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Good Friday

Good Friday, in the Christian bible, commemorates the day that Jesus Christ was betrayed, tried and crucified. It is observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

According to passages written in the Holy Bible, specifically in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Good Friday is part of series of events known as the Passion of Christ in which Jesus is crucified. The story is also described in the writings of Tacitus, a Roman writer, and by Josephus, a Jewish historian.

On Good Friday, while praying and fasting in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples and taken before Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council in Jerusalem.

Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy when he was asked if he was the son of God and Jesus answered, "So you say". Blasphemy, under Jewish law at the time, was a crime that was punishable by death. But since Israel was under Roman rule, the Sanhedrin did not have the authority to execute prisoners without the consent of the Roman governor.

So Caiaphas sent Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, to carry out the execution. Caiaphas argued that Jesus was trying to ferment a rebellion against Roman rule and should be put to death.

After questioning Jesus, Pilate could find no reason to put him to death so he sent Jesus to Herod Antipas who was the the ruler of Galilee where Jesus was from. Herod could find no fault in Jesus so he returned him to Pilate.

When Jesus was brought before Pilate again, Pilate offers to punish Jesus and then set him free but the crowd did not want him freed. Then in a last effort to set Jesus free, Pilate gave the people the option of setting Jesus free or freeing Barabbas, a violent criminal. The crowd chose freeing Barabbas and demanded the execution of Jesus. Pilate reluctantly released Barabbas and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

The soldiers assigned to carry out the crucifixion clothed him in a purple robe, forced a rod in his hand, and imbedded a crown of thorns on his head. Then they hit him on the head and mocked him by calling him "the king of the Jews."

Jesus was forced to drag his own cross through the streets and then outside the walls of Jerusalem to the site of his crucifixion at Golgotha, also known as Calvary. There he is nailed to the cross and suffers immensely, but while on the cross, he prays forgiveness for those who did this to him and redeems one of the men who is crucified on a cross next to him.

After Jesus had died, Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate if he could take the body. Joseph and another disciple, Nicodmeus, took Jesus' body down from the cross and carried it to a tomb that was owned by Joseph. Jesus was placed in the tomb and his body was washed and anointed with spices. After carefully preparing his body for burial, a large stone was rolled across the entrance to seal the tomb.

For Christians, Good Friday is an important day, not just because Jesus was crucified, but because he suffered and died on the cross so that all who believe in him will be forgiven their sins and will have everlasting life in heaven.

Although Good Friday is not a federal holiday, many people take the day off to worship, meditate, fast, and partake in ceremonies honoring the Passion of Jesus Christ.

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