Good Friday


Isaiah 52: 13 – 53:12
Hebrews 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9
John 18: 1 – 19: 42


A friend once asked me why Good Friday was called Good Friday. “Surely it should be Bad or Sad Friday,” he said. What was a simple question for him struck me as being deeply profound and one that I struggled to answer at the time. As we approach every Good Friday I always remember this question.

St. Paul understood the struggles about teaching the Crucifixion to those who didn’t understand or believe it: ‘We are preaching a crucified Christ: to the Jews an obstacle they cannot get over, to the gentiles foolishness’ (1 Cor 1:23). In other words the cross goes against everything that seems rational and expected from a human perspective. At times, we can all take this view – that the cross is a rejection rather than a glorious revelation, utter foolishness instead of true wisdom. BUT ‘God’s folly is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength (1 Cor 1:24).

Today, let us journey once again with Jesus: from his arrest to his three mock trials in front of Annas, Caiaphas and Pilate, to his mocking by the guards and bystanders to his final death by crucifixion.

Finally, let us stand in silence at the foot of the Cross with the three Marys as we contemplate Jesus’ suffering and sorrow for the world whilst meditating on the words of Isaiah 53:4-5,

Although it was our afflictions that he bore,
    Our sufferings that he endured,
we thought of him as stricken,
    as struck down by God and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our offenses
    and crushed for our iniquity;
the punishment that made us whole fell upon him,
    and by his bruises we have been healed.

Jesus is the innocent and suffering servant – who took on our / my sins by taking them to the cross, he took on the punishment, that we / I deserve, so that we / I could be made whole again and healed with God. This is why today is called Good Friday.

Victoria Raw is parishioner of Te Whetu O Te Moana, Star of the Sea Marlborough, NZ and is active in lay ministry.