Isn’t every Friday good? So what makes Good Friday good or, more specifically, better than any other Friday? Traditional history tells us that Jesus Christ was crucified and buried on Good Friday and resurrected 3 days later on Sunday. I guess if one counted each of the days as a whole they’d get 3 days but that’s not what Jesus said would happen.
In Matthew 12 he was a little more specific than that:
Matthew 12:38-40 says “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”. But He answered and said to them “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”. “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.”.
So, three days AND three nights… That means that by our traditional thinking Jesus would have had to have been in the tomb all day and night Friday, Saturday and Sunday being risen on Monday morning. But that’s not what tradition teaches. We say he was crucified on Friday and raised Easter Sunday morning. Easter we’ll cover later, it has NOTHING to do with this story anyway. I know what you’re thinking; it has EVERYTHING to do with this story. Actually it really doesn’t. See Easter for more.
Anyway we look at this and Sunday morning is too early, even if we say Jesus was crucified on Friday morning which wouldn’t fit our biblical record. Maybe we shouldn’t try to logically deduce this and simply look at our biblical record.
Since God inspired the bible, let’s see how GOD views a day? According to Genesis he views a day as follows:
Gen 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
- Gen 1:8b “So the evening and the morning were the second day.”
- Gen 1:13 “So the evening and the morning were the third day.”
- Gen 1:19 “So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”
- Gen 1:23 “So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
- Gen 1:31 “So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
In God’s eyes sunset starts a new day, not midnight as we recognize it today. So best case scenario if Good Friday is accurate then Sunday after sunset is the earliest Jesus could have been raised because he had to be there three full days to comply with the laws of the time.
Let’s take a look at the biblical record to see what really transpired in that 72 hour period of time and when it took place. Let’s start with what we know, the bible tells us Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, on the first day of the week to find Jesus had risen. Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:1 and John 20:1.
So, we know that by the first day of the week, Sunday, Jesus had been raised. All these accounts also point out that it was discovered early, before the sun came up that he’d been raised. So sometime between sunset Saturday and sunrise Sunday (about a 12 hour time span) Jesus’ body was quickened and raised from the dead.
We also know that the last event Jesus kept was with his 12 disciples, they recognized the Passover. Matthew 26:19-20
Jesus prayed in the garden throughout the night and was taken into custody the next morning before sunrise. He was beaten and ridiculed all day and was hung on the cross in the afternoon. After Jesus died he had to be removed from the cross and buried before sunset as it was the Preparation Day. The Preparation Day was always the day before a Sabbath. This particular Sabbath was a High Day as we’re told in John 19:31.
John 19:31 says “Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
And verse 42 tells us “So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.” They were running out of time and had to have Jesus buried before sunset which would start the Sabbath. But remember they mentioned that this Sabbath was a high day and not just the normal weekly Sabbath. Let’s look at Leviticus and see what high day we’re dealing with.
Leviticus 23 tells us of the high day Sabbaths. The one right after the Passover (Nisan 14) is The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), in fact it’s the next day according to Leviticus. So Jesus had to be entombed before the sunset ending Passover and starting The Feast of Unleavened Bread.
In Mark 16:1, we see the women buying spices, after the Sabbath had passed (The Feast of Unleavened Bread), that they might come and anoint Him. Then in Luke 23:56 they prepared the spices and rested on the Sabbath (the 7th day, a normal weekly Sabbath). So they rested on The Feast of Unleavened Bread, bought their spices the next day and rested the day after on the weekly Sabbath. As we recall, Mary Magdalene is going in the morning, the first day of the week, to find Jesus has already been raised.
So Wednesday sundown starts The Feast of Unleavened Bread which ends Thursday sundown. Friday is the day they buy spices and, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is the weekly Sabbath. Jesus is raised sometime between Saturday sundown and Sunday sunrise.
So there you have it! It all fits and is biblical and accurate.