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Well, some are of the opinion that Jesus died on Wednesday, and not Friday. But there is no dispute regarding the day of the resurrection, as it clearly declares:

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week. (Mark 16:9)

Since it does not specify that He died on the sixth day of the week, some have concluded it to be Wednesday. They base it on the following text:

For as Jonas 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. (Matthew 12:40)

We have seen the explanation to the above text in Question 13.

But some want to take it literally as three complete days and three complete nights, thus ignoring the other texts which states “The third day”, “In three days”, etc. (Luke 18:33; John 2:19).

Let us assume it to be three complete days and three complete nights. We have texts in the Bible that tell us the time of Jesus’ death.

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour… And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. (Mark 15:33, 37)

Jesus died at the “ninth hour” of Jewish time, which is 3 O’clock noon of our time, the Roman time.

{A complete day of 24 hours has “the evening and the morning” (Genesis 1:5)-generally twelve hours each of “evening” darkness, and “morning” brightness. Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9). From the “morning”, or the sunrise, the 12 hours of the day begins. If the sunrise was at 6 a.m. then the “ninth hour”, when Jesus died, was 3 p.m. When the Bible mentions “third hour”, for example, it could either be the “third hour of the day” or “the third hour of the night” (Acts 2:15; Acts 23:23) When Jesus died it says it was “the ninth hour” (Mark 15:37); it doesn’t mention whether it was the ninth hour of the day or the ninth hour of the night. But the context makes it always clear. We have clear evidences that the crucifixion was during the day time}

The Bible says that Jesus rose before sunrise on the first day of the week.

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week. (Mark 16:9)

And John adds: When it was yet dark. (John 20:1)

If some want to take three days and three nights as literal and not according to the Jewish understanding, then they have a problem in this same text.

Jesus died at 3 O’ clock noon, and was buried immediately after that, before sunset (See Luke 23:52-56).

If Jesus died on Wednesday, 3 p.m., then He was buried on Wednesday before sunset. How many nights do we get from Wednesday evening?-Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night–that becomes 4 nights! (Or if the Jewish method is followed-counting from sunset a new day-then that evening Thursday began. So it is Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night). And how many days do we get if Jesus died on Wednesday?-A part of Wednesday, full of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.More than 3 days! So it becomes 3 days and 4 nights! If one thinks He died on Thursday, then it is 3 nights and 2 days! But Jesus said in Matthew 12:40-“Three days and three nights”!

The fact is–Jesus died on Friday, commonly called “Good Friday”, and rose on Sunday, commonly called “Easter Sunday”.

ONE MIGHT SAY: How do we prove that it was Friday? Well, there are sufficient clues for it. The seventh day of the week is called the Sabbath day throughout Scriptures (Exodus 20:8-11). The day before the Sabbath is called the “preparation day” (the sixth day), as the children of God prepared for the holy Sabbath (Exodus 16:5, 22-26). Jesus died on the day of the preparation, the sixth day of the week. The Bible records:

This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus…. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. (Luke 23:52, 54)

In fact, two Sabbaths met together the day Jesus was resting in the tomb, and two preparation days kissed each other at His death.

There were seven annual “Sabbaths” in the Jewish religious calendar [see Leviticus 23]. And these annual Sabbaths, like birthdays, could come on any day of the week.

For example look at the feast of Trumpets. God told Moses when it should be celebrated.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24).

These annual feasts were observed for seven days sometimes, and some feasts just for one day. If it was a seven day feast, the first day and the last day of the feast were called “Sabbaths” (See Leviticus Chapter 23).

When Jesus died it was the Passover feast. And the next day after the Passover the feast of the unleavened bread commenced, and this feast was observed for seven days. The first day of the feast was a rest day and the last day of the feast was a rest day too. No work was to be done. And it was called “Sabbath” (See Leviticus 23: 5-11).

The day Jesus died was the preparation day for two Sabbaths–the preparation for the unleavened bread Sabbath, and the preparation for the weekly seventh day Sabbath. But this “preparation day” of the unleavened bread was once a year.

So the weekly preparation day of the Sabbath and the yearly preparation day of the unleavened bread blended together at the death of Jesus. Listen to what John the apostle said:

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)

John called it a “high day”! Why was it so?-Because two Sabbaths met together–the weekly Sabbath and the yearly Sabbath.

ONE MIGHT SAY: The phrase, “An high day”, is a reference only to the yearly Sabbath, and it has no reference to the weekly Sabbath. Well, nowhere in the Bible do we have texts to support that argument. None of the yearly Sabbaths were called “high” Sabbaths in itself or in comparison to the weekly Sabbath (See Leviticus Chapter 23). In fact we have clear indications in Leviticus Chapter 23 that all the yearly Sabbaths were to reflect, and derive its principles

from the weekly Sabbaths and not the other way round. The yearly Sabbaths were:

Beside the sabbaths of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:38)

A comparison with an earlier verse in the same Chapter makes it clear that “the Sabbath of the Lord” is the weekly Sabbath.

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3)

Also the weekly Sabbath on its own is nowhere called as “high” Sabbath because every Sabbath day has the same blessedness in it.

John was actually talking about the weekly Sabbath when he mentioned the word “Sabbath”, in the text:

For that Sabbath day was an high day. (John 19:31)

How do we know that the word “Sabbath” here is a reference to the weekly Sabbath day, and not the unleavened bread Sabbath? Farther down in the beginning of the next Chapter John wrote:

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early. (John 20:1)

John is talking about the days of the week and not the dates of the year; he wrote about the first day of the “week”. So the context makes it clear that the Sabbath was the weekly Sabbath and not the yearly unleavened bread Sabbath.

Let us, for a moment, analyze it. If the phrase “that Sabbath day” was a reference to the unleavened bread Sabbath, then the construction of the phrase is not proper. John should have otherwise said, “For that day was an high Sabbath day”–That is, a common working day (days one to six of the week) became a Sabbath because the unleavened bread Sabbath fell on that day. But he said, “For that Sabbath day was an high day”–that is, that day was the Sabbath day (the seventh day of the week), and it was an high day because the yearly Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath fell on the same day!

It was not an accident–God calculated it all. He had a reason for everything! Jesus did not die on the sixth day without a prior thought to it.

Man was created on the sixth day, and our God decided to pay the redemption price on the same sixth day! And after God created man in the Garden of Eden, the next day He rested from all His labor and created the Sabbath day as a memorial of His great creation. Again He did the same thing. After redeeming man on the Cross on the sixth day of the week, He rested the next day, which was the seventh day of the week, called the Sabbath, as a symbol of redemption. God chose the same day to create and redeem man, and, on the same day of the week, He rested to set His divine seal and confirmation!

All speculations should be laid aside as to which day Jesus died. The Scripture is clear–it was the day of preparation, which is Friday.

In the evening of the resurrection day the two disciples tell the Lord, (who held back His identity), about Jesus’ death. They said on Sunday evening:

To day is the third day since these things were done. (Luke 24:21)

How can Sunday (the first day of the week), be called the third day if Jesus died on Wednesday!?

Even going by historical records we come to know that it was Friday (the sixth day of the week) by checking out on which day of the week the Passover fell in the year A.D. 31, the year of our Lord’s death!