08 April 2012

Jesus Couldn't Have Died On Friday

The Easter holiday is comprised of four days over a weekend, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Good Friday is celebrated as the day of Christ's death and Easter Sunday as His resurrection. Notice, however, what Jesus said in Matthew 12:40:
For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Friday evening to Sunday morning cannot take three days and three nights.

The idea that Jesus died on a Friday is probably taken from Mark's account of Jesus' death. In verse 42 of Mark 15, He writes:
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath...

Mark records Jesus' death as the day before the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath was the 7th day, Saturday. This can easily be explained. The Jews had at least two special Sabbaths, apart from their weekly 7th day. These days where set apart and they were to have special assemblies and no work was to be done. The first day and last days of the feast of Unleavened Bread were special Sabbaths.
Leviticus 23:3-8~“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.

“In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.

“The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly. For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”

John is specific in mentioning that it was a day before the special Sabbath, some versions call it a high Sabbath. That is John 19:31:
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.

Here's a view with which I agree: Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday morning. He died around 3pm (the 9th hour) and was brought down from the cross and buried before Wednesday evening arrived (see John 19:42). The Jews began their day in the evening (important), thus Wednesday evening would have been the beginning of Thursday for them, which would be the day to celebrate the Passover. Thus Jesus spent Wednesday night and Thursday (one night, one day), Thursday night and Friday (two nights, two days) and Friday night and Saturday (three nights, three days) and rose on Saturday night into Sunday (Saturday evening would already be Sunday, the first day of the week, since their day began in the evening like I said). Three days and three nights.

John records in verse 1 of John 20:
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

For those who think it really doesn't matter when Jesus died, it does. If He prophesied that He would be three days and nights in the heart of the earth and His prophesy was not fulfilled, it would render Him a false prophet. A fraud. Deuteronomy 18:21-22:
And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

For a more comprehensive discussion of this view, click here. I cannot vouch for anything else on this site. Caution must be employed.