Why Do Christians Celebrate Good Friday?

Why Do Christians Celebrate Good Friday?

The reason Christians celebrate Good Friday is due to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed on Friday of Holy Week proceeding Easter Sunday, and might happen at the same time as the Jewish observance of Passover. Good Friday might also be called Holy Friday or Black Friday.

Based on details found in the Bible, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most likely to have happened on a Friday, which would have been the day before the Jewish Sabbath. The estimated year of the Crucifixion is thought to be 33 A.D. by different religious groups.

The Gospel accounts state that the Temple Guards were led by one of Jesus’ disciples, the one called Judas Iscariot. Judas was paid 30 silver pieces for betraying Jesus and informed the guards that whoever he kissed was the one they were to arrest. Following him being taken in, Jesus was brought to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. There he was questioned with very little answering back and was sent bound to the high priest where the Sanhedrin had gathered.

There was conflicting testimony against Jesus by numerous witnesses, to which Jesus said nothing. Eventually the main priest told Jesus to respond under oath but Jesus testified vaguely. The high priest sentenced Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin agreed with a death sentence. Peter, who was in the courtyard, also denied Jesus three times to onlookers while the examinations were proceeding just as Jesus had said he would.

The next morning, the entire gathering had Jesus brought to the governor of Rome, Pontius Pilate, under charges of undermining the nation, being against taxes for Caesar, and making himself a king. Pilate approved the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus conferring to their laws and implement sentencing. However, the Jewish leaders stated they could not carry out a sentence of death.

Pilate questioned Jesus and told the gathering that there was no foundation for the sentencing. When he learned that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate referred the case to the leader of Galilee, King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for Passover. Herod questioned Jesus but got no answers. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate who stated to the assembly that neither Herod nor himself had found any guilt in Jesus.

Pilate determined then to have Jesus whipped and released. Under the direction of the chief priests, the mob asked for Barabbas, who had been put in prison for murder during a rebellion. Pilate then wanted to know what they would have him do with Jesus, and they shouted for Pilate to crucify Jesus. However Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that very day and she forewarned Pilate to have nothing to do with Jesus because he was righteous.Pilate had Jesus flogged and then had him brought to the crowd in order to have him released. The chief priests told Pilate of a new charge, and demanded Jesus be sentenced to death because Jesus was claiming to be the son of God. Such a prospect caused Pilate to be filled with fear, and he brought Jesus back in the palace and wanted to know where he came from.

Pilate went before the crowd one last time and declared Jesus innocent and then washed his own hands in water to show he wanted no part in the condemnation. All the same, Pilate still handed Jesus over to be crucified in order to prevent a riot and in due course keep his job. The sentence that was handed down was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”. Jesus was forced to carry his own cross to the site of his execution but he was helped out by a man named Simon of Cyrene. The  Crucifixion was at a place called “of the skull” or “Golgotha” in Hebrew or in Latin it was known as “Calvary”. There Jesus was crucified along with two actual criminals.

Jesus suffered on the Cross for six hours. During his last three hours, from noon to 3 p.m., darkness came all over the entire land. With a loud cry, Jesus gave up his spirit. When this happened, there was an earthquake, and tombs broke open. A curtain located inside the Temple was ripped from its top to its bottom. The centurion who was on guard at the site of Jesus’ Crucifixion declared, that Jesus was truly God’s Son.

The above is why Christians celebrate Good Friday. This narrative has been written in lay person’s terms so it would be easy to understand for those who might have trouble reading or who may speak English as a second language.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Christianity Today

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