Good Friday is historically and traditionally regarded as the day when Jesus Christ was crucified and died for the sins of the world. Christians universally recognize this as one of the holiest days of the year. Many choose to fast or eat only one meal on this Friday in honor of Christ’s great sacrifice on this day. It has been celebrated since near the beginning of the church.
No one is quite certain about the origins of the name “Good.”
It is interesting that the name “Good Friday” is so widely accepted as the proper name for this day. At what point it came to be called this is buried in antiquity. Many theories abound as to why the Friday before Easter picked up this designation. Being a part of Holy Week where several of the days have specific designations, it is not really surprising that the Friday marking the crucifixion of Christ would have its own name. Calling it Good Friday seems to an odd choice of adjective.
Some believe it is a corruption of another more practical description.
Two German words have been offered as possibilities of terms that were modified as time went by to become the word “Good.” Some view the word good as being a derivative of the name of God. The German word for God is Gotte. This certainly could qualify as a candidate because it has a similar sound. However, in languages other than English, this word would lose its meaning. It is unlikely that very many other languages have a word for good that sounds like Gotte. Others have seen this as a derivative of the German word for good, gute.
There is a belief that the word good originated from English.
Some try to argue that it is a simple matter to see how God’s Friday could become Good Friday over a long period of time. This assumes that it was called God’s Friday at some point. There is no evidence to support this assertion that the day was ever actually called God’s Friday. It is believed that it might have had this designation because it was the day that God offered the perfect sacrifice for the redemption of people from their sins.
A strong argument can be given that it received this name because the events made it good for humanity.
While the language approach is fascinating, it is likely that the name Good Friday came because people felt that this was the day when gospel or “Good News” became reality. It is good news that sins can be forgiven and the judgement of sin by God can be set aside for an individual. For Christians, this is the best news possible. While the death of the Savior may not equal the resurrection in power, without individual sins being forgiven, according to the Bible there will be no resurrection that will allow a person to live in Heaven. This makes it good news and Good Friday.