, 2 Cor 5:7. The actual day of his death was passover. Thus, his blood alone atones for our sins, Rom 5:8-11. All other sacrifices and offerings performed by any priest are vain. They “can never take away sins,” Heb 10:11.
What’s “Good” about Good Friday
This time of year is supposed to be Good Friday. Rather than observe the “Friday,” why don’t you observe the “good.” What was good about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
According to Heb 10:10-14, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf took care of our problem with sin “once for all.” With his offering, he “hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, your problem with sacrificing for sin is finished, Jn 19:30. You’ll fight sin down here, but you will never pay for it in eternity. Jesus paid it all.
According to Acts 20:28, the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary was God’s blood. There will be no better blood offered for the payment of your sins than that blood. His blood cleanseth away all sin, 1 Jn 1:7. After you get saved, when you sin, you confess your sins to God and trust him to forgive you, 1 Jn 1:9. He will. Nobody else can absolve your sins but God himself through the blood of his Son, Jesus.
Jesus didn’t remain in the grave after he died. He rose from the dead three nights and three days later. He died to destroy death, Heb 2:14-15, so that you and I wouldn’t have to fear it another day. Through his death, burial and resurrection, he gives us life eternally. Rom 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Jn 5:12 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” If you have him, you have life.
For Good Friday to be Good, Trust Jesus Christ
Rom 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Rom 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Good Friday is nothing but another church tradition for you if all you do is observe it. But if you will forget the day and, instead, trust what Jesus did for you on the day he died, you’ll be saved. And then you’ll understand, for the first time in your life, what’s so good about it. This day will be the best day of your life.