Why do Christians call the Friday that Jesus was crucified “Good Friday?” That’s a question most Christians have asked at some time or another. It certainly was a common question each year in my Children’s Church class. The short answer is that no one is absolutely positive why other than it is what is written on the calendar. Most likely though, there is a really simple explanation that all points back to a quirk of language.
Everyone doesn’t call it Good Friday
Many countries focus instead on a Holy Week leading up to Easter and other countries call Good Friday more somber names such as the German Karfreitag, or Sorrowful Friday.
Good didn’t always mean good
Our modern word good grows out of an Old English word, god (pronounced more like goude). This apparently came from one of two older root words, ghut meaning called or invoked or gheu meaning to offer sacrifice. Note that this is not capitalized and it separate in history from the proper name God as used today. At some point the terms split and became a name and an adjective. One being capitalized and becoming a proper noun, the other meaning relating to God (or holy) and changing spelling several times over the years from god to goode and finally to the more general and less holy term good.
Why is it called Good Friday
So putting it all together, Good Friday is called Good Friday because it was god (goode) Friday, a holy Friday. So when someone asks why it is called Good Friday, you can tell them it is a quirk of language and Good Friday means Holy Friday.
More Good Friday References
What is Good Friday? About.com Christianity
What’s so good about Good Friday? Christianity.com
Why is Good Friday Good? About.com Catholicism
Good, God, Evil, and Devil The Word Detective
Good origins Online Etymology Dictionary