Calling the day of the Crucifixion of Jesus ‘Good’ Friday is peculiar to the English language. I had my daughter ask me the same question yesterday. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The Kar part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word care in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, it is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned the loss of Jesus whom they loved so much, they did not yet truly understand all He was there for; they thought all was lost. (But hold on Sunday was coming Hallelujah!)
I’ve read that the word good used to have a secondary meaning of holy, but I can’t trace that back. There are a number of cases in set phrases where the words God and good got switched around because of their similarity. One case was the phrase God be with you, which today is just good-bye. So perhaps Good Friday was originally God’s Friday. But I think we call it Good Friday because all that tragedy had to happen in order to bring about the greatest good there could be; once and for all our sins would be forgiven – if we only believe!
If we call it Mourning Friday, as in German, we are facing reality head on. We have heard and been instructed to “take up our cross,” when in fact we are all fully conscious that the Christian walk is seldom a walk in the park. But if we call it Good Friday, as in English, we are confessing the Christian hope that no tragedy—not even death—can overwhelm God’s providence, love, mercy, and grace. The wonderful plan God had for us; to bring His son to this earth as the final sacrificial lamb for our sins is remarkable. Today my prayer is that we all take the time to truly reflect on this wonderful day. My family and I will be spending time this evening watching The Passion of The Christ to remind us of a fraction of what Jesus, out of His love for us, did for you and did for me!