Why is Good Friday so good?
Our Good Friday service will take place online this year and correspond with today's daily devotional. Families and individuals are encouraged to watch the short message below from Pastor Sam, where he will lead you through a time of reflection with the Lord's Supper. You will need some sort of bread and juice to take part in the Lord's supper with him.
Following the video, read through the devotion below and there are also several activities below you or your family can participate in.
Good Friday Devotion
Read Mark 15:1-41
IT IS FINISHED
What is so good about Good Friday? Good Friday is the day we celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus. Friday is a somber day. Jesus was sentenced and beaten, and the day ends with his death on a cross. He cries out in agony. As the sky grows dark and the ground shakes, all hope seems lost. There does not seem to be anything good about this Friday. Even Christ raises his voice in pain and asks the Father why he has been forsaken.
But then Jesus speaks His final words: “It is finished.” His purpose on earth has been accomplished. All is not lost. God, in His infinite wisdom and love, had crafted a plan from the very beginning to redeem the souls of man. He knew we would need a Savior, and He sent His only Son. This cry from the cross marks the ultimate victory over sin and death. Jesus became our perfect substitute. We deserved a sentence of death, but He took our place as the sacrifice. In that moment on the cross, He took on the sins of the whole world - my sins, your sins, and the sins of all.
If you look at this Friday from a human viewpoint, you will see nothing good, but God sees it differently. He sees the whole plan and knows that Friday is not the end. Friday was necessary so that Sunday could come. In the Old Testament, Joseph learned a very similar truth. God often takes what we might consider evil and works it for good. After years of slavery, imprisonment, and pain, God raises Joseph to a leadership position in Egypt. God places him in a strategic role to save thousands of Egyptians from famine and save his own family from starvation as well. When Joseph’s brothers fear for their lives, he reassures them with these words. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
God’s plan is always good. You can find hope in the goodness of God. His character can be nothing except good and loving and kind because God is love. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8). In difficult moments of life, we can cling to the knowledge that God is moving, and He will work out all things for our good. Even if we cannot see the good, we can trust Him completely. We can know that what seems terrible or hurtful or painful or sad will be transformed by God into good. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Good Friday is good because God was working out all things for good. A sacrifice was required for the penalty of our sins.
Jesus paid the price, and the penalty was paid in full. The story did not end on Friday because Jesus did not stay in a tomb. Just as He told his disciples, the tomb was empty three days later, and He was alive. Good Friday is good because, without it, there would be no hope of salvation. Good Friday is good because Jesus is alive!
In a group or as a family, discuss what is so good about Good Friday. What are some ways that we know God loves us? How can we respond to what Jesus did for us on the cross? If you have not already, watch the Good Friday message from Pastor Sam above. As a group, take the Lord’s Supper together at Sam’s prompting. After you finish, take a moment to pray for one another and then spend several minutes in silence reflecting on the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.
Activities for Kids & teens
Sometimes it is hard to tell the story of Good Friday to children. Here are three different ways to share the story of the crucifixion and resurrection with your family. We have labeled each with a suggested age, but pick the idea that will work best for your family as you reflect on Good Friday. You will be able to use these ideas in conjunction with the virtual message from Pastor Sam.
Toddler & Preschool Children
Simple Easter Story Eggs
Collect six plastic Easter eggs. On the outside of each egg, use a permanent marker to write one letter on each egg to spell the word EASTER. Then place the suggested objects below in each egg.
- E - heart sticker or paper heart
- A - band aid
- S - paper cross
- T - small piece of white cloth or Kleenex
- E - stone
- R - empty egg
Use the eggs to tell the Easter story. Allow your child to open each egg as you explain.
- E is for Each of us. God loves everyone so much. He loves you and He loves me.
- A is for A broken world. God sent His Son, Jesus, to the world because He needed to fix what we had broken. The band-aid reminds us that Jesus came to make us better.
- S is for our Sins. We make bad choices, so Jesus died on the cross to take away our sin.
- T is for the Tomb where Jesus stayed for three days. The cloth reminds us that they wrapped up his body.
- E is for Empty tomb. The stone reminds us that the soldiers put a big stone in front of the tomb, but the stone was rolled away.
- R is for the Risen Lord. Jesus is alive today! He is no longer in the tomb!
Grade School Activity
Good Friday Scavenger Hunt
Number nine envelopes and then fill each of them with a picture of the item listed below. Before your Good Friday family time, hide the envelopes around your home or yard. To make the activity even more interactive, you can replace the picture with the real items (if you have them available.) Number the envelopes/items as follows:
- Envelope 1 - Coins
- Envelope 2 - Cross
- Envelope 3 - Nail
- Envelope 4 - Crown
- Envelope 5 - Sponge
- Envelope 6 - Ripped fabric
- Envelope 7 - Stone
- Envelope 8 - Cloth
- Envelope 9 - Empty envelope
Ask your kids to search for the nine envelopes you hid, but remind them not to open them right away. Once all the envelopes are found, open them one at a time. As you open each envelope use the picture or item to tell the Easter Story. Use the prompts below to help you as you share with your kids.
The Easter Story:
Envelope 1 | Coins – Judas was Jesus’ disciple, but he chose to betray him for some coins. You could have one of your child’s favorite toys and ask them how many sweets you could give them to swap them for that toy. Remind them, that you love them so much, there is nothing you would swap them for, but Judas chose to ‘swap’ Jesus for money.
Envelope 2 | The Cross – The cross was a punishment for doing something bad. Ask your child to come up with punishments for different things. For example, hitting your brother, telling a lie, and so on. Ask them what punishment you should give someone who did nothing wrong? Remind them Jesus lived a perfect life but was given the worst punishment and sentenced to death.
Envelope 3 | Nail – On Good Friday they nailed Jesus to the cross. The good news is that Jesus is all-powerful, and the nails could not keep Jesus there. Jesus stayed on the cross because He wanted to take the punishment that the world deserved.
Envelope 4 | Crown – Jesus is the King. When the Roman soldiers put a crown on Jesus, they were making fun of Him. Even today people still make fun and say bad things about Jesus because they do not know better. Teach your children that Jesus prayed, “Forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”
Envelope 5 | Sponge – Jesus was fully God but also fully human. Share that He felt hungry, hurt, and thirsty just like us. Explain how He was offered a drink on a sponge as he hung on the cross.
Envelope 6 | Ripped fabric – Remind your children that sin separates us from God. Explain that in the temple in Jesus’ day there was always a curtain that separated God from people. Explain that at the exact time Jesus died, the temple cloth ripped from top to bottom. Share how Jesus became the way for us to come back to God. We are no longer separated from God if we believe in Jesus. We can talk directly to God through prayer.
Envelope 7 | Stone – Jesus was buried in a tomb which was a large cave in the side of a hill. Share how they put a big stone to cover the tomb and guards outside to make sure nobody would steal His body.
Envelope 8 | Cloth – On Friday, they put Jesus in a tomb and wrapped his body in cloths. When the disciples arrived at the tomb on Sunday, the stone was rolled away and there were folded clothes. Jesus was not there. The angels told the women who first arrived at the tomb that Jesus was alive.
Envelope 9 | Empty Envelope – Explain that the grave was empty. Jesus had risen, conquering sin and death. Remind them Jesus made the way for us to have eternal life and fellowship with Him.
Older Children & Teens
It is finished. The darkest day in history occurred on Good Friday. The soldiers took Jesus before Pontius Pilate, who gave the order for him to be crucified. On a hill between two sinners, Jesus died on a cross so we could have eternal life. Good Friday is a good day to help kids discover the reality of laying their sins at the cross and finding the gift of forgiveness and grace. Help your family understand that Jesus took all our sins to the cross and that because of Good Friday, we can be forgiven.
You will need hammers, nails, pens, scrap paper, and a wooden cross (you could also draw a cross on your fence or tie together two branches from a tree if you can’t find a wooden cross).
Place the cross and hammers in a prominent location as you begin your family time together. You may want to play some soft worship music in the background. Read aloud Mark 15: 16-32. Give each person a piece of scrap paper, a pen, and a nail. If possible, dim the room lights. Ask your family to quietly think about the reality of what happened on Good Friday. Then ask each person to write something they need to ask forgiveness for on their piece of paper. After enough time, read aloud Mark 15: 33-41 again. Instruct the family to silently pray and give their sin to Jesus. After praying, allow each person to nail their paper to the wooden cross. After everyone has had a chance to nail their paper to the cross, gather for a time of prayer, thanking Jesus for making the ultimate sacrifice so we can live with him forever.