Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three Days and Three Nights

Someone questioned:

In Matt 12:40 Jesus said, he will be dead for 3 days and 3 nights, like Jonah was in the whale's belly. So if he resurrected on Sat(Sabbath) night, then he would have died on Wednesday evening.

But in John 19:30-42 it is stating as, he died on a Friday, being the day of preparation before the Sabbath. Luke 23:54, Mark 15:42 and Matt 27:62 stating the same.

That doesn't come to 3 days and 3 nights.. Please enlighten.
I believe the best explanation is to realize that the Passover begins and ends with a Sabbath, even if that starting and ending date do not fall on the seventh day of the week.

The week of the crucifixion, the Sabbath referred to, following the day of preparation, was a "high Sabbath" (John 19:31). I like the way the Holman Christian Standard Bible renders this verse:
Since it was the preparation day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special day)....
In other words, this was not an ordinary seventh-day-of-the-week Sabbath, but it was the Sabbath that began Passover. That week had two Sabbaths, one beginning Wednesday night at sundown, and a regular Sabbath beginning on Friday evening at sundown.

Dying on Wednesday at 3pm (when the shofar was blown and the daily sacrifice was offered in the Temple, by the way), Jesus was in the heart of the earth by dark that night. He was in the ground Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night (three nights) and Thursday day, Friday day, and Saturday day (three days), raising after the Sabbaths ended, on the first day of the week, after dark on Saturday. Within hours, while it was still dark, the Mary's came and found the tomb empty.

Milburn Cockrell does a good job explaining it at

1 comment:

Sheri said...

I was bothered for a long time by Jesus' statement of "3 days and 3 nights" in the grave and the fact that Good Friday to Easter Sunday doesn't do that. I was relieved when I learned (a while back) about the other Sabbaths and that Jesus would definitely have fulfilled His prophecy.I am glad you are spreading this information so others can also understand.