On Good Friday, 30th March, the congregations will be meeting at Western Road Methodist Church at 11.15am. Then they will go to St Mary’s for an ecumenical service at noon. The Wintershall passion play is being shown live at Queens Park Community Church and Emmanuel Church at 3pm on Good Friday.
The Biblical Story of Good Friday
The story of Good Friday is central to the Christian message. Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23 and John 11-19 all describe Good Friday.
Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane because Judas identified Jesus with a kiss. Jesus was sent to the high priest, who asked if he was the son of God.
The Roman governor Pontius Pilate then saw Jesus because the Jewish leaders were not allowed by the Romans to carry out a death sentence. Pilate questioned Jesus and, after several attempts to dodge the decision, left the decision to the crowd. The crowd asked for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified. Even then, Pilate declared Jesus innocent. In conclusion, he washed his own hands to show he has no part in this decision.
Jesus carried his cross to the site of execution, called the “place of the Skull”, or “Golgotha” in Hebrew and in Latin “Calvary”. “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” was written on a sign and attached to Jesus’s cross. He was crucified alongside two criminals.
Jesus took six hours to die, because crucifixion was designed to be slow and painful. During his last three hours on the cross, from noon to 3 pm, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus spoke from the cross, saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out. The centurion informed Pilate that Jesus was dead.
Jesus’ body was taken by Joseph of Arimathea. He wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and placed it in his own new tomb that had been carved into the rock.
The Date of Good Friday and Easter
Many people wonder why Good Friday and Easter dates move. The Jewish Authorities were in a hurry to have Jesus crucified on the Friday, because the next day was the sabbath and the festival of Passover. Passover commemorates the exodus from Egypt when the angel of death “passed over” the Jewish houses, whilst killing the first born of the Egyptians. The angel of death is linked with phases of the moon – so Passover and therefore Good Friday is linked to the phases of the moon.
Other Ways that Good Friday is Celebrated
In Christian countries, food made with dairy products was forbidden in Lent until Palm Sunday. So buns made without dairy products are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lents. There is a theory that the Hot Cross Bun originates from St Albans, where buns made from a similar recipe were distributed the local poor on Good Friday, starting in 1361.
The first definite record of hot cross buns comes from a London street cry: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns”, which appeared in 1733.