For many, the Friday before Resurrection Sunday has become like a holy day. It is almost anathema to consider that Christ may have died on any other day. Of course, it is known as “Good Friday” in remembrance this was supposedly the day that Christ died. The view that Christ must have died on Friday is compounded by the fact that this is held to by many within the Roman Catholic faith as well as within the Christian faith.
In studying for a series on the book of Jonah, I revisited the three days and three nights as it correlates as a sign of Christ being in the grave for the same period of time. While there are many pages of information on the internet discussing the various theories, it is my desire to reduce this to its simplest form by the use of a simple chart showing our reckoning of time as compared to the Jewish reckoning.
First, while our day runs from 12:00 midnight through 12:00 midnight, the Jewish day started at 6:00pm and concluded at 6:00pm the following day.
Our time of Reckoning versus the Jewish Time of Reckoning can be seen in the chart below.
John 19:31 tells us that this was a High Sabbath and not the regular Sabbath. The word used for Sabbath is actually a plural word in the Greek and does present a further indication of the validity of there being more than one Sabbath depending on the year.
The Sabbath actually began on Friday evening at 6pm or sunset which would be the Jewish start of Saturday.
However, in the year 29 A.D., the High Sabbath or Holy Convocation began on Thursday evening at 6pm or sunset which would be the start of the Jewish Friday. We must remember that the Passover always was to take place on the 14th of the month Nisan or Aviv. The date Nisan 14, 29 A.D. began on Thursday evening at sunset.
The Jews accorded even a part of a day as a full day, but no matter how you do the math, you cannot get 3 days and 3 nights between Friday and Sunday morning.
Luke 23:50-56 gives the timeline of the women. They mark where His body lay and go home to prepare the spices.
Christ had already been dead at this point and was “in the heart of the earth.” This would have been the first day.
Thursday evening our time (Friday Jewish time) started the High Sabbath which was the Passover that year and went through Friday evening our time (Saturday Jewish time). This was the first night and the second day. They could not have returned on this Sabbath.
Friday evening our time (Saturday Jewish time) was another Holy Day and the regular Sabbath. This Holy Day was also the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This would have been the second night and the third day. They could not have returned on this Sabbath either.
Saturday evening our time (Sunday Jewish time) was the Feast of First Fruits that year and was exactly 1 week after Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In accordance with the law given to Moses, Christ was selected as the Lamb on Sunday, 7 days prior which would have been the 10th of Nisan as seen in Exodus. As He would not have violated the law, He could not have ridden into Jerusalem on the Saturday as that was the Sabbath Day.
The women would not have gone to the tomb at night which meant waiting until the early hours of Sunday morning to go and anoint the body of Christ, but He had already risen.
Finally, as a beautiful picture, Christ became 7 days later the First Fruits of those who slept. The Feast of First Fruits was to take place the first day of the week following the Sabbaths of the Passover Week.
So, to conclude, Christ could not have died on a Friday because of the timing of the calendar and a problem with arithmetic. We must conclude that Christ must have died on a Thursday in order for Him to be able to fulfill all of the law of Moses even down to the timing of when the Passover Lamb was to be selected and killed.
I hope this information is profitable and at the very least provides you further information to consider. Even the details are important in the Word of God. I welcome any thoughts any of our readers may have.