On good Friday, a plank of wood, representing the cross on which Christ was crucified, is displayed in churches for the veneration of believers. One by one, they come and kiss it. This is followed by a service from noon to 3 pm, in which narratives from the four Gospels are read out. Sermons, meditation and prayers form part of the ceremony, in memory of the suffering endured by Jesus Christ for three hours. This is followed by a general communion service at midnight. In some churches, mourners wearing black, move in a procession with an image of Christ, and a ceremonial burial takes place. A day of prayer and penance, the bells of the churches remain silent on Good Friday. The cross of Jesus, also called the cross of sorrow, holds great importance on this day. Read on to explore its symbolism in detail.
Symbolism Of Cross Of Jesus
The Cross and the Father's Will
The preaching and activities of Jesus provoked the admiration of the multitudes, but also the opposition and hatred of the leaders of Israel. This resulted in His death on the Cross on Good Friday. The entire life of Jesus, in all its details, was in fulfillment of a divine plan. His Passion and Crucifixion were no exception. Overcoming His natural repugnance and horror, Jesus went to meet His enemies when it became absolutely clear that surrender to them was the Father's will. Peter's use of the sword to defend Him was against His Father's will, and therefore an obstacle in His path, a devilish action. When Peter expressed his human reaction to Christ's prediction of His Suffering and Death, Jesus called him Satan (Matthew 16:22-23).
The Cross as Liberation
The death of Christ on the Cross was so entirely against human calculations to establish a kingdom, or to initiate a world movement of liberation, that this event alone can be said to be an argument to prove the divinity of Christ. Man-made-gods were always victorious kings or warriors, who carried out their mission by destroying their enemies through the use of force. Jesus stands unique, as the only Son of God who saved humankind by accepting death at the hands of His enemies. Jesus did not come to kill, but to be killed. Through His sacrifice on the Cross, He destroyed the power of the devil, the real enemy of humanity.
Evil Conquered by Goodness
Mary, standing near the Cross, associated herself in the closest possible way with the sacrifice of Jesus. The message of Good Friday is that evil can never be conquered by evil, but only by goodness, violence by non-violence, hatred by love for the enemy. Jesus stood for these ideals and reiterated them, while being crucified. The cross of Jesus is symbolic of the suffering one may have to face when standing for the right principles, but also stresses the fact that this should not deviate from the right path, as good always wins over evil in the end.