Cheryl is a licensed, ordained minister and has a BA in Psychology and Church ministry. She spent 12 years attending Word of Faith churches.
Three literal days and nights
Christian tradition has taught that Jesus was crucified on Friday and rose early Sunday morning. Over the years there have been other suggestions as to when He died and when He was resurrected. Some theologians say the exact timing does not matter and that what is important is that He got up. There are, however, believers who enjoy learning facts from history that are not necessarily taught within scriptures. The website The Trumpet agrees with Hebrew scholars that the reference to “three days and three nights” in Jonah 1:17 indicates that he was indeed in the body of the great fish for a 72-hour period. Jesus told the Jewish leaders that the only sign He would give that He is the Messiah was the sign of Jonah. For this reason, the Friday to Sunday morning theory does not hold up. There is also the fact that the Bible says in Genesis 1:4-13 that God divided the light from the darkness. He called the light Day, and the darkness was called Night. Consider the language utilized: And the evening and the morning were the first day. … And the evening and the morning were the second day. … And the evening and the morning were the third day” . The Creator literally tells us that three days and nights is: three periods of light, each followed by three periods of darkness.
Timing is everything
The above chart is from the website Wednesday Crucifixion which agrees that Christ is the ultimate Lamb of God, would be sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan which is the day the Jews celebrate the Passover that took place in Egypt. This sounds most logical that the Heavenly Father would continue to follow the timing and patterns he set forth that are outlined in His word. Not everyone will agree and that's OK. Viewing this information, will not deter everyone from the Friday to Sunday theory. Preachers who have utilized the traditional Easter dates in their sermons may not want their flock to consider that they may have been misled, but one can only teach what has been taught. Please continue reading for more compelling information on why Jesus more than likely was crucified on Wednesday and rose on the Sabbath.
The following scripture also confirms the length of time that Christ was in the grave. They are Matthew 27:63, Mark 8:31, Mark 9:31, and John 2:19-21. So now that it has been established that He meant three literal days let us examine the rest of the situation. The Bible does not specifically spell out the date He was crucified and when He rose. What we do know based on the gospels is that the women went to the tomb on Sunday just before sunrise. This does not, however, indicate that He was resurrected at that specific time.
The day of the crucifixion was a day of “the preparation” for Passover (. Luke 23:54). This indicates that the following day was a sabbath, and Jews have Saturday for their Sabbath. This is why it sounds logical that the crucifixion took place on Friday. John, however (19:31) indicated that this was a high Sabbath day
A “high day” according to Leviticus chapter 23 is not referring to the weekly 6th day Sabbath but is one of the annual holy days and the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread. These annual holy days can fall on any day of the week. Please consider that in 2002, 2003 and 2006, the Passover was on Wednesday—just as it is believed to have been in 31 a.d., when Christ’s was crucified, based on the Hebrew calendar. This would mean that the first annual holy day was on Thursday. and Christ died on Wednesday, the Passover. Remember the Jewish leaders anted His body removed from the cross, before sunset when the Passover began that evening. It would make sense that the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world, would give His life at the same time as the lambs were slaughtered for the first Passover.
Matthew 27:46 tells us that Jesus died at the 9th hour, which was 3:00 PM. He was buried before sunset and it is believed that He was resurrected on the Saturday SabbathSaturday at the same time. This would be the fulfillment of the sign of the Prophet Jonah. Those who promote the Wednesday to Saturday line of thinking point out that the Bible never says Christ rose on Sunday, but only that Mary came early on the first day of the week and that He had already risen.