For Christians, the Friday before Easter Sunday is known as Good Friday.
What is Good Friday and what does it mean to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
What is Good Friday?
Good Friday commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary. It is solemnly observed in many Christian religions through fasting and formal services.
According to biblical accounts, this day marks the sequence of events when Jewish religious leaders, who had previously accused Jesus of declaring himself the Son of God and the King of the Jews, handed him over to the Roman authorities for judgment. Pontius Pilate initially presided over the case, but Jesus was briefly sent to Herod before being returned to Pilate. Ultimately, Pilate sentenced Jesus to the form of execution known as crucifixion.
Why is it called Good Friday?
Although Jesus Christ’s death was cruel and unjust, it was essential. Good Friday is called “good” because through His suffering, Jesus atoned for the sins of all humankind. The events leading to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which celebrates His Resurrection, fulfilled prophecies, made possible God’s plan and will allow all to live again.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday are observed on Easter Sunday during Sabbath day meetings of congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday are central to Latter-day Saint worship and observation.
“After a series of one-sided trials, Jesus Christ was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Roman soldiers mocked and scourged Him and nailed Him to the cross. But instead of condemning them, Jesus Christ begged His Father to ‘forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
“Even in His darkest moment, Jesus spoke of love and redemption. With His dying breath, Jesus addressed His Father. ‘It is finished,’ He said (John 19:30).
“An unlikely testimony came from a Roman centurion and those who were with him: ‘Truly this was the Son of God’ (Matthew 27:54). The realization is just as awe-inspiring today as it was then.”
Learn more about Easter and Good Friday
During April 2023 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson — the Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — underscored Easter Sunday as “the most important religious observance for followers of Jesus Christ” and the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as “the most important and transcendent event ever recorded on earth.”
President Nelson testified: “Because of Jesus Christ, we can repent and be forgiven of our sins. Because of Him, each of us will be resurrected. ...
“I plead with you to come unto Him so that He can heal you! He will heal you from sin as you repent. He will heal you from sadness and fear. He will heal you from the wounds of this world.”
In a video message released on Palm Sunday 2023, President Nelson shared his own story of seeking forgiveness and being forgiven. Forgiving others is not easy, he said, but withholding forgiveness is “poison for us.” He invited all to prayerfully consider if there is someone whom they should forgive.
“I can think of no more fitting way to honor the Lord Jesus Christ this Easter. I promise that as you forgive, the Savior will relieve you of anger, resentment and pain. The Prince of Peace will bring you peace,” President Nelson said.
Amid the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Nelson invited all during April 2020 general conference — including those not of the Latter-day Saint faith — “to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalized. ... Let us unite in pleading for healing throughout the world.”
It was the second worldwide fast President Nelson called for in response to COVID-19.
“Good Friday would be the perfect day to have our Heavenly Father and His Son hear us,” President Nelson said in his general conference talk titled “Opening the Heavens for Help.”
Learn more about Good Friday
Study the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ condemnation and Crucifixion:
Grow your relationship with Jesus Christ during Holy Week with this resource on ComeUntoChrist.org.