In this fifth installment of our devotional guides, we introduce Good Friday and the corresponding events in the life and ministry of Christ. As we’ve seen in previous posts, the events of Jesus’s final week before his resurrection can be squared with each day of Passion Week in the following way:
Monday: The fig tree incident and Jesus’s cleansing of the temple courts
Tuesday: Conclusion to the fig tree incident, Jesus’s teaching in the temple courts, and the Olivet Discourse
Wednesday: Further teaching in the temple courts, continued scheming to arrest and kill Jesus
Thursday: Preparation for Passover, the Last Supper, the Farewell Discourse, betrayal and arrest at Gethsemane, and Jesus’s initial hearings
Friday: Jesus’s final hearings, sentence, crucifixion, and burial
Saturday: . . .
The events of Good Friday more specifically include:
- the conclusion to Jesus’s trial before the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:1 and parallels [pars.]);
- Jesus’s hearing before Pilate (Mark 15:2–15 pars.);
- the mocking and flogging of Jesus (Mark 15:16–20 par.);
- the crucifixion (Mark 15:21–32 pars.);
- Jesus’s death (Mark 15:33–41 pars.); and
- Jesus’s burial (Mark 15:42–47 pars.).
In light of these agonizing episodes, why is Friday of Holy Week called Good Friday? Some scholars think that “Good Friday” is a linguistic evolution from “God’s Friday,” much as our “goodbye” evolved from “God be with you.” Others think that “Good” is a label original to the medieval church, thereby reflecting the inherent goodness or holiness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. Whatever its origin, church historian Chris Armstrong is certainly right to point out that “the current name of this holy day offers a fitting lesson to those of us who assume (as is easy to do) that ‘good’ must mean ‘happy.’ We find it hard to imagine a day marked by sadness as a good day.” And yet that is exactly what we get on Good Friday: a day of sorrow for Christ and the suffering he endured on our behalf, but also a day that is intrinsically good and holy, as we commemorate the love with which Christ “gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
For today, we recommend reading all 47 verses of Mark 15. If interested, the readings in the Revised Common Lectionary also include Isaiah 52:13—53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9 (or 10:16–25); and John 18:1—19:42. University Assembly, together with its partner church Gloria de Sion, will actually be reading John 18–19—in both English and Spanish—in its Good Friday service later tonight, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. If you’re able, please consider joining us for this reverent and highly meaningful event.
on the cross
your Son embraced death
even as he had embraced life:
faithfully and with good courage.
Grant that we who have been
born out of his wounded side
may hold fast to our faith in him exalted
and may find mercy in all times of need. Amen.
 Chris Armstrong, “The Goodness of Good Friday,” Christianity Today, August 8, 2008, https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2008/august/goodness-of-good-friday.html.