This is a subject that has been debated for many years, and today the church is still divided on this doctrine. The majority of Christians today believe Jesus was crucified on Friday. That’s why many celebrate Good Friday, every Easter weekend. Still, there are many who believe he died on Wednesday, while a few think it was Thursday. Which was it? Does it even matter?
Well, some say it doesn’t matter because it’s not an issue of salvation. It bothers me when people say something in God’s word is not important. Everything in the Bible is important or God would not have inspired holy me to write it down.
Bible doctrine is like a chain. Each subject is a link to another. If we have a wrong understanding of one subject, then the chain is broken, because that link doesn’t fit. Then other connected doctrines are harder to reconcile when some information is missing or misunderstood. That’s one reason we have so many denominations today. As you know, I believe the Bible is the word of God, and it can be trusted.
2 Timothy 3:16 says,
16 ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness:
If you’re one of those who doubt that the Bible is God’s word, go read this article entitled “Is The Bible Really God’s Word?” Now, let’s see if the Bible is specific about what day Jesus was crucified.
The Bible says Jesus died around three in the afternoon (Luke 23:44-46) and he was buried just before sundown the same day (Mark 15:42-47). He rose early on Sunday morning, the first day of the week (Mark 16:9). If he had died and was buried on Wednesday, three days would have ended just before sunset on Saturday, not Sunday morning as the Bible says. He would have been in the tomb longer than seventy-two hours. If he was buried just before sundown on Thursday, three days would have ended just before sundown on Sunday, not on Sunday morning as the Bible says. Still more than three whole days. If he was buried Friday evening, Sunday morning still would not have been three whole days. So, no matter which day we believe Jesus was crucified, there’s no way to calculate it to where he was in the tomb exactly seventy-two hours. So let’s all drop that argument and look at what we can actually prove from God’s word.
Look at Luke 23:52-56 continuing on into chapter 24:1-3.
Luke 23:52-Luke 24-3
52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had been buried before.
54 And that day was the PREPARATION DAY, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women also, who came with him from Galilee, followed after, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid.
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the SABBATH DAY according to the COMMANDMENT.
1 Now on the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
3 And they went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
In Luke 23, we see that Jesus was crucified on the PREPARATION DAY. That was the day before the SABBATH. It’s clear this was the weekly Sabbath because the Bible plainly says, they “Rested the Sabbath Day According To The Commandment” (the 4th of the 10 Commandments). Now, look at Mark chapter 16.
1 And when the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, they came to the tomb at the rising of the sun.
In Luke chapters 23 and 24, we can see the timeline very clearly, from the death of Jesus to his resurrection. It spans only three days; the PREPARATION DAY, the SABBATH DAY, and the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK which is Sunday. Most Bible believers agree he rose from the grave on Sunday morning. That’s why many Christians celebrate Easter Sunday. We also celebrate GOOD FRIDAY two days before Easter Sunday.
So we have three consecutive days, the PREPARATION DAY, the SABBATH DAY, and the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. Clearly, these are the 6th day, the 7th day, and the 1st day, or Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Jesus was crucified on Friday (the Preparation Day), rested in the grave on Saturday (the Sabbath) and rose on Sunday (the First Day of the week). If that’s not clear enough, we’ll look at a few more scriptures to cement the argument.
Before his death, Jesus had said he would rise again ON the third day after his death.
21 From that time forth Jesus began to show his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
23 And they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised again.
19 And they will deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to beat, and to crucify, and the third day he will rise again.
34 And they will mock him, and beat him, and spit on him, and kill him, and the third day he will rise again.
22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
1 Corinthians 15:4
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Again, Jesus said he would rise from the dead ON the third day.
There’s an interesting account in Luke 24:1-21. Sunday, the same day he was resurrected, Jesus met Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus. They didn’t recognize him, so they brought him into the conversation they had been having about the death of the Messiah. Notice carefully what they said.
21 But we trusted that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel, and besides all this, TODAY IS the THIRD DAY since these things were done.
There it is, plainly. Sunday was the THIRD DAY since he was crucified, and he rose from the grave ON the third day. Saturday was the SECOND DAY since his death, so Jesus was crucified on Friday.
© 2015 Teddy Lynn – All Rights Reserved
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