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History of Good Friday

Good Friday is a Christian religious holiday in observance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary, a sacrifice through which Christians believe the sins of mankind were atoned. The story of Good Friday as it is recounted in the gospels contains some of the best-known stories and tropes of the Christian tradition such as Jesus' betrayal by Judas for 30 pieces of silver, or Peter's thrice-spoken denial of belief in the divinity of Jesus to bystanders at Jesus' interrogation.

On Good Friday, traditionally held to occur during the Jewish Passover holiday in 33 AD, Jesus Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem and subsequently presented to a number of witnesses, during which time Jesus remained silent. Later, Jesus speaks only to affirm to the high priest that he is indeed the son of God. Hearing this the priest accuses Jesus of blasphemy; Jesus is given a trial and sentenced to death.

In what we would today call a hearing over jurisdiction, the case of Jesus and which party is right to execute him is disputed and discussed among the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, the Jewish elders and King Herod, the ruler of Jesus' native Galilee. With no statesman willing to order the execution of Jesus–who Herod and Pilate do not believe to be guilty–Jesus is to be released. Local priests, however, stir the assembled crowd to call for the release of the murderer Barabbas and insist that Jesus be executed. After a private meeting in which the governor becomes convinced of Jesus' innocence, Pilate relents and turns Jesus over to the crowd.

At Calvary, a site used for executions, Jesus is crucified beside two criminals. Jesus languishes on the cross for hours and darkness falls over the land. Jesus utters a query to God, asking ߵWhy hast though forsaken me?' and the esteemed theologian G.K. Chesterton reads this as a watershed moment in religion: it is the first and perhaps only time that a god has expressed his own doubts about his divinity. Jesus cries out and finally releases his spirit. At this moment an earthquake shakes the ground, splitting the Temple and the tomb. Jesus is pierced with a spear, wrapped in linen, and placed in a tomb by Joseph. Where he remains before arising again on Easter Sunday.

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Thu, 24 Jun 2010 15:20:51 +0000

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