Much ado about Good Friday: Why it’s so important in Christianity

The weekend that ends Christians’ Holy Week is upon us, and it starts with Good Friday.

It’s on this day that, according to the Gospel, Jesus was crucified and died for the sins of man, leading to his eventual resurrection on Easter Sunday. While many faithful Christians might already know, it does seem a bit odd to name the commemoration of the death of your savior “Good” Friday, doesn’t it?

Vicar Eric Heinrich of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Norwich was able to help break down Good Friday. He talked about its significance both historically and religiously, traditions St. Mark and other churches participate in, and that curious naming convention, too.

What’s so good about Good Friday?

Good Friday, simply put, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death on the cross. Why would this be “good?”

Rev. Mary Robinson (right) of St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church in Norwich reads a blessing of the psalms in this file photo, while children and Maybe the Donkey from the Sheffield Way Farm in Exeter, RI, help out.

“Because Jesus is going to the cross to die for our sins,” said Heinrich. “Jesus goes obediently to the cross. He knows the purpose.”

Good Friday is a crucial day of the year as it celebrates the most momentous weekend in Christianity. 

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“His crucifixion leads to Holy Saturday, where He’s dead and in His tomb, and Easter Sunday, where He’s discovered that He has risen and everything He’s been preaching has come to fruition,” said Heinrich.

It’s the turning point of all creation, leading to his victory over sin and death and pointing to future resurrection by those who are faithful. Nowadays, most Christian denominations teach that all who are good will receive this resurrection, even if they aren’t practicing Christians. It’s through Jesus’ efforts that an afterlife is made real, allowing one and all to have their time in heaven.

What’s the history behind Good Friday?

While most history involving Jesus and his life are based off the gospels, his existence is, historically, largely accepted. He was a Galiliean Jew, baptized by John the Baptist, began his own ministry, and eventually came to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

“Jesus challenged the authorities of the Roman Empire,” said Heinrich. “Caesar and other leaders were considered god-like. Jesus was interfering with that, saying he was the savior.”

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