One of the most prolific and well-accepted teachings of the traditional Christian world is that Jesus was crucified and died on the afternoon of “Good Friday,” and was resurrected just as the sun was rising on Sunday morning.
That is a total of less than 48 hours. Actually, depending on how one counts it, it may be as few as 36 hours.
Does this make any sense at all? How can that teaching be true when we know that Jesus predicted His death and burial to last for 3 nights and 3 days?
Scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus and demanded a sign to prove that He was God’s anointed, the Messiah. Jesus told the Pharisees that only one sign would be given to them.
That sign was the sign of Jonas the prophet, who was in the “fish belly” for three days and three nights.
That sign of three days and three nights was applied to the Son of man being in the heart of the earth for the same, specific period of time.
Matthew 12:38-40 (38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. (39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
What happened to Jesus’ body after His death provides clear and convincing evidence that Jesus was God’s Anointed.
If that sign had failed, His enemies would have reason to claim He was a fake! An imposter!
Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.
Jesus, Who was dead in the grave, had to be resurrected by none other than the Father. Do we think the Almighty God has a problem counting three days and three nights? Absolutely not!
The Father raised His Anointed from death to eternal life at the end of three nights and three days! God had devised a clever sign to validate the life and work of His Anointed One.
And, it was a well known sign, that of the prophet Jonah.
Luke 11:30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.
God’s reputation for these scribes and Pharisees hinged upon His doing exactly what He promised them He would do.
Mark 8:31 tells us: And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Do you think Jesus mean what He said? Was He really in the earth for a full 72 hours?
The Jews remembered this sign when He was crucified. Do you think that the Jews who so violently hated Jesus would have allowed for only a partial fulfillment of the prophetic sign?
If Jesus had been in the grave for only a portion of 3 nights and 3 days, God’s enemies would have announced it as widely as they possible could have!
As it was, they claimed that His disciples had stolen the Body.
Matthew 27:62-64 (62) Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, (63) Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. (64) Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
The Jewish leaders had done all they could to obscure the truth of His resurrection!
They obtained official soldiers to make sure the Body was not stolen. They wanted to take no chances that anyone would validate the ONLY sign of Jesus’ Messiahship.
They made the sepulcher sure, and sealed the stone. They carefully watched the gravesite in order that the Body would remain in the ground far past the stated time.
Jesus is neither the liar, nor the poor judge of timing that many modern preachers would have us believe.
The teaching that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, buried about sundown the same day, and arising the following Sunday at sunrise, is in contradiction to the Scriptures!
Jesus WAS in the grave for 3 nights and 3 days! He DID rise after the elapsed time!
God brought Him from the heart of the earth, timing it exactly as God had done when He caused the great fish to spew Jonah onto the land!
Jesus was NOT crucified on Friday! Neither was He resurrected as the sun arose on Sunday morning!
Men have attempted to explain the Friday to Sunday theory using a strange reasoning.
What if some people do count a part of a day as a whole day, that certainly is a stretch to label part of one day (Friday), all of one day (Saturday), and two nights as equal to 3 nights and 3 days. The Jews of Jesus’ day would have found such an irrational reasoning completely irresistible!
What if some of the Jews did count a part of the day for a whole day, can it be proven that this is what Jesus meant? Can it be proven that the Jews counted a part of a day as a whole day and a whole night?
Where is the proof in the inspired Word?
Actually, some say the Greek language allows for this part of the day theory. But, the sign of Jonah was from the book of Jonah, written in Hebrew.
In the Bible, the word day is basically the time between dawn, or daylight, and darkness. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night . . . “ Genesis 1:5 (Compare Genesis 1:14-18; 8:22.)
Jesus Himself made a statement, defining a day as having twelve hours of light.
John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
If we reason according to the words of Jesus, then a day has 12 hours of light, and the night then would take up the remaining 12 hours. Do we really need any more validation than this? There is no higher authority than the words of our Father God and His Christ!
Actually, Jesus was crucified in the middle of the week.
Briefly, let me say that in the year of our Savior’s crucifixion, the Jewish Passover lambs were killed at the temple on Wednesday afternoon, just prior to the First Day of Unleavened Bread. That day was an annual Sabbath. It was NOT the weekly Sabbath.
Traditional Christianity has lost sight of much of the meaning of Scripture, because they have forsaken the teachings that God delivered to Israel by Moses.
If Christians had been observing the annual Feasts of the LORD found in many places in Scripture, the confusion about the “Sabbath” day would have been far less likely.
When we put all the Scriptures together, we find that the Bible makes it plain when Jesus was crucified and buried!
Mark 15:42 ” . . . the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.“
John also writes about this time.
John 19:14 “And it was the preparation of the Passover.”
When we have the correct chronology for the week of Jesus’ crucifixion, we can further validate the fact that He was in the grave for a full 3 nights and 3 full days. But, initially, how can we require more than the simple truth that God gives His Word, and keeps His Word?
God does not make mistakes. He does not require the machinations, maneuverings, and inventive rationalizations of any man to MAKE His Word come out right!
God provided THE SIGN that Jesus Christ is HIS ANOINTED ONE!
This particular teaching is so important for Believers. We need to get it right.