The false idea that Jesus died on Friday has passed from the Roman Church to the Protestant denominations, and today ‘Good Friday’ is observed–at least recognized–even by many Baptists.
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 Matt. 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. That was on Wednesday!
He was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb before sunset Wednesday– before the beginning of the sabbath.
Note that this was not the beginning of the regular weekly Sabbath, which would normally begin at sunset on Friday, but this was called a `high sabbath’–a Passover sabbath which would begin just after sunset Wednesday on Thursday that week!
In Leviticus 23:5-7 we find that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a sabbath day. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
At sunset on Thursday He had been in the grave one day and one night.
At sunset on Friday, He had been in the grave two days and two nights.
Then, just after sunset Saturday, just as it began to dawn the first day of the week Sunday, and after three full days and nights…He arose!
The women came early Sunday morning, our time, but He was already gone.
Many have sunrise services commemorating the resurrection!