Friday Fives: Five Things You May Not Know About Good Friday

Then Jesus loudly cried out once again and gave up his life. Suddenly, the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split open. The tombs were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died came back to life. They came out of the tombs after he had come back to life, and they went into the holy city where they appeared to many people. An army officer and those watching Jesus with him saw the earthquake and the other things happening. They were terrified and said, “Certainly, this was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:50-54

This week’s Friday Fives looks at five things you might not know about Good Friday.

Good Friday Photo


5. What's the Connection Between Abe Lincoln and Good Friday?

John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln during a showing of the play, Our American Cousin, at Ford’s Theater in Washington DC. The play was showing for Easter weekend and the Friday that Lincoln became the first American president to be assassinated – April 14, 1865 – was Good Friday.


4. Is Good Friday a National Holiday?

No. Good Friday is not a federal holiday in the United States. However, 12 states observe Good Friday – Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii,  Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The day is also a holiday in the territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.


3. What's the First Thing that Happened on Good Friday?

Of course, exact times are not known. However, some scholars speculate that, if Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane late the preceding night (John 13:2, John 13:30, John 18:3), it is likely that it was shortly after midnight on Good Friday morning that Peter betrayed Him. A sad start to a very sad day.


2. Some Denominations Don't Celebrate it, Right?

Some Evangelical Christian denominations actually argue against an observance of Good Friday, because they see it as a particularly Catholic tradition. These groups often observe the Crucifixion on Wednesday (thereby coinciding with the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover Lamb). They also argue that their specific observance allows for Jesus to be in the tomb for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), rather than two nights and a day if he had died on a Friday.


 

 

1. Why "Good" Friday?

Some assume that this is common knowledge, that it is termed “Good” Friday because of the benefit provided for people through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. However, there is no historical certainty on the name. Scholars generally speculate two possible reasons for the name. In the Gallican Church in what would now be France/Germany/Austria, the name Gute Freitag would mean “good” or “holy” Friday. Thus the translation for today’s English. Other scholars speculate that the original name for the day was “God’s Friday,” where the word “good” was used as a substitute. Either way, the history of the term may not be as certain as you think.

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