What makes Good Friday good?

April 19, 2019

Have you ever stopped to consider why Good Friday is described as “good” if that’s the day Jesus was crucified?

On the surface, “sorrowful” may appear to be a more appropriate description of the day that the sinless God-man Jesus the Christ was crucified in our place on a cruel wooden cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus’ own disciples were scared, afraid and went into hiding following His crucifixion. To them, the first Good Friday must have seemed anything but good.

But what took place three days later —Resurrection Sunday — turned sorrow into joy and made Good Friday “good.” Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead validated the fact that Jesus was God and His death on Good Friday was an all-sufficient, fully atoning and acceptable sacrifice for our sins.

Another reason Good Friday is “good” is because the veil of the temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). The curtain that had separated common man from the holy of holies, where a Holy God made His presence known, was torn in two signifying that through the sacrificial death of Jesus and His triumphant bodily resurrection, a forgiven person would now be able to come directly into the presence of God without an earthly priest to intercede on their behalf.

So, as we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, let us reflect on the death, burial and triumphant, glorious bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Jesus was the “sin bearer” for us. He gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice so we could be reconciled to our Father. Why? Because He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:10).

Without His sacrificial, vicarious death, there would be no resurrection, but without His resurrection, His death would have had no meaning. That is the glorious news of the gospel and it makes Good Friday a day we can celebrate.

We must spread this great news to everyone who does not understand the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday. Share with them how they can receive eternal life when they repent of their sin, ask Jesus to forgive them, trust in Him as their Savior and follow Him as Lord of their life.

In Philippians 2:8-11, we are reminded of another thing God did which helps us understand why we can call it “Good Friday.” This is one of my most favorite Scripture passages. Every time I read it, I feel more gratitude for Jesus and want to proclaim “Hallelujah, what a Savior.”

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).


by Milton A. Hollifield Jr.  
/  Executive Director-Treasurer  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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