It's one of the most important holy days in the Christian faith, since it not only commemorates Jesus 'dying for our sins' but also sets up the celebration of his resurrection the following Sunday.
It's an interesting time of year for me, because as with much of Christian faith, I appreciate the story of Good Friday, but not the superstition surrounding it.
I'm a Christian in that I believe Jesus Christ was a real (albeit mortal) man whose life was at least reflected in the writings of the New Testament - but I'm no "Christian" because I don't believe he was the son of God, I don't believe he "bore our sins in his body" and I certainly don't believe he was resurrected from the dead.
This is an opinion shared by many - including iconic ginger Thomas Jefferson.
Although many ignorant folk celebrate him as a "good Christian American," the second president of this great nation was nothing of the sort.
Although no atheist (he often referenced a higher power, "nature's God" and providence) Thomas Jefferson was definitely no Christian, either - and argued that while there were worthwhile parts of the Gospels, the majority was "the fabric of very inferior minds" and sifting one from the other was like "picking out diamonds from dunghills."
Conservatives will disagree - and cheerfully pluck out-of-context quotes to illustrate Jefferson's supposed Christian faith - but they're wrong.
If you need proof of that, look no further than one of the many remarkable books Thomas Jefferson wrote - the one commonly referred to as "The Jefferson Bible."
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth was his attempt to rationalize Christian theology with his pragmatic, rational view of the world. To that end, Jefferson carefully consolidated the life of Jesus from the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and removed from them all reference to prophecies, superstition and anything supernatural.
Basically, it portrayed Jesus as a human philosopher who preached brotherly love, peace and tolerance - and as such, his "bible" ends on Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross and his body was gently lifted to the ground by Joseph of Arimathaea.
There was no resurrection. There was no ghostly appearance to the disciples in the upper room. He certainly never encountered Paul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus (and that pretty much confirms what I've always suspected - that Paul was a self-serving parasite whose religious sermons had nothing to do with the teachings or beliefs of Jesus.)
Jesus simply died - murdered cruelly and unfairly for preaching peace and understanding. Which, in many ways, makes his death monumentally more significant. That's why I prefer to think of Good Friday as Jefferson did: The closing chapter of Jesus' life; not the foreshadowing of a comic-book style comeback.
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth ends like this:
Then Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.A poignant end to an important story; and a way to make Christianity relevant even to those of us who don't believe in any of the religious mumbo-jumbo related to it.
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.