I grew up with the answer to the question, What is Good Friday? However, I know there are many in our world today asking what is the big deal about what is Good Friday? My memories go back to playing the piano at outdoor sunrise church services and listening to a sobering message about the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary, while the sun gradually illuminated the sky. Good Friday is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday or Easter Friday.

As historical facts convey, including the accuracy of biblical history documents, Jesus was crucified and rose from the grave three days later, thus the distance between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to the Holy Lands. When visiting the Garden Tomb, I was able to sing the traditional spiritual (written before 1865) Were You There when they Crucified my Lord? acapella for our whole tour group. The first part of the song talks about events to answer that question, What is Good Friday? Listen to the complete acapella recorded version from My Father’s Favorite Hymns (buy My Father’s Favorite Hymns album here-download or CD) in the video below.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, Sometimes it cause me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh, Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?


A spiritual is a song of hope and anticipation. Some call them the sorrow songs, but eventually they were called spirituals. (The term “Negro spiritual” first appears in print in 1860) They were the soul-cry of the black slave, longing for freedom, drawing a dramatic parallel between their experience and the persecution and torture of Christ. The rest of the lyrics to this spiritual (originally there were seven verses that encapsulized the entire story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus) takes us through Easter morning. I wrote my Master’s Thesis based on the history of spirituals and gospel songs and their influence on modern music. Were You There? was included in the songs and arrangements I included. (Check out the devotional guide Walking with the Hymns-available on Amazon, including more background and scriptural reflections)

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh, Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when He rose up from the grave?
Were you there when He rose up from the grave?
Oh, Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when He rose up from the grave?

Were You There-Buy Sheet Music
Sheet music is available here to: Were You There? (one of my most popular downloads!) Also check out the full My Father’s Hymn vocal/piano book, now available for purchase as a full download! More Sheet music samples, with the first page of each song as a free download, here: http://djworksmusic.com/buy-sheet-music/. If you were one of the millions who wondered what the big deal about Good Friday, hopefully you now more fully understand the answer to the question, What is Good Friday? 
Subscribe to Facebook Musician Page & Monthly Newsletter! ©Deborah Johnson • Twitter: @DJWorksMusicwww.DJWorksMusic.com  Check out FREE Download of 70 page Study Guide: 40 Days to Getting Un-Stuck.

Newsletter Button2 Sign up for FREE monthly newsletter with a new inspirational article each month and news updates! You can unsubscribe at any time but thousands enjoy!

Would you like to learn basic piano in six months? Learn here: Learn Piano Online with Keys to the Keyboard