What Happens on Good Friday?
Good Friday is an important observance for Christians everywhere. It is typically the last Friday before Easter. Friday was traditionally set aside as early as the first century for the purpose of prayer and fasting. In the fourth century, the Church began observing Good Friday as a special day to commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion.
Day of Crucifixion
According to historical records, Jesus was arrested on account of preaching heresy. The Jewish religious leaders of the day were unhappy that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. His message was gathering support from a lot of people. In order for the religious leaders to regain their influence, they decided to indict Jesus on account of false teachings. Accordingly, Jesus was arrested and tried for heresy and found guilty.
Sentenced to Die
Jesus was sentenced to die on the Cross, the worst form of punishment for the day. He was made to carry a very heavy cross to the place of crucifixion, where he was brutally nailed to the cross between two criminals. As he hung on the cross, with nails driven through his hands and feet and a body covered with beatings from the solders' whip, the Bible records how the world became dark from noon to three in the afternoon. Jesus died from a massive loss of blood and a badly injured body. He was buried and according to the gospels, rose from the dead on Easter.
Even though Jesus died at the hands of religious leaders, Christians believe in a higher significance of Jesus' crucifixion. They believe that Jesus was sent on a mission -- a mission to die for mankind. They believe that his blood was shed to wash away their sins, so they can gain entry to Heaven on the account of Jesus' goodness. Sin exacts a price and Jesus paid the price, so forgiveness would be granted to those who believe.
Observing Good Friday
On Good Friday, Christians observe the tradition in a variety of ways. Some countries have designated Good Friday as a holiday and in America and India, stock markets are close for the observance of the solemn occasion. Many churches observe the day with solemn services, reading Bible references on Jesus' death, singing hymns and listening to messages to commemorate his death. In some churches, they may reenact the Passion of Jesus, found in the Gospel of John. In the Catholic Church, the suffering of Jesus is remembered with abstinence from meat consumption.