Let us understand the meaning of Good Friday and Maundy Thursday. Here we present 3 undeniable facts about Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday.
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Meaning of Good Friday (What is Good Friday and Why is it called Good Friday?)
Good Friday, also called “Great and Holy Friday” by Byzantine Christians or “Sorrowful Friday” (Karfreitag) in Germany is the Friday before Easter Sunday that commemorates the painful crucifixion of Jesus. Good Friday is a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting that focuses on the passion and death of Jesus. We should honor the way our Lord died for our sins.
Why is Good Friday referred to as “good” even though it is a dark event that reminds us of Christ’s suffering, His deep anguish of being abandoned by his Father, His appalling crucifixion, and the injustice of his execution? Why the day is termed “Good Friday” though it is so bad and sorrowful?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) “good” in this context refers to a day or season observed as holy by the church. Some linguistics and historians believe it developed from an older name called “God’s Friday.”
Leaving aside these theories, the fact is Good Friday is “good” because it validates the suffering and death of Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). After all, as terrible as that day was, it marked the dramatic climax of God’s plan to save humanity from their sins. Good Friday is “good” because Christ showed His great love for humanity and purchased every blessing from God for every human being.
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was the decisive turning point for all creation (1 Corinthians 15:3). The Day of Good Friday is when we see the convergence of great suffering and God’s forgiveness. The events on Good Friday were the defeat of sin, the annihilation of evil, and the triumph over death.
Good Friday is so dark and so Good as it was when wrath and mercy met at the cross. The wrath of God against sin was poured out on the perfect sacrificial substitute, Jesus Christ. so that forgiveness and salvation would be poured out on humanity. Without Jesus’ suffering, sorrow, and bloodshed on the cross, God will not justify those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
Good Friday is “good” as it happened for us to receive the joy of Easter, which is the glorious celebration of Jesus being raised from the dead, marking his victory over sin and death, and paving the way for the resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).
Meaning of Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)
Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday falls on the fifth day of the Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. It is also known as Great and Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Shere Thursday, spelled Sheer Thursday from the word shere (meaning clean or bright), and Thursday of Mysteries, It memorializes the washing of the feet and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the 12 apostles.
The word Maundy comes from the Anglo-French word mandé. It is derived originally from the Latin word mandatum, which means commandment. It refers to what Jesus said in the upper room during the Last Supper to His disciples. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.
3 Ultimate Facts About Maundy Thursday
1. Do you know how many events took place on the original and momentous Great and Holy Thursday?
You will be surprised to know that a lot happened on this pivotal day in the life of Jesus. Some of the amazing things, which include the events that happened after midnight, the gospels (Matthew 26:17-75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-62, John 13:1-18:27) record for this day are discussed here. Jesus sent two disciples, Peter and John, to make arrangements for them to use the Upper Room of a house to observe the Passover meal.
Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, held the first Eucharist, and instituted the priesthood. Jesus announced that one of His disciples (Judas Iscariot) would betray him. Jesus gave the “new commandment” to love one another just as He loved His disciples.
Jesus foretold that Peter, also known as Simon, would deny Him three times before the rooster crows. Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers. Jesus held all the discourses recorded across five chapters of John (John 13-18). Jesus sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he was betrayed by Judas. Jesus stopped His disciples, resisting His arrest, from continuing a violent resistance. Jesus healed the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant, after Peter cut it off with a sword, Jesus was taken before the high priests, Annas and Caiaphas for trial.
Jesus was denied by Peter and was taken to Pilate, the Roman governor by the Jewish leaders so that His execution might be duly ordered. What an incredible journey that happened in a single day in Jesus’ life.
2. Did Jesus actually sweat drops of blood?
The Gospel of Luke mentions that Jesus sweat blood when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 44), and Luke, a physician, recorded that. Jesus was in so much agony that He experienced hematohidrosis or Hematidrosis, a rare and real medical condition that happens due to extreme physical or emotional stress.
This condition causes a person’s sweat to contain blood. There are capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands that constrict under the pressure of enormous stress conditions. The blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture and go into the sweat glands, causing them to exude blood. This means that the blood mingles with the sweat and thickens the globules so that they fall to the ground in little clots.
3. Why Did Jesus Wash the Disciples’ Feet?
The primary purpose of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples is to enforce the idea of being humble and serving. Jesus, being the Messiah and the King of Kings had no hesitation in washing the feet of humans. In those days, people wore sandals and open footwear and walked on dirt roads, deserts, and rough terrains. It was the job of slaves to wash the feet of someone who comes home (with filthy feet).
Peter was hesitant to let Jesus wash his feet as He was taken aback by the idea of the Son of God wash his mortal feet. The Lord of Lords washed the feet of the Apostles (John 13) and asked them to love each other and other people as He loved them. The washing of feet represents the service and charity of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve. The gesture of Jesus was the ultimate act of servant leadership and serves as an active and shocking reminder to us to love and to serve.
Let us say the Good Friday Prayer
Decoding the Real Meaning of Good Friday
Do you think that the meaning of Good Friday embodies an act of sacrifice or forgiveness of sins, an act of justice or love, or an act of everlasting triumph, or eternal suffering? Here we will try to understand the real meaning of Good Friday.
The meaning of Good Friday is not as straightforward as we think.
The meaning of Good Friday is to remember God’s love for humanity, and in return, renewing our faith in God and gratitude for God’s emptying of himself, in love—for all of us, even though we are undeserving.
The meaning of Good Friday is evident in that the demands and righteousness of God coincided with His mercy. The meaning of Good Friday is that Jesus gave his life for us and took the ultimate pain, and we should honor that and mourn for our transgressions. The meaning of Good Friday is exemplified in the sacrifice of Jesus, which brings us forgiveness, relief, mercy, salvation, and peace as He took our divine punishment.
The meaning of Good Friday will become apparent only if we have a deep sorrow of conviction over sin and genuine repentance for our actions. The meaning of Good Friday lies in forgiving others and praying for those who hate us.
The meaning of Good Friday is key to understanding the concept of redemption as Christ died for our sins as per God’s eternal will and was raised on the third day to give us eternal life. The meaning of Good Friday is clear as it demonstrates God’s eternally good plan to redeem the world from bondage and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.
We hope that we were able to understand the meaning of Good Friday and Maundy Thursday and where did the names come from?
Our articles on Lent will help you understand the need for God’s presence in your lives and use this season as a time of repenting, sobriety, refocusing, and renewing. Practice prayer, observe fasting, give up something, and assist those in need.