did Jesus die on Good Friday? Was He resurrected on Easter Sunday? This is a question ask by many.
The sign of Jonah: did Jesus die on Good Friday? Was He resurrected on Easter Sunday?
Most churches commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. How does this fit in with the sign that Christ gave?
There are not three days and three nights from the afternoon of Good Friday to sunrise on Easter Sunday. This chart shows the chronology of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, which squares with the biblical festivals and confirms the sign of Jonah.
As proof that He was the Messiah, Jesus Christ anticipated precisely how long He would be in the tomb. He called it “the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
The sign of Jonah
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had seen Him perform miracles but still did not believe that He was the Messiah (Matthew 12:23, 38). The Pharisees conspired to “destroy” him (v. 14) and accused him of doing his works for Satan (v. 24).
So when they asked for another sign, Jesus said to them:
“The wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but a sign will not be given to him, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matthew 12: 39-40).
Jesus referred to the great miracle in the book of Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of a miracle fish for three days and three nights before being thrown out, alive, on the beach. And Christ made the whole world know that He would be in the grave for the same period. He said that the sign of Jonah would be the only sign he would give them. Was this vital prophecy particular?
How can you calculate three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning?
However, most churches ignore this sign and explain that this did not mean three full days and three full nights. Why? Due to a common misunderstanding about the holy days, many call a holy week during the week.
First, let’s do the math. Almost all churches teach that Jesus Christ died and was buried late on Friday and then rose again on Easter Sunday morning. This would give us Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night: two nights and one day. Even if you wanted to set things up and call a few minutes on Friday for a day, this would only be two days and two nights. Remember, Jesus had already risen before sunrise on Sunday (John 20: 1).
Why would Jesus specifically say that it would be three days and three nights if that were not what he meant? Is this a contradiction of the Bible, or is it simply an explanation that everyone would understand if they celebrated the Biblical festivals as Jesus and his disciples did? Why would Jesus specifically say that it would be three days and three nights if that were not what he meant? Is this a contradiction of the Bible, or is it simply an explanation that everyone would understand if they celebrated the Biblical festivals as Jesus and his disciples did?
Jesus clearly stated that He and His disciples celebrated Passover when He washed their feet and added the New Testament ceremony with the bread and wine. He said, “How I have longed to eat with you this Passover before I suffer!” (Luke 22:15).
Jesus and his disciples followed the commandment found in Leviticus 23 when describing “the solemn feasts of the Eternal.” “In the first month, on the fourteenth of the month, between the two afternoons, Easter belongs to the Eternal” (Vv. 4-5). The biblical festivals begin at sunset, so after the Passover ceremony, but still,, on Passover day, Jesus was arrested, flogged, crucified, killed, and buried. The Jewish leaders were in a hurry because they did not want Jesus’ body to be exposed on the cross until the next day.
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“Then the Jews, because it was the preparation of the Passover so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a great solemnity), begged Pilate that their legs be broken, and were taken away from there” (John 19:31).
Many people, when they see “Sabbath,” assume that it is Saturday since the Bible teaches that Saturday goes from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. But they overlook the fact that John calls it a “great solemnity” day. What does this mean? Let’s go back to Leviticus 23. What follows after Passover on the 14th?
“And on the fifteenth day of this month is the solemn feast of unleavened bread to the Eternal; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. The first day you will have a holy convocation; you shall do no servant work” (Leviticus 23: 6-7).
The first day of Unleavened Bread was an annual Saturday — a solemn day. And it can happen on any day of the week.
Therefore, the logical explanation is that Christ was exactly correct about the three days and three nights. People today are confused about when he died and was resurrected. It couldn’t have happened on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.