When Is Good Friday in 2024, and What Is its Meaning?

When Is Good Friday in 2024, and What Is its Meaning?

Good Friday 2024 will be Friday, March 29th

This holiday is always the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Though we are called to remember the gospel all year long, every day, there is a particular focus that Good Friday brings to the Easter celebration. Good Friday kicks off the most momentous historical weekend of the year; Good Friday is why we have a resurrection Easter celebration. Since the historical Friday that Jesus died on the cross for our sins as an innocent man, a perfect substitution and payment for the price of sin, Christians have proclaimed His resurrection far and wide.

God made sure that His Word recorded the history and proclaimed truth for millions to read and come to faith in in the years to follow. Good Friday fulfilled all the prophecies of the suffering servant who would be the Messiah, the one true King who would bring lasting peace. We didn’t have to beg Jesus to do this for us. He came as a willing servant and saved us while we were still sinners. He asked for nothing from us except faith, which is also a gift of grace from the Holy Spirit. Even when he was mocked on the cross, Jesus extended forgiveness and grace to the men on either side of Him--one of which would see Him in paradise that very day. Good Friday is good because the glorious victory of the resurrection and eternal life follow the dark day of suffering and death.

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Good Friday Futures Dates:
April 18, 2025
April 3, 2026
March 26, 2027

What Happened on Good Friday?

Good Friday is Day 6 of Holy Week. This is the day Jesus was delivered over to Pilate the governor of Judaea. When Pilate asked Jesus if He was King of the Jews, He responded that Pilate had said so. Still, Pilate believed Jesus had done nothing deserving of death and tried to free Him by asking the people which prisoner they wanted releasing (as was custom)—but the people shouted Barabbas. Even at the urging of his wife not to harm this man because of a dream she had, Pilate continued on in the death proceedings. Jesus was beaten, mocked, and crucified—but there was something different about His death.

Mark 15:37-39 states, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, 'Truly this man was the Son of God!'” -Excerpted from The 8 Days of Easter by Liz Kanoy

Why Is it Called Good Friday?

“Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins. For the Gospel's good news to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. 

The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. ...In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both “just and the justifier” of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the death blow in God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage. ...Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That’s why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.”
-Excerpted from What's so Good about Good Friday? By Justin Holcomb

Good Friday Facts

-The Sanhedrin wanted Jesus dead and had Him arrested for heresy (Matt. 26:59-69).

-Jesus was sentenced to a Roman crucifixion death by Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:24-26).

-The crucifixion death sentence was seen as a barbaric death reserved only for the worst criminals (biblicalarchaeology.org).

-Pilate gave the people an opportunity to set Jesus free, but the crowd stirred up by Jewish leaders according to God’s sovereign plan asked for a hardened violent criminal to be set free instead (Mark 15:6-15).

-Jesus walked humbly to the cross without complaint or defense (Luke 23:28-31).

-Roman soldiers gambled for His clothes as He was nailed to the cross (Matt. 27:35).

-Jesus' mother Mary, two other Mary's including Mary Magdalene, and Jesus' disciple John remained at the cross and witnessed the crucifixion, while others watched from afar (John 19:25-27, Luke 23:48-29).

-The Roman soldiers did not break His legs as was customary to quicken his death; instead, they punctured His side with a spear, but He was already dead (John 19:32-37).

-The earth shook, the sky turned dark, and the curtain in the temple was torn (Matt. 27:45-56).

-Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph Arimathea upon Joseph’s request (John 19:38-42).

-Roman soldiers and a heavy stone stood guard before the tomb (Matt. 27:62-66).

-Women disciples went to the tomb to anoint the body with spices and oils, but they were met by an angel and Mary Magdalene by the resurrected Jesus Himself (Mark 16:10).

-Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday fulfilling what He had promised days earlier (John 20:14-31).

-Afterward the resurrection, Jesus appeared to many witnesses including the apostles, 500 brothers and sisters in Christ, and Paul who later became an apostle. (Luke 24:13-49, 1 Cor. 15:5-8)

Related: 10 Prophecies Fulfilled by Christ

How Is Good Friday Celebrated?

“Observe Jesus’ crucifixion by reading the Biblical account together. Sing old hymns of the Crucifixion and the Cross: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” Most Catholic churches offer Stations of the Cross, fourteen plaques circling the interior walls which depict the final hours of Jesus’ life. You may want to visit and contemplate these, one by one.” -Excerpted from 15 Ways to Observe Holy Week with Your Family by Barbara Curtis

Where Does the Bible Talk about Jesus’ Death?

Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” -Acts 2:22-32

More Bible Verses about Good Friday

A Good Friday Devotional

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10

Of all the powerful verses in the Bible, this one brings me to my knees. How much does God the Father love us? Enough to sacrifice His only Son. I love you, dear friend, but I could never give up my only son, or my only daughter, for your sake. I’m sure you feel the same. Even so, “it pleased the LORD to bruise Him” (Isaiah 53:10a, KJ21). That’s right: God the Father “wanted to crush him and to make him suffer” (CEB). Why? Because the atoning death of His Son would bring salvation to His children. That means salvation to you and to me and to all who know Him as Savior and Lord.

Today’s verse continues, “… and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin …” (Isaiah 53:10b, NIV). Not only was God the Father willing to crush His Son, but the Son was also willing to be crushed. Our staggering debt of sin — past, present and still to come — was paid in full when Jesus put Himself “in sin’s dark place, in the pit of wrongdoing” (VOICE). Separated from His Father, He was forsaken for our sake. And because of His sacrifice on the first Good Friday, grace poured out like living water, bringing the gift of forgiveness to a hurting, dying, sin-filled world. But there’s more, beloved. So much more. Then came Easter morning and the angel’s shout of triumph: “He has risen!” (Luke 24:6b, NIV) Not only did He set us free from the penalty of sin, but He also gave us the assurance of eternal life. In the same way, Christ rose from the dead, so will we. Just imagine it!
-Excerpted and adapted from the Encouragement for Today devotional “Thank God It’s (Good) Friday” by Liz Curtis Higgs

A Good Friday Prayer

Dear God,

We remember today, the pain and suffering of the cross, and all that Jesus was willing to endure, so we could be set free. He paid the price, such a great sacrifice, to offer us the gift of eternal life.

Help us never to take for granted this huge gift of love on our behalf. Help us to be reminded of the cost of it all. Forgive us for being too busy, or distracted by other things, for not fully recognizing what you freely given, what you have done for us.

Thank you, Lord that by your wounds we are healed. Thank you that because of your huge sacrifice we can live free. Thank you that sin and death have been conquered and that your Power is everlasting.

Thank you that we can say with great hope, “It is finished…” For we know what’s still to come. And death has lost its sting. We praise you for you are making all things new. In Jesus' name, Amen. - by Debbie McDaniel, A Prayer for Good Friday

Romans 5:6-10 - "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

Related: What Is Salvation & How Do You Get It?

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Javier Art Photography

This article is part of our larger Holy Week and Easter resource library centered around the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

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