Friday Crucifixion - Is There Proof?
Do we know for certain that Christ was crucified on a Friday? If so, how is it possible that Jesus spent three days in the tomb if the resurrection occurred on Sunday? We are not told in God's Word exactly what day Jesus was crucified. There are scholars who believe Jesus was put to death on Friday, while others state Thursday or Wednesday. Should we be celebrating a Good Friday crucifixion?
God's Word clearly states that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day (Matthew 12:40). How can this be true?
A Friday Crucifixion - Jewish people in the First Century considered a portion of one day to be an entire day. Since Jesus was in the tomb for part of Friday, all day Saturday, and a portion of Sunday, this is considered to be three days. Mark 15:42 says that Jesus was put to death "the day before the Sabbath." If this is referring to the weekly Sabbath (which is Saturday), then Jesus would have been crucified on Friday.
A Thursday Crucifixion - A Thursday view suggests there were too many proceedings that happened between Jesus' burial and the day of His resurrection (Sunday) for Jesus' death to occur on Friday. This view holds that the only full day between Friday and Sunday was Saturday, which is the Jewish Sabbath. One or two more days takes care of that problem. Consider this example: Suppose you haven't talked to your co-worker since Monday evening. It is now Thursday morning. You say, "I haven't talked to you in three days" even though it has only been two and a half days (60 hours). This example illustrates how Thursday to Sunday could be considered three days.
A Wednesday Crucifixion - A Wednesday view suggests that there were actually two Sabbaths on the week of Jesus' crucifixion. The first Sabbath occurred on the evening of the crucifixion (Mark 15:42 and Luke 23:52-54). Following this Sabbath, the women purchased spices (Mark 16:1). The Wednesday point of view holds that the "Sabbath" mentioned here was the Passover (see Leviticus 16:29-31; 23:24-32, 39 for examples of high holy days (Sabbaths) that are not necessarily the seventh day of the week).
On the week of Jesus' death, the second Sabbath was the weekly Saturday. Luke 23:55-56 says, "The women who had come with Jesus. . .went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." Unless there were two Sabbaths that week, the women would not be able to purchase the spices after the Sabbath, but prepare those same spices before the Sabbath. If the crucifixion occurred on Thursday, the Passover would have started Thursday at sundown and ended at sundown on Friday, at the beginning of the weekly Sabbath (Saturday). If the women purchased the spices following the first Sabbath (Passover), they would have purchased them on Saturday and would have violated the Sabbath.
A potential problem with this view is the disciples who walked together with Jesus did so on "the same day" that Jesus' resurrected (Luke 24:13). Not recognizing Jesus, they share about the crucifixion (Luke 24:21). They say "today is the third day since these things happened" (Luke 24:22). How can this be if there are four days between Wednesday and Sunday? A possible explanation says that they may have been counting Wednesday evening as Christ's burial, (Wednesday evening begins the Jewish Thursday) and Thursday to Sunday can be considered three days.
Is it really essential to know the exact day of Jesus' crucifixion? If it was, God would have told us in His Word. However, it is important that Jesus died, and that He physically rose from the dead. He did this to take the punishment that we deserve!
Learn More about the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ!
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