“Good Friday” is one of the Holiest days of the year. It is a day to remember all Jesus has sacrificed for us. So where do you begin when preparing for a Good Friday sermon? The main focus should always be the death and crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. It’s a day we reflect on his great suffering before we rejoice on Easter.
There are several ways to approach a Good Friday sermon with topics of Jesus dying, His sacrifice, and His last words on the cross.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Table of contents
- Why we recognize “Good Friday” as Christians
- Good Friday Sermons
- Bible Verses to Reflect Upon
- Watch Here
Why we recognize “Good Friday” as Christians
Although it may be a somber day, the death of Jesus Christ is one of the most important days in history. It is recognized on the Friday before Easter, signifying the day Jesus Christ was crucified and laid to rest. Then 3 days later, Christ rose from the grave and we celebrate his resurrection on Easter. It’s just as important to remember the great and painful sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us as it is to celebrate his resurrection.
“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” – Matthew 12:40
Often on Good Friday, a Holy Communion is taken to honor and signify the last supper that Jesus took with the disciples. The bread we eat represents his body and the grape juice or wine we drink represents the blood of Christ.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” – Matthew 26:26-29
Typically a Catholic observation, although other denominations do participate, Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It’s a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. During Lent, you seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture, by giving alms; and practicing self-control through fasting. Lent is then usually commemorated with communion to celebrate.
Whether or not your church partakes in the practices of Lent, participating in serving communion is a great tradition to observe on Good Friday. This can be done at the end of the service and a final blessing can be given before dismissing your congregation.
Good Friday Sermons
Good Friday sermons should focus on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is one of the most significant days in Christianity and a day we should never forget. Take a look at these sermon ideas to narrow down your ideas and become inspired for a life changing message on Good Friday.
1. The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ
The last seven words that Jesus spoke are incredibly moving and significant. They are words of forgiveness, salvation, relationship, thirst, abandonment, completion and reunion.
– Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Sometimes, in our relationships with others, the only thing more difficult than humbling ourselves to ask forgiveness is to truly grant it. To fully forgive. To not let resentment continue to linger inside of us.
Jesus’s last words remind us that God’s forgiveness knows no boundaries. We need God’s help and grace to be able to forgive in such a way. A number of people jeered at Jesus from the crowd at Golgotha. Jesus asks that God forgive them for not knowing what they were doing.
– Luke 23:43, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
A convicted thief, St. Dismas presumably did not lead the most holy life. Yet as he hung alongside Jesus, his eyes were opened to the presence of God. With his final dying breaths, he proclaimed Jesus as Lord of all creation. Jesus recognizes this act of faith and affirms to St. Dismas that he will join him in heaven.
The promise of God’s kingdom is so great. St. Dismas realized this as he was at the side of Jesus. During Lent, when we find time to be present with Jesus, we’re reminded of the beautiful gift of our salvation and our call to bring God’s kingdom to earth, as it is in heaven.
Jesus’s words remind us that no matter how many times you’ve sinned, or how long it’s been since you prayed, God is always looking to forgive you.
– John 19:26-27, “Women behold your son. Son, behold your mother.”
Some suggest that it was a term of honor and respect. Others believe that by saying “woman” and not “mother,” Jesus shows that Mary is not simply his mother, but who Catholics believe to be the Blessed Mother of us all, given to us as Jesus hung on the cross.
In his most agonizing moments, Jesus gives all of us, as his disciples, the gift of his mother. He entrusts us to each other. We can turn to Mary with confidence, knowing that she loves us as a mother and wants nothing more for us than to remain close to her son.
– John 19:28, “I thirst.”
We can all relate to the feeling of both physical thirst and inner emptiness.
But what else was Jesus thirsting for? In this moment, Jesus was betrayed by humanity and feeling forsaken by his heavenly Father.
He thirsts for us, he wants nothing more than for us to fully understand just how much he loves us and for us to love him in return. When Jesus called out his thirst upon the cross, he was given the sour taste of vinegar. In the same way, we too often respond to Jesus’s thirst not with our love, but with the vinegar of a heart hardened to God. Jesus thirsts not only in a physical sense (he would’ve experienced massive hydration) but also thirsts for his people to come to him.
– Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
When God feels far off and distant, or when we struggle to feel connected to Jesus, these words can help remind us of just how human Jesus was.
In this, his most human and vulnerable moment, Jesus is quoting Psalm 22, which we sing on Good Friday. The Father turns his face away when his sin and wrath are placed upon Jesus. Jesus feels this abandonment.
–John 19:30, “It is finished.”
While he hung on the cross, Jesus, Word made flesh, had accomplished everything he needed to. Jesus gave Himself fully, having taken the full weight of humanity’s sins. He achieved the end.
Jesus has triumphed. His work is complete. These words are his earthly farewell.
– Luke 23:46, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”
Jesus points us to the Father so that we too can throw ourselves into His arms. We can surrender to Him, knowing He loves us and will not lead us astray. When we place ourselves in God’s arms, we’ll share in the joy that Jesus felt upon His reunion with the Father.
2. The Greatest Sacrifice of All Time
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”John 3:16-17
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21
This Bible verse about salvation tells us that Jesus had no sin, and that we can find righteousness through Christ and his sacrifice. The reminder that Jesus died for us — but that he did so without ever sinning despite facing temptations — offers us hope in our own struggles.
Although we sin everyday, there is hope through Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice, Jesus cleansed us and offered freedom and redemption for the future. This hope is woven through Scripture and reveals the work Jesus did on earth for sinners. Jesus sat and ate with them and He loved sinners and forgave them. And He healed them. Most of all, Jesus became their friend and died for their freedom of sin…all while He remained sinless.
Jesus granted freedom through His death on the cross, but not so that we can continue in sin. (Romans 6:1-2) This sacrificial love offered us a chance to choose Christ over our sin and be an example of Him. (John 13:14-15) Jesus also died to restore our relationship with our Father in Heaven. (John 14:6)
What if we were to take His words, “do this in remembrance of Me” as a commandment for every day instead of with our communion every Sunday? Jesus not only calls us to partake in the Holy Communion, but He commands us to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him. (Luke 9:23) As disciples, we should attempt to live every moment to remember and reflect on His sacrifice for each of us, not just Sunday mornings.
4. “Getting Out” by Timothy Keller
Excerpt: “The more you meditate on what Jesus has done, the more you see the flood waters go over his head in your heart and in your minds’ eye; the more you see what he’s done, the more holy you will be. When someone says to me, “Well, I know I shouldn’t be doing that, but I know God forgives me,” I think, You don’t know the first thing about forgiveness! Nobody who understands the grace of God would ever take sin lightly. The more you deal with the free grace of God, the more you work it into your heart, the more you understand that your salvation has nothing to do with how you behave, the more radically that’s going to change your behavior.”
Bible Verses to Reflect Upon
- 1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
- Mark 9:31 – For he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
- Mark 10:34 – And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.
- Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
- Romans 5:6-10 – For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
- Mark 8:31 – And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Check out these amazing Good Friday messages from Pastors Rick Warren and Steven Furtick for even more inspiration!
Good Friday with Rick Warren
“Help Me Fail” with Steven Furtick
Good Friday is a special day, a day to reflect and remember. God’s greatest sacrifice is sending His one and only son so that we might be saved. Treat this day as a Holy Day and lead your congregation closer to Jesus with communion and a touching message. Then we can look forward to Easter and celebrate the day Jesus rose from the grave!