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Good Friday is on 2 April. What’s it all about?

The Friday of Christ’s crucifixion is the most holy day in Christianity as it fulfils the mission of his life, teachings and what was foretold. This year it is held on 2 April, 2021.

Context in the Gospels

Christ entered Jerusalem on Sunday and on Thursday night held the Last Supper with his disciples. More relevant teaching is given here as well as what Christ wants to happen after his death, which the disciples are unaware of. Early Friday morning he is captured by the Romans and brought before Pontius Pilate who makes a political decision and lets the Rabbis choose Jesus’ fate.

Ecce Home - Antonio Cesari

They select him to be crucified and Jesus is taken away and flogged, stripped and made to carry his cross up the hill for execution. On the hill of Golgotha he is nailed to the cross and endures several hours of agony before his body dies.

Symbolism

Adam, the first man, took the fruit from the tree and condemned man to death.
Christ, the last man, died on the cross of the dead tree and brought man eternal life.

To understand the whole point about Jesus one has to get the logic here. Unfortunately Christianity, as the world’s largest and most inclusive religion, doesn’t make it very easy. This view below is presented on behalf of no specific denomination, and deals with the three key concepts – sin, sacrifice and salvation:

1. Sin
Sin is a mistake at its best and pure evil at its best. Sin is against fundamental rules, but it can also be understood as the accumulation of bad karma. It goes against the nature of God who is a perfect. If you have a mistake in a system, it must be addressed and accounted for and the system (God) needs a way for that. To restore creation to its proper and perfect state there must be some action taken to deal with sin. This leaves two possibilities: Justice or Forgiveness

2. Sacrifice
Forgiveness isn’t just a button to press and suddenly everything is forgotten. To do so would admit that the sin doesn’t really matter and there would be no disincentive to follow Gods laws. This is where sacrifice comes from. Sacrifice is giving up something, paying a price, to make things right. It’s paying reparations for damages (monetary sacrifice) or publicly apologising (sacrificing pride, social status, or “face”).

The Jews did animal sacrifices, as did nearly all religions at the time. They sacrificed a lamb on passover (which coincides with Easter). Sacrifice was to make a meaningful commitment to God, to basically “put your money where your mouth is” because livestock in the desert really was a matter of life and death. Because sin is really a condition of the heart, so genuine sacrifice must also take place in the heart.

3. Salvation
Humans kept on sinning, the animal sacrifice was simply not working. There were literally businesses set up inside the temple at Jerusalem itself to exploit this cycle for personal gain (Matt. 21:12). This practice kept on with the selling of indulgences which Martin Luther rebelled against. People were paying, but they could not afford the bill that they racked up.

So God paid the price directly, sacrificing the most valuable thing he could: his own life. He sent Jesus, himself (his Word, and his connection to humanity) to be born as his Son as a human (Philippians 2:6–7; 1 John 4:9; Romans 8:2–4), while he otherwise remained as the Father.

This salvation is a gift, not earned (since that is impossible, we tried it and failed). It requires nothing but acceptance, which is why we have free will to take it or not.

How to Celebrate Good Friday

Customs vary across denominations, from fasting on this day to observing the hour of 3pm when it is believed Jesus died on the cross. Catholics celebrate a mass on Thursday evening (The Last Supper) and refrain from religious duties until 3pm. Crosses and altars are covered in black in many churches on this day. Hot Cross Buns are a tradition in some countries on this day.

The mood of the day is one of being solemn. One should imagine Christ’s pain as the lowest ebb of human experience: betrayed, hated, denied, tortured and hung up in the agonies of death. From this one needs to think of forgiveness and facing the hardships that Life can throw at us. Many focus on Mary and feel compassion for the pain of a mother watching her only son die terribly, realising that this was ordained from the beginning.

Similar to Hindu traditions of approaching the eternal, there is the logic and knowledge (jnana) and the devotion (bhakti). Good Friday is where the two come together at the highest point. The character of Christ is accepted by quite a few other religions as the emotions of the moment are universal.

How to greet or wish others on Good Friday – messages, Whatsapp Status etc

Christians don’t take offence if you wish them happy Easter – Easter is actually the Sunday of the weekend and the Resurrection. “Happy Good Friday” sounds a bit odd. If you are Christian yourself here are some suggestions you could use:

He bore it all in silence Because He held us dear May He receive our regards May our Prayers he hear…Celebrate Good Friday!

May the blessings Of the Lord Shine upon you On this Holy Day & may he always Keep you in his loving care!

Good Friday marks the slaying of our Jesus, The unblemished lamb, the perfect sacrifice. He took our guilt and blamed upon Himself.

“You are blessed to be given another chance to live. make use of it and be a blessing just like what Jesus Christ is to us.” – wish u and your loved ones a Holy Friday

I wish the Lord will keep you in his loving care now and always.-Happy Good Friday All

“Life is a maybe, Death is for sure. Sin is the cause, Christ is the cure!” – Good Friday blessings!

What happens next after Good Friday?

Christ was taken down from the Cross on Friday evening and into a tomb that a wealthy man provided. This was guarded by Roman soldiers as they still feared an insurrection. Remember, this was the Jewish Passover holiday and the people were riled up. It is written elsewhere in the apostolic writings that Christ preached to the dead and through his actions freed them from eternal death, under the new dispensation by God (therefore, the New Testament).

Jesus spoke often about 3 days and 3 nights, which doesn’t tally with our conception of the Passion as taking place over a weekend. In the same way, the term “good” is an old term meaning “holy”, just as “the passion” means “the suffering”.

Easter Sunday is the rising of christ, and the victory over eternal death – which sees a much happier, joyous celebrations by observing Christians.

Read: What is Palm Sunday all about?
Image by marinas32 from Pixabay

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