This was posted on a friend of mine’s blog by someone who thinks the crucifixion was on Wednesday. The guy’s protestant, I’d guess, so how do you respond to this on a scriptural level?
I’m guessing that by “the Sabbath” you take that to mean the regular weekly (Saturday) Sabbath?
If not, I’m about to waste a bunch of time. lol! But, if that is what you are thinking, then here’s my take:
For 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.
When I first began studying this topic I was convinced (as best I can narrow down “because of tradition”) that the 3 days and nights was fulfilled because Jews reckoned a part of one day to mean a full day. I have yet to validate that belief, though. So, I had to dig a bit deeper.
However, the simplicity of what the Lord said was “3 days AND 3 nights”. The “and” is the clincher. Fortunately, we find He was exact and exactly right.
When we go back to Jonah (Jonah 1:17), do we believe he was in the whale’s belly only parts of those 3 days and nights? I’d guess that if we were to read that, having never heard Jesus’ prophecy, we’d reckon a full 3 days and nights…72 hours. And, that is exactly how we should view the Lord’s prophecy.
This is only part of the reason why there could be no Friday afternoon burial and Sunday morning resurrection, seeing as this could not have accomplished the prophecy. The deeper meaning comes from the claim that Jesus Christ IS our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).
I’ve learned from some incredibly studied men that God not only GAVE laws, but that He obeyed His very own laws. He not only instituted feasts that were commanded to be maintained, but He also kept them AND, even more significant, He FULFILLED them. The one in question that He fulfilled at what we celebrate as Easter is that of the Passover Lamb. To BE the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ had to fulfill the exact requirements He had given to the children of the exodus, just days after their redemption. He gave exacting requirements that, if not kept, resulted in a Jew being “separated” from the nation. I fully believe that meant they were to be killed.
It would take me pages and pages to go through the requirements given by God for the Passover to be kept “right” in God’s eyes. But, the major points are:
- the Jewish day started at sundown (let’s say 6pm);
- the day of the Passover was the 14th day of the month of Abib (Lev 23:5; Num 28:16) and it was a Sabbath day, on which no work was to be done; the Jews weren’t even supposed to leave their homes during that night (which, remember, was the beginning of their day);
3)the lamb that was to be slain was to be kept and nurtured starting on the 10th day, the first month for the Jews (Ex. 12:1-6);
- the lamb was to then be killed on the 13th day close to the beginning of the 14th (which began at sundown). This had to be done prior to the 14th, because the 14th was the Passover and was a holy day (a sabbath).
When you piece the last week of the Lord’s life together from all of the gospels, you find that starting on the 10th day of the month He was “kept” safe in Bethany. He made two trips into Jerusalem during those 2 days and then the final one on the Preparation day spoken of in the passages you mentioned. This “preparation” was for the annual Passover, not for the weekly Saturday Sabbath. It would have been the 13th day of the month when the lamb was to be killed, thus the meaning of “preparation”. This is the day that the “Lord’s Supper” took place. It began at evening on the 13th, the beginning of that day for them. It is after this that the Lord goes to Gethsemane in the middle of the night. He is betrayed by Judas, undergoes his “trials” in the morning (still the 13th day) and is crucified starting at noon that day. By 3pm of the 13th He is dead. Because the Jews were about the observe the Passover, a Sabbath day, they had to get Jesus buried quickly. John 19:42 describes this: “So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”
If they (two Jewish leaders, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea) had handled the body after sunset (the beginning of the 14th - Passover), they would not have been allowed to partake of the meal that was to be eaten later that evening.
Without having time and space to verify it, the 14th, 15th and 16th were ALL Sabbath days (the 16th being the regular weekly Sabbath). The 13th was a Wednesday (the day the sacrifice must be killed), the 14th was a Thursday (Passover Sabbath), the 15th was Friday (the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a Sabbath) and the 16th was Saturday (the weekly Sabbath). So, because of these sabbaths, no Jew was allowed to do anything with or for the Body of Jesus. That is why we see so few visits during the 3 days and why the spices could only be brought late on the day Saturday (at sundown) which would have begun their Sunday (post-Sabbath).
Doesn’t it make sense that all 3 days that the Lord was in the tomb would be Sabbaths (resting days)? I think that’s pretty neat!!
Diane, I know that’s a very brief and quick overview, but the events orchestrated and demanded by God are so perfect in their timing that a Fri-Sun schedule just doesn’t cut it.
Jesus Christ was in the tomb a full 72 hours. He was buried very near sundown on a Wednesday and resurrected at precisely the same time of the day on Saturday. I’ve got a study that a man did that even gives the exact date of the month and the exact year these things had to have happened. He’s verified it with many historical sources, like when certain kings reigned, when a group of kings were all alive together, etc). It’s quite an amazing feat of work he did.
I hope that helps. I don’t criticize anyone for holding to a Fri-Sun schedule. I just know what the understanding of this more perfect time frame has done for me and how God’s timings are not coincidental or frivolous. The events of that last week are so overlooked as to how they fulfilled OT prophecy and requirements by God. I just pray that everyone has the privilege of seeing these things as God has allowed me to.
If you are ever interested in seeing the study, I will see if I can get it to you.