Good Friday and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Jesus on the cross.

Good Friday commemorates Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and is typically celebrated by Christians on the Friday before Easter Sunday

There are many different traditions associated with Good Friday, including special church services, fasting, and abstinence from meat in association with Lent. Most Christians choose to spend time reflecting on Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross in some way. 

Good Friday follows Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) as part of Holy week, culminating on Easter Sunday. It is a significant day in the Christian faith, it is often considered to be one of the most somber days of the year.

Good Friday is also known as:

  • Holy Friday
  • God’s Friday
  • Sorrowful Friday
  • Great Friday
  • Long Friday

It’s hard to keep up!

Holy Week

  • Palm Sunday, commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 
  • Maundy Thursday remembers the Passover feast known as the Last Supper and Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist (also known as the Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper). 
  • Good Friday is on the Friday before Easter and is a day of mourning and reflection on the crucifixion and death of Christ on the cross.
  • Holy Saturday follows Good Friday and is a day of waiting and anticipation, as Christians reflect on the day Jesus’ death and prepare for His resurrection. 
  • Easter Sunday is the joyful celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus’ body three days after his death. This event is the foundation of The New Testament and the Christian faith, and we rejoice and give thanks to God for His great love and mercy.
A list describing Holy Week that reads, from top-to-bottom, "He enters Jerusalem - Palm Sunday." Then "The Last Supper - Maundy Thursday." Then "The Crucifixion - Good Friday." Then "He Lies in the Tomb - Holy Saturday." And finally "He has risen - Easter Sunday."

Jesus Christ’s Passion

Passion Week is another name for the week and commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion; From his grand entry into Jerusalem, to his ultimate sacrifice at the cross, Christ’s resurrection three days later is a Christian tradition to be celebrated until we join Him in heaven.

Why is it Called ‘Good’ Friday

While ‘good’ can be synonymous with Holy, it is also called Good Friday because it led to the resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death. It fulfills the Good News in restoring our relationship with God.

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Mark 1:15, NIV
A wooden statue of Jesus on the cross.

The Crucifixion

The crucifixion and death of Jesus are one of the most important events in Christianity. It is the moment when Jesus died on the cross to save humanity from their sins and is the event celebrated by Christians every year on Good Friday. The crucifixion is also a key moment in the Bible, as it is when Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins and fulfilled his purpose in being “our Passover Lamb.”

The crucifixion took place outside of Jerusalem, on a hill called Golgotha. Jesus was led there by Roman soldiers after he was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Jesus was then crucified and nailed to the cross and left to die between two criminals.

The crucifixion was a brutal and painful death. However, Christians believe that it was also an act of love; by dying on the cross, Jesus showed his great love for humanity. He died so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 2:24-25, ESV

The story of the crucifixion is a powerful reminder of the great sacrifice that Jesus made and representative of God’s love for us. 

Crucifixion as a Form of Punishment in Rome

The crucifixion was an execution that took place in Roman times and was a punishment that was reserved for the worst criminals. 

Those who were crucified were first beaten and then tied or nailed to a cross where they would be left to die. The crucifixion was a slow and painful death, and it was considered to be one of the most humiliating punishments that someone could receive, as the victim would be put on display for all to see. Worst of all, those that were crucified generally didn’t die of blood loss or trauma as most would expect, but instead by asphyxiation; The weight of their body would eventually crush their lungs making it impossible to breathe. 

What is the significance of Good Friday in the Christian Faith

Good Friday is one of the most significant days in the Christian faith. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

On this day, Christians reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made for them and celebrate his victory over death. Good Friday is not only a time of mourning and reflection but also of hope and redemption. Christ’s sacrifice brings about the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16, ESV

Good Friday Celebrations Across the World

Most countries in the world observe Good Friday as a public religious holiday. This means that many people have the day off work and schools are usually closed. Churches hold special services and many people attend. Some Christians may choose to fast or give up certain foods for the day, such as meat, as the holiday falls on a Friday during Lent. In the United States, the Good Friday dates are not considered a national holiday.

We observe Good Friday in some countries with processions that are held where people carry crosses or statues of Jesus through the streets. Catholic churches may clear their altar to be bare and ensure that their church bells are silenced in a show of mourning. 

Many Christians may simply choose to spend the day in prayer and reflection. No matter how it is observed, Good Friday is a day that is deeply significant for Christians all over the world.

Fasting and Abstaining from Meat

Many Christians chose to fast and abstain from meat as it relates to Lent. Lent culminates on Easter and remembers Jesus’ 40 days in the desert to the day of his death. It is common practice for those following the rules of Lent to abstain specifically from meats on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays as a whole throughout the period of remembrance.

When is Good Friday 2024

Good Friday falls on Friday, March 29th, 2024.

Final Thoughts

On this day, Jesus gave HIS life for OUR own sins. He died so that we could have eternal life and we should remember this day as a time to be thankful for what Jesus did for us. This is Good Friday.


For the sake of clarity, Catholicism is the largest denomination of Christianity. While we generally speak of the Christian experience in our articles from a non-denominational perspective, Holy Week is celebrated by both Catholics and Christians, just predominately by Catholics. A non-denominational church may not celebrate Holy Week the same way a Catholic church might, but the themes and purpose of this week are core beliefs of the Christian faith and important to recognize.