“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
This verse from John 3:16 practically sums up what Good Friday means to Christians.
Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar and is the pinnacle of the 'holy week' observed by Christians.
In 2018, Good Friday falls on 30 March and paves the way for the Easter long weekend. Christians of varied denominations from Anglican to Reformed, honour Good Friday with church service and fasting as the day observes mourning over the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Readings from the Book of Psalms and gospels along with praises of the ‘Son of God’ commemorate the tragic event at churches across the globe.
It is this day when the Royal soldiers arrested Jesus on the betrayal of his disciple – Judas. Judas had told the soldiers, who were on the look out for Jesus, to arrest the man whom he’ll kiss.
Jesus was arrested for charges of misleading the people. Although Roman governor Pontius Pilate declared Jesus as innocent, he succumbed to pressure from the high priests and handed Jesus for crucifixion.
Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified with two criminals. Three days later, Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, which is now remembered as Easter Sunday.
Good Friday rituals and traditions
Good Friday rituals and traditions vary across churches around the globe. The ceremony is somber as candles remain unlit in churches and the altars wear a bare look. The purpose behind it is to create an awareness of grief over the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. Some churches also hold special services on Good Friday evening to commemorate the day.
Starting anytime between midnight and 3 am, priests and other clerics begin to recite specific prayers. At the morning ceremony, the priest or church officials recites lessons from the scriptures. Afterward, there is a succession of prayers asking for God's mercy and forgiveness on all mankind. The ceremony concludes around 3 pm with a procession, which is followed by evening prayers.
In many Protestant churches, Good Friday observances begin at noon and last until 3 pm. According to Mark 15:33, this was around the time that Jesus hung on the cross and "darkness came over the whole land". These services in the Protestant churches often highlight the last seven phrases that Jesus spoke while being crucified. Traditional hot cross buns are often served following the the services.
Many Christians see Good Friday as a day of sorrow and joy. The day is a time to grieve over the sin of man and to meditate and rejoice upon God's love in giving His only Son for the redemption of sin.
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Updated Date: Mar 29, 2018 22:33:01 IST