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A Heart For God: Was Jesus in the Grave Three Days and Three Nights or Not? (conclusion)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Was Jesus in the Grave Three Days and Three Nights or Not? (conclusion)

Now that's just one answer to our question. But there's another one. And that answer is this: Jesus wasn't at all crucified on a Friday like most people believe.


Now before you start to stone me for blasphemy allow me to offer you what I think are two compelling pieces of evidence backing this conclusion.


The first one is Christ's own declaration in Matthew 12:40. According to a highly-recognized authority on the Gospels (W. Graham Scroggie), Jesus' statement there does point to a literal 72 hours in the grave contrary to what the traditional view suggests...
[When] the number of 'nights' is stated as well as the number of ['days' (as is the case in Matthew 12:40), Jesus'] expression ceases to be an idiom (a figure of speech), and [it] becomes a literal statement of fact, and there were not three 'nights' between Friday evening and Sunday morning by any [stretch of the imagination]. (A Guide to the Gospels by Scroggie, pg. 570)
So Christ had to be crucified on a different day - a day two days prior to what tradition says. Jesus wasn't killed on a Friday, but rather on a Wednesday according to this view.


Now there is a second piece of evidence (this author offers it, too) that really does bolster his case for a different day. And that evidence is this: In his eyes there's no possible way that the many things the Bible says happened immediately following Christ's death could have taken place in the three short hours between His expiration (3 p.m. on Friday) to the time it's assumed that He was buried (6 p.m. the same day). Therefore, there had to be more hours involved.

More hours for Nicodemus to come back after Jesus was buried the first time to roll the stone back and re-wrap the body in a more careful way. (John 19:39-40) Let me give you a second to swallow that. This highly-recognized authority on the Gospels really does believe that's what happened among other things like (Scroggie 572-573)...
  • The Jews asking Pilate to break the legs of the crucified (John 19:31)
  • The soldiers breaking the legs of the two thieves and spearing Christ (John 19:32, 34)
  • Joseph of Arimathea petitioning Pilate for Jesus' body (John 19:38; Mark 15:43)
  • Pilate calling a centurion to find out if Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44)
  • Joseph purchasing fine linen at the market (Mark 15:46)
  • Joseph (with the help of friends) taking Jesus' body to the tomb and laying it there (Matthew 27:59-60)
  • Women watching but not helping (Matthew 27:61)
  • The rolling of a stone in front of the tomb (Matthew 27:60; Mark 16:4)
  • Women returning after seeing the body laid (Luke 23:55)
  • Nicodemus procuring expensive spices and making contact with Joseph (John 19:39)
  • Women preparing spices themselves to use with the body (Luke 23:56)
  • Women resting on the Sabbath (6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday), then visiting the tomb very early in the morning (after 6 p.m. Saturday) (Mark 16:2)
These are just highlights of some of what had to take place. (There is more.) Could it have possibly happened in 3 hours on a Friday afternoon (3 p.m. to 6) or was more time needed?

So we have the traditional view of Jesus being crucified on a Friday and this second view having Christ dying two days prior to that. And each one purports to fulfill the three days and three nights scenario.

The bottom line of it all: It really doesn't matter which view you embrace - it really doesn't - especially since it's a secondary issue. The only thing that really matters is that you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

(To read the beginning of this post, click here.)

(Picture under the GNU Free Documentation License at

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Blogger Tamara aka the Operator said...

As a teacher at a Christian school, I've had the wonderful opportunity to teach the stories of the last week of Christ for 13 yrs. While studying and teaching, I came to the conclusion also that Christ would have been crucified on Wednesday, which fits the Passover time, too.

5:50 PM  
Blogger DonnaR said...

I've always thought that Jesus wasn't crucified on a Friday since the hours didn't add up properly. My thought was the Friday - Sunday thing just fit in with our idea of a holiday weekend.
So, I love the alternate theory. It fits the facts well.

4:15 AM  
Blogger Laura Duncan-Murphy said...

We had a visiting speaker this past Sunday, and he also started that Jesus died on Passover.....i have always believed that since we know that the Jewish calendar is not the same as our current calender, there had to be a difference in the days and times that could explain this missing part of the puzzle.

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