Personal Questions | VBVM Staff | Sep-27-2011
Q. My church teaches that Jesus died on a Friday and rose on Sunday and He was in the grave for three days. As I count the days, there are only two days between His death and resurrection...am I wrong?
A. The traditional teaching within the church is that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and churches commonly observe the Friday before Easter Sunday as the day of Jesus' death, but this observance is a matter of church tradition and not a Biblically accurate portrayal of Jesus' death.
Scripture says clearly that Jesus would spend three days and three nights in the grave:
Interestingly, Scripture never names the specific day of the week on which Jesus dies, however we do know the day Jesus raised from the dead. Scripture says Jesus was raised before sunrise on the first day of the week:
The first day of the week in the Jewish calendar is Sunday, as it is in our culture today. So if Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights and rose before dawn on Sunday, then there is simply not enough time available for Jesus to have died on a Friday and raised on a Sunday. In reality, Jesus was not crucified on a Friday, but rather He was crucified on a Thursday.
This conclusion is supported by Jesus's own comments in Matthew 12:40, and it is further confirmed by the Jewish festival calendar in the year Jesus died. In that year, the day of Passover Day began Wednesday night and ended Thursday at sundown. Since Jesus was our Passover Lamb sacrificed for the sins of the world, He was crucified on Passover (i.e., Thursday).
For an in-depth explanation of the timing of the events during the week of Jesus' death, please listen to Lesson 22A of our Luke study.