Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Rev Leda Schofield 06/04/2012

Good Friday

Rev Leda Schofield, Associate Pastor, Park Baptist Church
Dove rightSomeone mentioned to me recently that when he was young, he struggled to understand why ‘Good Friday’ was called ‘Good’. Good Friday is the day when we remember that on one Friday almost 2000 years ago, Jesus died a horrific death on a cross. Wouldn't 'Bad Friday' be a more appropriate name than Good Friday?  
We know that the celebration of ‘Good Friday’ is ancient, and it probably started as early as the fourth century. The 'holy day' (from which our word holiday comes) is observed by Christians during Holy Week on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. I had never stopped to think properly about the name this day is given in English, because my mother tongue is Portuguese, and we call the day ‘Sexta-feira da Paixão’ (Friday of the Passion) which clearly expresses the aspect of Christ’s suffering
dove leftMy conversation about Good Friday and its origins led me to do some homework and try to find out why the day is called ‘Good Friday’. In the process, I found out that it is also known as Black Friday, Holy Friday and Great Friday.
The most likely explanations for the origins of the name ‘Good Friday’ are:
-       It may have come from the Gallican Church in Gaul (modern-day France and Germany). The name "Gute Freitag" is Germanic in origin and literally means "good" or "holy" Friday.
-       it possibly came from ‘God's Friday’ and ended up as ‘Good Friday’.
Whether the explanations above are true or not, one thing I would agree:  that Good Friday was good. Here are some of the reasons:
  1. On it God expressed His great love for us, by giving His Son to die for us. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...’
     2.    Through it Jesus showed His total submission to the Father, by willingly choosing the Cross, leaving us the example par excellence of obedience to the Father
     3.    Because of it, we who have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for us can have eternal life
These are, in my view, some of the main reasons why ‘Good Friday’ is good. And although in the Bible we are not commanded to observe ‘Good Friday’, as Christians we are commanded to remember Christ’s death again and again, until he comes back. And ‘Good Friday’ is another opportunity we have as Christians to do just that, to remember Christ’s death for us and to remember the Father’s ultimate sacrifice, giving His only Son to die for us. Furthermore, it is also an opportunity to spread the Good News wherever we are. Yes, whatever the origins for the name ‘Good Friday’, it is indeed ‘Good’