By Dr. James Crumpton, Pastor, Westside Baptist Church, Natchez, Mississippi
The traditional view is that Jesus was crucified on Friday—but was He? The Catholics had a church rule for years forbidding the eating of meat on Friday, since that was supposedly the day of the crucifixion. Some time ago the rule was done away with, but many still voluntarily observe it.
In Matthew 12:40, our Lord Jesus said: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." How could there be three days and three nights from late Friday afternoon until early Sunday morning? At the most, there could only be two nights, one day, and a part of another! Had the Scriptures only said three days, we could have understood them to mean a part of three days, since both in and out of the Scriptures we use the word to mean only a portion of a day. However, the Scriptures specify "three days and three nights," and thus verbal inspiration demands three twenty-four hour days.
It is good for us to note the difference in the Roman day, the Jewish day, and our present day. THE ROMAN DAY began at 6:00 A.M. and closed at 6:00 the next morning. THE JEWISH DAY began at sunset and closed at the next sunset (or from about 6:00 P.M. to the next 6:00 P.M.). OUR DAY begins at midnight and closes the next midnight.
The Lord Jesus was placed on the cross about 9:00 A.M. our time and was there until about 4:00 P.M. It was on Wednesday! He was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb before sunset — before the beginning of the Sabbath. Note that this was not the beginning of the regular weekly Sabbath at sunset on Friday, but a "high Sabbath" — a Passover Sabbath which came on Thursday that week! [See Leviticus 23:5-7, where we find that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a Sabbath day.] At about sunset on Thursday He had been in the grave one day and one night. At about sunset on Friday, He had been in the grave two days and two nights. Then, just after the three full days and nights, He arose. He arose as it began to dawn the first day of the week (just after sunset Saturday, our time). The women came early Sunday morning, our time, but He was already gone. The expression "on the third day" in the Gospels referring to His resurrection would be "after the third day" in our way of saying it.
Many have sunrise services commemorating the resurrection, and we see nothing wrong with that; but maybe we should have a SUNSET service. He arose about sunset on Saturday. And that was sunset for our sins — because they were gone forever. Hallelujah!!!
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!