When did Jesus die?
Jesus died (on Thursday) at approximately the 9th hour, that is, .
Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:33-37; Luke 23:44-46
How long was Jesus in the burial tomb?
Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights.
Matthew 12:39-40; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
When was Jesus raised?
Jesus was raised the third day.
Matthew 16:21; John 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4
What day was the “third day?”
The “third day” was the first day of the week, that is, Sunday.
Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1-8.
When was Jesus buried?
Jesus was buried at night (Thursday evening to us, the end of the day; Friday evening to the Jew, the beginning of the day).
Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56.
What considerations must we take regarding the Jewish reckoning of time in the New Testament?
a. Jews reckon time in accordance with Genesis 1, “there was evening and there was morning.” To the Jew, a day ends and begins at evening; approximately .
b. Jews reckon any portion of a day to be considered as a full day in counting sequence. Therefore, the 3 hours before are to be considered a full day.
c. Relating the rendering of time to the NT era, the 6th hour is while the 9th hour is . This is in regards to the day (i.e. daytime) starting at with the new day (i.e. nighttime) starting at .
d. Looking again to Genesis 1, the time must first pass before it is counted. Considering this, is not the start of the first hour, but rather, is hour 1. This enables us to understand the 6th hour as and not .
e. Reviewing all these things, a Wednesday death makes for 4 days and 4 nights of burial or 5 days and 4 nights of death, while a Friday death makes for 2 days and 2 nights of burial or 3 days and 2 nights of death.
f. This makes Thursday 4 days and 3 nights of death or 3 days and 3 nights of burial.
g. The only day of death that contains a period of 3 days and 3 nights is Thursday, if looking at the sequence in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 convinces us of time reckoned to burial which reconciles with Matthew 12:39-40, rather than time reckoned to death which no day can satisfy.
Taking all of this information into consideration, one must answer two questions. First, what is our source of authority? Granted, 2000 years of Church tradition supports the idea of Good Friday, however, the final authority in matters of faith and practice is sola scriptura (Scripture alone) not sola ecclesia (the Church alone). All theological determinations related to orthodoxy and orthopraxy must come from Scripture, not mere tradition, regardless of how long that tradition has existed or how strong the conviction to follow that tradition is. Secondly, understanding our final source of authority is Scripture alone, are we willing to set aside any previous beliefs which have been refuted by that authority? It is hard to change when we have come to a place of comfort in our faith and convictions. However, in the interest of searching out the truth of Scripture, one must be loyal to the inspired Word of God as opposed to the man-made traditions of the Church. Legalistic dogma was rebuked by Christ and the Word is a tool to correct any misunderstandings of our faith. As a last point, and most importantly, whether you still believe in “Good Friday” or have accepted the Biblical evidence supporting “Good Thursday,” we can all rejoice in the fact that our faith is fulfilled not in the death of Christ, but rather in His glorious resurrection! God bless.