It always perplexed me. Why is it called “good” Friday if it’s when Jesus was crucified? As a child at church asked me last year, ‘Shouldn’t it be called Sad Friday?’
One explanation I’ve heard for the name is that the word “good” comes from God. So it’s really like “God’s Friday.” Of all the explanations, I think this one is pretty weak.
Another explanation is that the word “good” used to be more closely connected to the word “holy.” Goodness in the purest sense meant holiness. Makes sense.
But one more explanation is worth thinking about. I’m not sure if it’s the right one; but in my mind it certainly packs the most punch.
Good Friday is the day Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world, including yours. For millennia, Christians like myself have understood Isaiah 53:5 as a prophecy that explains how it works:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.”
Think about that for a second. Jesus takes upon himself every sin you’ve ever committed. Every ounce of neglect toward a neighbour. Every disrespect toward God. Every morsel of misplaced greed, pride, lust, anger and apathy. When you put your faith in Jesus and what’s he’s done for you, and when you ask God for forgiveness, Jesus takes your sins onto himself and pays the price… so you won’t have to.
With this in mind, it’s called “good” Friday because what Jesus did for you and me is very GOOD news! Without it, and without him, we’d all be sunk.
It makes me think about the woman who was preparing to get baptized and was being quizzed about the faith. She was asked whether Jesus had any sin. Of course, Jesus was sinless so it was a test. But she still answered “Yes!”
“What do you mean?,” the pastor asked.
“He had mine.”
Today, think about that. Think about what Jesus did for you. And say Thank You.
“…by his wounds we are healed.”
By Matthew Ruttan