Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Is Good Friday? Was it Really Friday? Why is it Good?

Do you know what Good Friday is? I didn’t know until I was twenty-seven years old. No kidding. And I certainly never understood the math of Jesus’s crucifixion on a Friday night followed by His resurrection three days later. I’m not the best mathematician (lol – I’m not a fan of math at all), but my calculations tell me that is two days. The author of the following article attempts to clarify this discrepancy.

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Why Good Friday?
I was brought up within the confines of the Catholic Church and, like most supposed Christians, I always observed the most important days of the Christian calendar, those of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. While the events of Easter Sunday have never been in dispute, there is an ever increasing debate raging within Christianity as to whether Good Friday is a valid day of celebration for a Christian. The evidence would suggest otherwise.
Good Friday is traditionally held as the day that a certain carpenter from the tiny northern Judean town of Nazareth was nailed to a tree by the Pax Romanus two thousand years ago on a series of lies and trumped up charges, to fulfil what the scriptures had said about Him. But this man, Yeshua prophesied to His followers that He would be in the "heart of the earth" for "three days and three nights, just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights."
Always supposing that Yeshua had been crucified and buried by 6pm on that Friday afternoon and that He rose sometime Sunday morning, then the total amount of time spent in the tomb would have been no more than 36 hours and not the 72 hours that Yeshua and the scriptures were adamant about. To explore this further, we must first understand that the Jews did not measure time the we way do in the modern world.
The Jewish day began at sunrise and ended at sundown. From sundown to sunrise, was the night period. One day encompassing a 24 hour period. It states in the Gospels that Jesus was crucified on the preparation day" before the Sabbath but this is often taken out of context. Although the Jewish Sabbath did, and indeed still does, fall on a Saturday, the Jews have more than one Sabbath. They also have what they call "High Sabbaths" and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread that Jesus was executed prior to is one such Sabbath. In John 19:31 we see, The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was a High day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
The 1917 edition of the Scofield Reference Bible has a centre column that states that word "Sabbath" in this context, is plural; from the Greek, "sabbata". This is also backed up by Young's Analytical Concordance. So, the day after the crucifixion was not on the eve of the weekly Sabbath but on the eve of a special, High Sabbath. As we shall see, the Sabbath of the Feast of the Passover, was immediately followed by another High Sabbath, that of Unleavened Bread.
Our April coincides with the first Jewish month of the year, that of Nisan or Abib. This is the first month of the Jewish year. On the 14th and 15th April respectively, they celebrate the Feasts of the Passover and Unleavened Bread. The latter feast is a week long celebration. Now, by knowing that Jesus escaped the tomb, sometime in the early hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning, for the two Mary's reached the tomb just before dawn on the day after the Sabbath and found it empty, we can back track, three whole days and nights to the day of His crucifixion.
To the Jews, a day comprised the daylight hours. Everything after that was night. If Jesus rose from the dead, anytime after twilight on Saturday, say from 6pm onwards, then if we backtrack from 6pm we hit 6pm Friday, one whole day and night. From 6pm Friday to 6pm Thursday, is another full day and night, making two. And from 6pm Thursday, to 6pm Wednesday, is another full day and night, making three in all, 72 hours, just as Yeshua and the prophets had predicted. So, Yeshua was crucified at 8am on a Wednesday morning. But the Gospels all agree that this was a preparation day for the High Sabbath. He also shared a Passover meal with His Disciples. But how could they eat a Passover meal before the actual feast day? It makes no sense. Again, we need to address how the First Century AD Jews measured time.
This means then, that the Lord's Last Supper, Passion in the Garden and subsequent arrest and trial, all took part on Tuesday, the day of the Passover. From 6am to 6pm on Tuesday, during the hours of daylight, the Jews would have seen this as preparation. From 6pm Tuesday to 6am Wednesday morning, would have been the actual Passover celebration. This fits in with a night time supper and the fact that God loosed His last and most terrible plague upon Egypt, the Death of the First Born in the hours of darkness. So, from 6am Wednesday morning to 6pm Wednesday evening, the day of his execution, this would have been classed as a preparation day for the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, purchased oils and herbs before the Sabbath with which to anoint the body of Yeshua. Yeshua had been placed in the tomb sometime after 6pm on the Wednesday. The following day, Thursday, was the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread and no Jew would risk breaking the law by either selling or buying on a holy day. So, they must have purchased these things on the Friday which fits in with scripture that says "they [the two Marys] reached the tomb of the Master just before daybreak after the Sabbath." This being the weekly Sabbath of Saturday. And, as we know, the tomb was already empty.
At the end of the day, it matters not, on which day Our Saviour died. Had it been of grave importance, God would have let us know the exact day. The fact that God tells us exactly on which day His tomb lay open and empty, tells us that He puts far more importance and relevance on the fact that He raised His One and Only Son from the dead, as we should, For God is LIFE. Yeshua did ask us to remember His sacrifice however, and to meet in His name when we break bread and drink wine in fellowship, peace and love. So, may the Peace of Christ Yeshua be with you all, now and forever.
God Bless
Randall Stone

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Dear Readers,

Please tell me: what does Good Friday mean to you? What do you think of this article? What questions, if any, does it bring to mind.

Thank you for leaving your thoughts - the comments are always the most interesting part :)


P.S. Former FOC member, Garth Young, will be guest blogging on Sunday.


  1. I never understood good Friday growing up. i do know what it means now but i do not understand the religious rituals that surround good Friday.
    and Easter is a wonderful way to celebrate Jesus Resurrection. how do you keep the Resurrection in mind as you pass your Easter Sunday?

  2. I can't honestly say I've ever actually thought about the significance of Good Friday. We've always put our focus on Easter Sunday instead.

  3. I've always put more emphasis on Christ rising, as Him claiming victory, and then ascending to heaven to intercede for us. In fact, as I'm sitting here next to my kids, I don't think they have a clue about Good Friday - or what it means. They know Christ was crucified, but I don't think we've ever really done anything or even acknowledged Good Friday. Hmmm...maybe I'll revise our lessons for the day!


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