Has it ever bothered you that Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to be crucified (that's not the part that bothers me) and that he will rise from the dead (that doesn't bother me either, I like that!) but that it will be three days between the two? And at one point He specifically says three days and three nights in the old earth. Now we typically think of Jesus being crucified on Good Friday (which was convenient) and walking out of the tomb Sunday morning. I know there are really good theologians and Bible scholars who say that in the counting methods of the day that could equal three days and three nights...I don't know, must have been base 2 or something (that was for you, Scott Adamson!) There's for sure only two nights there, no matter how many days. I've always been bothered by that. And I'll bet it's never crossed your mind! Well, if you're interested at all, I think there's a lot of evidence that Jesus was actually crucified on Wednesday, but whoever heard of Good Wednesday? Here's where I get that from:
Keep this in the back of your head: Jewish calendar days run from sunset to sunset (which means that famous song from Fiddler should have been Sunset, Sunrise. I'm just saying!).
The reason that Friday is thought to be the day of crucifixion is that the Bible is clear that the next day was a Sabbath day. Mark 15:42-43 says "It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). Since a normal Sabbath would begin sundown Friday and end at sundown Saturday, Jesus must have been crucified on Friday afternoon. Seems pretty clear cut, right?
Ah, but what if it wasn't a normal Sabbath? What if it were an abnormal...er, a different kind of Sabbath? Read John 19:31 "Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. Interesting, huh? A special Sabbath, John says. Come on, you have to admit that's a little intriguing!
You see, the Old Testament talks about more than just one kind of Sabbath, days where there would be no work done, that were set aside to be holy to the Lord. For instance, Leviticus 23 when talking about the Day of Atonement, it says, "You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath." Other feast days designated this same way in Lev 23—Passover, (14th day of first month); Unleavened Bread (15th day of the first month).
Now, we also know that the day following Jesus crucifixion was the Passover, John 19:14--14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.
So what if the Sabbath that begins at sunset of the day Jesus is crucified is not the regular Sabbath, but is instead the Passover Sabbath. Jesus would actually then have been crucified on Wednesday, and put in the tomb before sundown of that day. The next day was the Passover Sabbath, the day following that would have been the Feast of Unleavened Bread Sabbath, and then the following day the normal weekly Sabbath, which would have ended at sundown on Saturday night. The women come to the tomb at first light on Sunday morning and find the tomb empty. Jesus would then have been in the tomb Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, potentially rising Saturday evening, and the empty tomb discovered by the women Sunday morning, the first chance they had to come and do the work of preparing the body, because they couldn't do it on a Sabbath of any kind.
In addition, your Honor, I would submit to you Matthew 28:1--1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. The word Matthew uses for the Sabbath here is actually in the plural, after "the Sabbaths." The Passover Sabbath, the Unleavened Bread Sabbath and the regular Sabbath. Your Honor, I rest my case!
I don't know if that really matters, you probably weren't as irritated by this I was, and I've probably confused you sufficiently that you stopped reading paragraphs ago. But it is good to know that when Jesus says three days and three nights, it actually could have been that way. Here's hoping you have a great Easter week, and don't forget to celebrate Good Wednesday!