I learned and celebrated Good Friday and Easter my whole life, but now I am starting to notice more people fasting meat specifically on Good Friday. I have also met those who don’t fast at all during the Good Friday and Easter season. Many Christians are across the board in this area.
Can Christians eat meat on Good Friday? Good Friday is the day that we, as Christians, recognize the death of Jesus. Through my research I have found that some Christians do not eat meat on Good Friday because that is the religious ways they have been taught. Biblically it is not said to fast meat or anything on Good Friday, many just fast to recognize their sorrow in the death of Jesus.
I’d like to share with you the religious and Biblical tradition as well as whether or not we, as Christians should eat meat or not on Good Friday.
We know the purpose of the Easter season is to celebrate the life and resurrection of Jesus. The day of Good Friday traditionally has been recognized in order to mourn the crucifixion and death. Catholic tradition is similar to Christians in the way that we acknowledge the death and resurrection. The difference that I noticed is that there is a big emphasis on acknowledging the sorrow of the death of Christ.
When this sorrow is acknowledged in a traditional, religious way, many choose to fast, whether that be all food or just meat. Some Catholics even go to the extreme to not eat meat on any Friday. The Catholic Church has even made a law of abstinence within the church that, “ Catholics aged 14 and older refrain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, including on Good Friday.”
This religious law comes from the overall belief in the Catholic church that every Catholic has a requirement to perform some sort of penance, which is defined as “devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin,” by Webster Dictionary.
Throughout the Bible we see the tradition to fast. But, we do not see anywhere the call to fast meat on any day or during any celebration, especially now that we are living under the Spirit. I believe there is a time to fast and pray when we want to see the Lord move in the world.
All throughout scripture we see people fasting and praying, whether that is Moses for forty days and forty nights in Exodus or when Barnabas and Saul were sent out to preach the Gospel in Acts. We can see the importance of fasting in those instances as well as others, but to fast specifically in on Good Friday is not a Biblical call on a Christian’s life.
Why Some Christians Don’t Eat Meat on Good Friday
Like I said previously, Catholics have a requirement by the Catholic Church to perform something to acknowledge their sin and repent for their sins. If you are living under the Catholic Law, I would say then do not eat meat on Good Friday. If you are not living under the Catholic Law but what to respect a family member or friend who is, I don’t see that as a problem.
Personally, I have refrained from eating non-halal meats for a period of my life when I lived among Muslims who I could potentially offend or “put their salvation in danger” because of my “contamination” with unclean meat.
As Christians, though, we know in our hearts that we have been freed from the Law, specifically because of what Jesus did on the cross on Good Friday, so I don’t think it is healthy or helpful to live in fear when you choose not to eat meat on Good Friday.
Why Christians Eat Meat on Good Friday
In my life I have not personally been challenged to not eat meat on Good Friday, but through my research on the reason why behind not eating it, I have come to the conclusion that it is unnecessary.
I noticed a lot of legalism within the Catholic Laws that I don’t see Jesus calling me under. I believe He has given me the freedom to choose when to fast and what to fast. I also know that humility in the Spirit is important in this area, and as Christians we should be sensitive to the Spirit when He is asking us to fast a certain food, or abstain from certain things, like social media, or certain activities that we may allowing to be an idol in our life.
How Good Friday is Related to Lent
Lent is a six-week period that is leading up to Easter Sunday. These six weeks are always spent fasting in order to celebrate the Lent season. Throughout Catholic history there has been a tradition formed by the law I previously talked about which required Catholics to not eat meat on Fridays during Lent.
Here are a few questions that came up for me in my research of the fasting and celebration of Good Friday.
What is the Lent season?
Lent season begins six-weeks before Easter which begins with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the mourning or sorrowful season that many Catholics and some Christians honor annually. This six-week period can be looked at with similar importance to some people as the Advent season. Overall, the Lent season is one that helps those who celebrate it understand and feel some of the sorrow Jesus felt.
Previously the season has been explained in comparison to Jesus in the desert, to me. I found this interesting because this was when Jesus was fasting for forty days in the desert and being tempted by Satan. This season for those who celebrate it can be a challenge to their faith, just as Jesus was challenged, which also means it can be a big opportunity for growth. After all, Jesus began His ministry right after leaving the desert period.
When is Good Friday?
Every year the date of Good Friday changes as well as the Easter Sunday and the beginning of the Lent season, based on the calendar of that year. Good Friday is always the Friday before Easter Sunday. This is to remember the day Jesus was crucified and died, followed by the miraculous rising three days later, and represented by Easter Sunday.
How Can I Share With My Non-Believer Friends About This?
I have found it interesting to see what non-believers think about fasting and praying throughout my life as a Christian. To me, I would want to understand my own heart behind fasting on Good Friday or at any point. When I have explained fasting to a non-believer I have found a lot of opportunities to share the importance of the nearness of God to me, and when I am needing or wanting more of Him.
So when sharing about fasting and praying or even the holiday of Good Friday, my challenge to you would be to share how important Jesus is to you and all He has done for you, especially as He leads you to do so.