Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Did Jesus Died on Friday?

It is not necessary to know the exact day Jesus died in order to be saved; you just need to believe that He died for your sins. Knowing the day of His death is important, but not essential. There have been a few people who have doubted the veracity of the Bible because they assume it teaches that Jesus died on Friday, yet they know the prophecy of Christ, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt 12:40).
Therefore to say that Jesus arose on the third day is not sufficient, because Jesus said he would be buried for three days and nights. Skeptics take out their hand and start counting the days and nights, and it does not add up correctly. So they throw out the Bible and say it is inaccurate. However, the Bible does not say that Jesus died on Friday, only that he arose on Sunday. Jesus rose early on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9).So where did the tradition of Good Friday start? Well, for the first three centuries Christians did not celebrate the death of Christ on Friday. In fact, they did not even celebrate the resurrection on Sunday. They celebrated the day of the resurrection based on the Jewish Passover, thus resurrection day would fall on different days, depending on the day of the Passover. It wasn’t until the Emperor Constantine fixed the day of Easter on Sunday after the first full moon of spring, which corresponded to the Jewish Passover. After setting Easter on Sunday, the church leaders made an honest mistake by assuming the death of Christ was on Friday.
They came to that conclusion based on the fact that Jesus died before the Sabbath (Saturday was the regular "Sabbath" for the Jews which means "Rest" or no work). Mark 15:42 confirms that Jesus died the day prior to the Sabbath: It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). They assumed this Sabbath was Saturday and thus they concluded the death of Christ was on Friday. That seemed reasonable enough, since at first counting—Friday, Saturday and Sunday—that makes three days. This assumption was considered fact, and so the tradition of Good Friday began with hardly anyone questioning it. Unfortunately, they forgot to take into account that the Passover itself was also a Sabbath.
The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. (Lev 23:5-7, emphasis added) As you can see, on Passover no one was allowed to do regular work, which makes “Passover” a “Sabbath”. Since Jesus specifically declared that he would be in the heart of the earth for three days and nights, there is only one day that Jesus could have died to make three days and nights, and it is Thursday, and as we shall see, the Bible actually points to this day.What about Wednesday?Nearly every article that disputes Friday as the day of Christ death, will then argue that Jesus died on Wednesday. The reason they do so is in their view the three days and nights must be at least 72 hours. However, there is no prophecy of scripture that says after 72 hours Jesus would rise again. It was common practice in those days, as well as today, to consider any “part” of the day to be “a day”.
For example you say you spent the day with someone. It does not mean you arrived before the sun rose and left as the sun set. No! That is silly. To spend the day with someone doesn’t imply you spent 12 hours with them. It just means you spent “part” of the day, which you consider to be “a day”. This is how days and nights were treated in the Bible. So long as Jesus spent part of the day or part of the night in the tomb it is considered a day and night.

If Jesus died on Wednesday, he would have been in the tomb for four days and four nights. This would contradict scripture, plus it would pose another real problem for those who believe Jesus died on Wednesday. Here is the big problem?The scriptures tell us that the women prepared spices to anoint Jesus’ body on Sunday.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb (Luke 24:1). They could not do it earlier because they had to rest on the regular Saturday Sabbath. If Jesus had died on Wednesday, the Passover would have been on Thursday, however, the next day would be Friday, and there would have been no Sabbath on this day. They could have anointed Jesus body on Friday. So if that was the case, why did they wait until Sunday to do it, when Friday would have been a much better day? Do you see the problem with this view?Some in order to justify this sloppy conclusion argue that it took the women a full day to buy and prepare the spices, and by the time they were done, it was Saturday again and thus the regular Sabbath began. This argument is really stretching one’s rationality.
There is no way it would take more than 24 hours to buy and prepare the spices, for the Jews always buried their dead within one day, so they were accustomed to preparing spices for the deceased within a day. Besides that if they had waited 72 hours before coming to the tomb then decomposition would have begun and according to scriptures this could not have happened. Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay (see Acts 2:27). God promised the resurrection before decomposition. You might remember that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). Decomposition had begun for Martha, his sister, said, “By this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” (John 11:39)In the end, I see three major problems to the theory of Wednesday being the day of Jesus death:1. If Jesus died on Wednesday, then Jesus would have been in the tomb for four days and four nights.2. If Jesus died on Wednesday, then the women would have gone to the tomb on Friday.3. If Jesus died on Wednesday, then more than 72 hours would have elapsed which would have caused Jesus body to “see decay”.
Thursday is the Day

I believe Thursday was the day of His death; let us clarify when a day ended and when it began. According to the Jews the day was over when the sun had set. We can see in Genesis that a day begins in the evening. And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day (Gen 1:5). It is hard for us to comprehend that evening comes before morning but in order to count three days and nights, you have to begin a day with the evening, or otherwise you will come up with 4 days and 3 nights. It is clear this is how the days were counted in biblical times, for remember, Jesus died somewhere near 3 p.m. and His body needed to be taken down from the cross and put in the tomb before the sun had set. The problem theologians have had on pinpointing the day of His death stems from not taking into account the fact that the Passover was a “special” Sabbath, not the ordinary one which always landed on Saturday. John in his gospel mentions this point, “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath” (John 19:31).John calls this Sabbath a special one. Since it was a “special Sabbath” not the ordinary one, there is no requirement on our part to say that the Passover landed on a Saturday. The “date” of the Passover was always fixed; it was the fourteenth day of their first month (see Leviticus 23:5-6 and Exodus 12:6). Prior to Christ, the Jewish calendar consisted of twelve months at 28 days for each month. So this meant that the Passover would always land on the same day, however, the Jews left that calendar and adopted a 29 to 30 day a month calendar. This was the calendar used during Jesus era; therefore the Passover was a “floating day”, which means it could land on any “day” of the week.

For example, Christmas is a floating day, it is always on the 25th day of December, and so it can float and land on any day of the week. This was the case of the Passover. It is my belief that the Passover landed on a Friday the year Jesus died. This would provide us the three days and three nights we need to fulfill scripture and explain why the women had to wait until two Sabbaths had passed to anoint the body. So with that said, is there any other biblical evidence we can unearth which could shed light on the death of Christ taking place on Thursday? There is one other passage which proves the Passover landed on Friday of that year: Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead (John 12:1). Jesus arrived at the home of Mary on the ordinary Sabbath and it was there that Mary poured perfume on Jesus feet. A few scriptures later, the Bible says, “The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches…” (John 12:12-13). Historically and traditionally this is Palm Sunday. Notice carefully the previous day when Mary poured perfume on Jesus feet the gospel writer says that this day was Six days before the Passover.
Did you get it? Count six days from Saturday, and there you have it! Passover landed on a Friday.

The death of Christ was on Thursday afternoon and His resurrection was on Sunday before the sun had risen. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance (John 20:1). This passage clearly shows that Jesus rose on Sunday while it was still dark. This is significant because to get an even 3 days and 3 nights, Jesus had to die before the sunset and resurrect before sunrise.Keep Good FridayI am not advocating to depose Good Friday as a remembrance of the death of Christ, just like I’m not advocating getting rid of the our calendar because it is off by 4 or 6 years from the birth of Christ.
People make mistakes on counting days and years, and I believe the church leaders made a mistake on the day of His death. However I am satisfied at keeping Friday as the holiday, even if I do know the death of Christ was on a Thursday.Our church has a great miracle service on Good Friday, and I’m just glad we have a day to celebrate the atonement of Christ through His death. It is not overly important that we get the day right, so long as we remember His death.


Anonymous said...

Ukweli ni kamba kwa sabau ya kukosekana kwa utunzwaji mahsusi wa kumbukumbu haswa kipindi kile Yesu anazaliwa na hata kufa kwake ni vigumu kutambua siku sahihi ya kuazimisha pasaka.

Nionavyo mimi na huu ni msimamo wangu - USINIIGE!! Iwe alikufa Jtano, alhamisi, Jmosi au hata Jatu kwangu haijalishi cha msingi najua ya kwamba YESU wangu yu hai! Na siku moja atatujia tena na utukufu wake nitauona. Naam atawaleta na wapenzi wetu!!. Habari ya siku na kalenda hainisumbui cha msingi ni je huyo YESU yu hai nafsini mwangu?

Anonymous said...

''Our church has a great miracle service on Good Friday, and I’m just glad we have a day to celebrate the atonement of Christ through His death. It is not overly important that we get the day right, so long as we remember His death''

Hii ni kweli day has got nothing to do with reality whether he died on tuesday or any other day, but still the same theme or meaning exist