Why is Good Friday called good?
As a child, I remember feeling confused by Good Friday. To me, the idea of Jesus being hurt and killed seemed anything but good. Even now, as a mother to four, I’ve seen the same question in the eyes of my children as we’ve discussed the events leading up to Easter. For many families of small children, we can be tempted to gloss over Passover week’s brutality and celebrate with peeps, pastels and baskets rather than talking about the historical fact and life-transforming truth of these important days.
You might wonder if talking about the Cross will make your children feel sad, overwhelmed or even scared, but as we seek to raise the next generation to be Jesus followers, we must find the words to teach our children the whole story.
Our faith hinges on these incredible true events in history. Here are a few ways to start a conversation about Good Friday and Easter in your home:
Begin with scripture. There is always power in the Word of God. Around the dinner table or in a moment that isn’t rushed, take a few minutes to slowly read Luke 22-23 together and give space for conversation and questions. Don’t worry if you can’t answer every question; this is a moment for the whole family to grow. If the kids have the wiggles and don’t seem like they’re catching it all, don’t fret or get frustrated, your obedience in opening the Word in your home is planting seeds in their hearts, and I promise they are catching more than you think. Invite your kids to tell the story back to you in their own words and see what parts of the story captured their attention. Then, reread the crucifixion account from The Jesus Storybook Bible or another children’s bible that paraphrases scripture in language explicitly geared towards kids.
As a parent, you know your kids the best, so use simple age-appropriate words they can easily understand. While you don’t have to use graphic detail, our kids should understand the weight of what Jesus experienced on the Cross on our behalf. It’s important to connect what Jesus endured to our sin because without understanding sin, we cannot fully grasp the significance of Jesus’ love and sacrifice on the Cross. Remind your kids that Jesus was perfect and never sinned, yet He chose to die a brutal death on the Cross for our sin. As it is so beautifully written in the Jesus StoryBook Bible, God loved us so much he gave his, “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love,” through Jesus.
Spoiler alert! We know how the story ends; that’s why we call Good Friday good. The hard, heavy and beautiful truth is that Jesus died for our sin, but we don’t despair or lose hope because Jesus didn’t stay dead — He rose from the grave and defeated death once and for all. Jesus is alive! Help your kids see the whole story, both the ache of the Cross and the joy of the empty tomb. Jesus’ act of love on the Cross and rising from the dead means that we now can have life forever. This is the gospel, the Good News.
Jesus said, “let the little children come to me”, and He is still calling children to himself. The work and revelation God does in our children’s hearts is not cute; it is holy.
In discipling our children, we must talk about the cross, sin and hope of Jesus often in our home, don’t simply save it for Easter weekend. We are Easter people every day of the year. As a parent, I’ve experienced God use these conversations with my children to impact and sharpen my own faith. The more we talk about the things of God in our home, the more we all will grow in relationship with Him.
The Jesus Story Book Bible – The Jesus Story Book Bible is an incredible resource for families that explains the thread of Jesus through scripture from Genesis to Revelation in a way that kids and parents can both understand and enjoy.
The Bible Project – For older kids, teens (and parents!), the Bible Project offers incredible short and free videos that help visually explain scripture. Your kids will be captivated by the storytelling in these videos that will lead to great conversation. Specifically, I found these two videos to be very helpful for the topics of The Crucifixion, and the idea of Sacrifice and Atonement.