During Jesus’ final week of his earthly ministry, beginning with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and culminating with his resurrection from the grave, he triumphed over man, death, sin and Satan. He spent four days under intense investigation by the priests, Pharisees, scribes, lawyers, Sadducees, and gentiles. None of them found any fault with Jesus and they all declared he was fit to be sacrificed. After being crucified, he spent three days and three nights – that is, three twenty-four-hour days – dead in the grave. Then he rose to life again, resurrected by his own authority1 and the authority of God the Father.
A common religious myth is that Jesus was crucified on the sixth day of the week, our Friday, and that he rose again on the morning of the first day of the week, our Sunday. There is nothing I can think of that is doctrinally important about this. What would it matter if he died on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? It would make no difference at all (as far as I can see) in the message of salvation and the doctrines of the church. Then why should I be concerned about disproving a myth and presenting accurate data about the Bible? There is only one reason I would want to do this, and that is to provide a better understanding of the Bible.
The Passover perfectly describes one future event, Jesus’ Triumphal Week. It is a witness and testimony to the Jews and to the gentiles. If the connection between the Passover and Jesus is severed, then a strong Biblical testimony of Jesus has been obliterated.
A reasonable question to ask me is, “Why would you contradict church doctrine that has been in place for over 1,700 years?” The answer lies in the question. This church doctrine was formulated over 1,700 years ago when people had handwritten scriptures and candles. You can do a lot with those resources, but consider what they didn’t have. They didn’t have computers, online Bibles2, translations, Greek/Hebrew/English side-by side, parallel gospels, commentaries, concordances, explanations, and contacts with foreign experts in that field. They walked and we drive cars. We can travel faster and farther than they did. In the same way, although the early church fathers did the best they could with the tools they had, that doesn’t compare to the power we have for research and study today.
When it’s all put together, I’ve no doubt you will agree with me that the crucifixion occurred on Wednesday late afternoon, and not on Friday as is commonly reported.
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1 Jesus said, The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. John 10:17-18 (Return to text)
2 Incidentally, all scripture used in this study is from The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984). In this day of multiple Bible translations, many people have favorite translations. I don’t have a favorite but I had to pick a Bible to use, so I grabbed the NIV. Please feel free to verify all scripture I use with your own personal Bible. I believe you will find your Bible says the same thing in this matter. (Return to text)