Good Friday- What is so Good about it?

By Karla Schettenhelm, Children's Ministry
Why do we call Good Friday good? This is the day that Jesus dies. This is the darkest day in our church year. An innocent man was put on trial, tortured, and murdered. That does not sound good.

Use this lesson to help you dig deeper into the reasons Good Friday is good. Jesus love is so great that He took on Himself the punishment none of us could bear simply out of His great love for His creation, for me, for you!

The Story

The happenings of Good Friday are found in Matthew 27:11-61, Mark 15, Luke 22:66-23:53, and John 18:28-42. The Gospel writers record different details in their accounts. Reading all of the accounts helps put together the whole story that God revealed to us.

The account below is taken from the Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum unit 3, Lesson 5 which is based on Matthew 27:11-66.

Jesus continued to heal and to teach about God’s kingdom. The Pharisees and others grew so angry that they decided Jesus must die. They arrested Him and took Him to the Romans because they could not put anyone to death. Only the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, could do that.

Early Friday morning, they brought Jesus before Pilate. After talking with Jesus, Pilate told the Jews, “I find no guilt in Him.” He knew Jesus had done nothing wrong, but Pilate thought if he had Jesus whipped, that would satisfy the leaders who hated Jesus so much.

So the Roman soldiers took Jesus and whipped Him badly. But when the Jewish leaders saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

Finally, Pilate gave up. He ordered his soldiers to take Jesus outside the city and crucify Him.

The Roman soldiers made Jesus carry His cross through Jerusalem to a hill called Golgotha outside the city. There they nailed His hands and feet to the cross and raised Him up between two criminals.

They put a sign over His head that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

At noon, the sun stopped shining, and it grew very dark. Jesus was being punished in our place for our sins. God the Father left Jesus all alone to suffer the punishment for all our sins.
This went on for three long hours until Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Jesus shouted in a loud voice, “It is finished.” He had finished everything God the Father had sent Him to do. Every sin had been paid for, and heaven now stood open for everyone who believes in Jesus.

Finally, Jesus prayed, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”  Then He died.

The curtain in the temple that divided the place made for God and the place made for people tore from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split, and even some people came back to life.
A Roman military leader said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
 
Jesus died, was buried, and rose to life again. He promised that whoever believes in Him will live with Him forever because He saved us by dying for our sins and winning the battle over death.

You can watch a video from the Bible Project that tells the story and digs a little deeper into the account from Luke 19-23. This video walks through Palm Sunday to Good Friday. 

Activities

  • Use a blank sheet of paper. Divide the paper into a few sections. In each section, draw elements of this account (Jesus before Pilate, carrying the cross, dying on the cross, etc.)
  • Sing, listen to, or read “Go to Dark Gethsemane or here.” Pause after every stanza, and summarize what part of the account the stanza describes. (Focus on stanzas 2 and 3 for the content addressed in this lesson.) Use “Were You There” for younger students.
  • Go on a prayer walk. Take your family on a walk through your house or your yard, or both, pausing on occasion to read the following Bible verses.  

More Connections

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, God promised a Savior. Jesus is the promised Savior.
Look at Isaiah 53:4-6 and Psalm 22:16-18

We don’t like to think about our sins, but everyone is sinful. Jesus took all our sins on the cross.
Write some of your sins on a piece of paper. (Help younger children). After you have written some, erase them, x them out, or crumple up the paper and throw it away. Jesus erased our sins/crossed them out/threw them away by dying on the cross.

It’s sometimes easy to be angry with the people who put Jesus on the cross. But our sins are why Jesus went to the cross too. Jesus willingly went to the cross because He loves us.
Think about how you feel about the people who were there and demanded that Jesus be crucified.

Now, put yourself in their places. Your sins demanded that Jesus go to the cross. This makes us uncomfortable to say the least. However, Jesus wanted to die for you because He loves you so much.

There are great paradoxes in the death of Jesus. The devotion for Wednesday in the Shelter in Place Holy Week Resource speaks specifically to the paradox of Jesus’ death, the sorrow and the love. Print out the coloring sheet and do it together as a family while you read the devotion and listen to songs.
For younger children, talk about happy and sad. Make happy and sad faces and have children hold up or point to the face that shows the feeling for what you are talking about. You can talk about happy and sad things in life to give them the idea.

This lesson makes us both happy and sad. We are sad because of our sins. And we are sad that Jesus died on the cross. But we are happy that Jesus paid for our sins. We are happy that Jesus loves us so much!  Jesus rose, and we are very happy about that!
     
Jesus demonstrates perfect love: He gave His own life for us sinners. As forgiven followers of Jesus, we can use our lives in love to others as well. Write letters, draw pictures, make phone calls to those who might be lonely right now – grandparents, friends, neighbors - showing your love and the love of Jesus!

2nd Article of the Apostle's Creed

Read and confess what you believe in the 2nd article of the Apostle’s creed (the article that speaks of Jesus)  

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean? I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.

Crafts

Good Friday is the perfect time to make crosses. Cut a cross shape out of paper or cardboard. Paint it or color it, or use glue or tape, and cover the cross with just about anything – scraps of paper, tissue paper, pasta, rice, flowers, buttons, etc.
There are several examples of fun cross crafts here.

Music

For young children

For older children and adults

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank You for loving us. Thank You for dying on the cross for our sins. We don’t have to be afraid of death because You give us life forever with You. In Your name we pray, Jesus. Amen

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