Good Friday is also known as Holy Friday or “Great Friday.” In Germany, this same day is often called Sorrowful Friday. But why is Good Friday called “good”? Sorrowful and good are drastically different names capture not only important aspects of Good Friday’s purpose but also the dual nature of the emotions surrounding this day.
It is good indeed
To some, Good Friday may seem to be an ironic name; what could be “good” about the day humanity murdered the deity that created it? But to Christians, Good Friday serves as a reminder not just of the death of Jesus, but of the hope we now have because of it. We don’t experience this day like the disciples and Jesus’ friends and family did, because we already know how it ends. What starts with death ends with life, salvation, and restoration. The Faithlife Study Bible reminds us, “because of Good Friday, we can thank God for Easter.”
Spoiler alert: evil loses
Sorrowful Friday is right too. On this day, the only perfect human being ever to live was slain for our imperfections. This day was the epitome of sin in the world, and it’s a painful reminder of the evil that still dwells on this earth. It’s still here, waging war against God and his goodness.
We know that evil will lose, yet some days it feels as if evil has already won—as if the one we put our hope in didn’t conquer the way we expected. Some of the things people experience every day can feel like defeat: the loss of a loved one, crippling financial burden, heartbreak, or depression.
“[H]e was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”
As Christians, we can have satisfaction and peace knowing that evil didn’t win. This is not the end. Easter is coming.
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