And he, bearing his cross went forth into a place
called the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha:
where they crucified him . . .
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,
that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst . . .
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said,
It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Good Friday is observed with great solemnity in some Christian traditions. While not marked as a holiday as such in the LDS community, Good Friday can be a tender and reflective time for individuals and families to pause and consider how Jesus, as our great high priest, offered himself as a sacrifice for us: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). Understanding how and why he died makes the miracle of his resurrection on Easter morning all the more glorious and joyous.
Customarily the day Jesus died on the cross is called “Good Friday” in English, either because it is a “holy” Friday, or, more likely, because in English “good” is often an archaic expression for “God.” For instance, “goodbye” means “go with God.” Accordingly, the Friday before Easter is “God’s Friday” because this day saw the culmination of God’s efforts to reconcile the world to himself through the death of his Son. The apostle Paul described it this way:
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:8–12).
The gospel narratives all agree that Jesus was first tried before Pilate, the Roman governor. Luke adds that he was also questioned by Herod Antipas, the client ruler of Galilee. During his trial and after his conviction, Jesus was mocked and physically abused before being led to the place of crucifixion, where, after hanging on the cross for three to six hours, he died. He was then hastily buried in a borrowed tomb.
Scriptural Accounts: Matt 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18:28–19:42; see also 3 Nephi 8
Episodes for Personal Study
- Jesus in the Hands of the Romans (Mark 15:1–19; Matt 27:1–30; Luke 23:1–25; John 18:29-19:15)
- Jesus is Crucified (Mark 15:20-28; Matt 27:31-38; Luke 23:26-34, 38; John 19:16-24)
- Jesus’ Final Hours (Mark 15:29-37; Matt 27:39-50; Luke 23:35-46; John 19:25-30)
- Signs and Reactions to Jesus’ Death (Mark 15:38-41; Matt 27:51-56; Luke 23:47-49; John 19:31-37)
- The Burial of Jesus (Mark 15:42-47; Matt 27:57-66; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)
Please see my full blog entry for Good Friday, where each of these episodes is discussed at some length. I am also hoping that some of my discussions there, such as the short essay, “Why the Cross?” might spark some discussion here in BCC. I am also willing to weigh in a bit on side issues such as the location of Golgotha and the tomb, though those really are ancillary to what Jesus did for us.
What I would be interested in reading here is how so many of you came to observe Good Friday. For me it grew incrementally, from a general awareness that my Catholic and Protestant friends kept it to a growing feeling that this is where the sacrifice really culminated. I have many personal observances that I have built up over the years, ranging from reading the scriptural accounts, of course, to fasting during the hours my Lord was on the cross, attending the temple, joining a Good Friday service at a local Episcopal or Catholic church, wearing dark colors, listening to somber music (especially a Bach passion or part II of Handel’s Messiah). I watch “Lamb of God” with my children and we have our family devotional. I have taken the day off for years, and today I even pulled my daughter out of school to take her to St. Mary’s with me and then to the Provo Temple to do baptisms for the dead. It has become for us one of the four most important days of the year.