By Dr. Eric Haley l March 23, 2023
The average lay person believes that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead early Sunday Morning. After closer examination we get a slightly different answer. Jesus did die for our sins and He did rise from the dead, but let’s examine the scriptures more closely to get an accurate answer; not man’s tradition. First of all II Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV) So let’s look closely at what the scriptures say about the day of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Let’s examine Matthew 12:38-40. It reads, “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 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: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
So if Jesus died on a Friday like man’s tradition states, how do we get three days and three nights? We can’t; especially the three nights. People say a part of a day was considered a whole day. Where is that explanation found in the Bible. It’s not! Plus, we know from Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:2 Jesus (Emmanuel–God in the flesh) cannot lie. So we can safely conclude that Jesus was not crucified on a Friday. Let’s examine scripture further.
Jesus’s closest disciple, John provides the answer. John 19:31 says, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” The day Jesus was crucified was a special Sabbath day, called a “High Sabbath,.” In addition to the regular Sabbath days which are on Saturday; the Jews also celebrated seven Holy or High Sabbath days which could fall on any day of the week. Let that information sink in before we proceed further. All these extra Holy or High Sabbaths are listed in Leviticus chapter 23.
It was Passover week, and Jesus and His disciples being Galilean Jews had celebrated the Last Supper the day before on Wednesday. He was arrested early Thursday morning when Judas Iscariot betrayed Him to the Sanhedrin council for thirty pieces of silver. Which was a fulfillment of prophecy from Zechariah 11:13.
Thursday day to Thursday night gives us one 24 hour day; Friday day to Friday night gives us the second 24 hour day; and Saturday day to Saturday night gives us the third 24 hour day. Thus fulfilling Jesus’s own prediction about him being in the grave three days and three nights.
Now let’s answer the question of when Jesus was resurrected from the borrowed tomb (sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea). One of the biggest mistakes most preachers of the Gospel make is proclaiming that Jesus rose, ‘early on Sunday morning.’ What does the Bible really say? Let read it from Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” What time did Mark say Jesus rose from the dead? Read it again! It states early on Sunday! Morning is not included in that statement. Why is that important? Because the Bible tells us that every jot and title in the Bible is important. A jot is a very small amount or letter. A tittle is a small part of a letter; such as the dot in the letter i. So, every inclusion or omission of a letter or word in the Bible is deliberate by the Holy Spirit. We’re not suppose to add or take away what is clearly written in the Bible. We shouldn’t be adding “morning,” to the text.
Quickly let’s examine when a day begins/starts. Genesis the book of beginnings let us know the answer. Genesis 1:8, “And God called the firmament Heaven, and the evening and the morning were the second day.” Notice the order of how a day begins-the evening comes first. Let’s examine further Genesis 1:13 recites, “And the evening and the morning were the third day.” Notice the order of how a day begins and ends. Genesis 1:19 reads, “And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Therefore we can conclude that when Jesus rose early on Sunday, He probably rose at Sunset; which by now you should see starts a new day. In Western culture we think a new day start at twelve midnight. But we see that on God’s time clock a new day starts at evening; which is 6:00 p.m. by Jewish standards. We all should be like the Berean Christian in Acts 17:11….they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Don’t take my word for it. I’m in the same boat as you. I search the scriptures daily for answers when I have a question. Something to think about.