Something that’s Always Puzzled Me about the Easter Story

As important as Christmas is to Christians–if Jesus had never been born, our Bibles would contain no New Testament–Easter is more important. Christians serve a living Savior, not one whose earthly ministry came to a drastic end when He died on the cross.

The accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection appear in all four of the Gospels. And they’re told from the viewpoint of the four different writers, each of whom was either present at the time or writing down the account from someone who was.

I’m not bothered by what some people consider inconsistencies.

Rather minor issues, as far as I’m concerned. Like whether one woman or several went to the tomb on Easter morning, only discover that their friend–their Lord–had risen from the dead. And whether the woman or women encountered only one angel or two.

I dare you to interrogate two people who witness the same event and expect them to agree on every detail. Not because they necessarily disagree, but because each one was focused on a different part of what they both saw. In the excitement of discovering that Jesus was alive again, who could blame the Gospel writers for sharing the parts of the story that seemed most relevant to each of them?

Okay, so what is it about the Easter story that has always confused me? The fact that  Jesus was dead three days prior to His resurrection. But if you count the time,  he was in the tomb from late Friday to early Sunday. So He was dead all of one day and part of two others.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be an issue. The important thing–ultimately the most important–is that Jesus was really dead. Agreed?

But wait. The Bible makes a big deal about Jesus being dead three days. The Bible isn’t wrong, is it?

As much as I tried to ignore this question over the years, it didn’t cease to bother me until I read a very interesting article on the Internet. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet any more than I believe everything reported in the news.

But this article was articulate and convincing. So much so I’ve never forgotten the basic idea it presented. When I recently mentioned it to a biblically knowledgeable friend, he said the article was correct.

Some of this may be familiar to you, but possibly not all of it.

Jesus was crucified during Passover week. The holiest of the Jewish holidays. His body was taken down from the cross before sundown so it wouldn’t desecrate the Sabbath. And the Sabbath is Saturday, right? Or actually from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. So He must’ve been crucified on Friday. “Good Friday,” as it’s commonly known.

Ah, but this article pointed out that the Jews celebrated an extra Sabbath during Passover week. The day before the normal Sabbath. That means Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday and spent Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night in the tomb. Two full days, much of a third. Now THAT fits the Bible’s account perfectly.

I can’t tell you how I treasure that tidbit of knowledge. And the next time someone mentions Good Friday to you, just smile at them if you don’t feel like getting into an argument. You know what seems to be the truth now.

What do you think of that? How about leaving a comment?

May each of you have the most blessed of Easter Sundays. And just remember one thing: the Bible doesn’t say anything about the Easter bunny being present at the empty tomb.

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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12 thoughts on “Something that’s Always Puzzled Me about the Easter Story

  1. I disagree completely with this line of thought. This revisionist stuff is baloney, or is that bologna? Let’s not quibble.
    Saying Jesus had to be in the grave 3 days is distinct from saying he was in the grave exactly 72 hours.
    He said to the religious leaders they would be given the ”’sign of Jonah”, that just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish 3 days and 3 nights so to the ”Son of Man” would be 3 days and 3 nights ”in the heart of the Earth”.
    This verse does not say how many minutes or seconds, or even if he would be dead during the whole period. Just ”in the heart of the Earth”. You and I know he was in a tomb carved out of stone. very close to the surface, not covered over with dirt, but rather laid in tomb and a stone rolled in front. Hardly in the ”heart of the Earth”
    I think quibbling over something as unimportant as the actual elapsed time spent ”in the grave” as opposed to time being ”dead” and so forth only serves to obscue the real import of what happened. It puts one in the position of pharasee ”straining out the gnat”.
    If Jesus’ death is what matters, then it only matters that he died. All this stuff about an extra sabbath just isn’t true and really doesn’t matter.
    I go with tradition. And common sense. I think God would not want to see his son in the grave one millisecond more than neccesary. Really, to comply with the law ”a soul for a soul” he only had to be dead a Planck Second. But for illustrative purposes and to comply with what was prophesied, he was in the grave ”3 days and 3 nights”. Enough! Happy Easter Teach!

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    • Well, Tom, it looks like we really disagree on this one. So, you’re free to keep your opinion and I’ll keep mine. The Bible really doesn’t say what day of the week the crucifixion took place on, and that guy’s article really makes sense to me. Enough said.

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  2. Thanks for sending me that post. My virus protector is always on ”high” so that anything the least suspicious makes it go off. Maybe it realized the thinking of the article was a little incredulous.

    I maintain the above. Jesus was dead for parts of 3 days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He died on a (1 day) Friday. Was in the grave all of (2nd day) Saturday (a day of complete rest in accords with the sabbath, and (3rd day) was raised up on a Sunday. It is my opinion he was raised up Sunday morning at 12:00:01. There was no real need to keep him dead after that. Nothing complicated here. All this business of it being a ”high” day has nothing to do with adding an extra day. All Sabbaths were ” high” days. And the High Holy day was the actual Passover..

    To say Thursday, or worse yet, Wednesday… dear lord… I count like this: wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday. or 1,2,3,4,5. Stick to the gospels.

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  3. I am aware of the Jewish day count. Still, it was daylight when he was sacrificed. That would be the start of 1 day. If it was a Wednesday in the afternoon that would mean Thursday afternoon would complete 1 full day. Friday afternoon would complete 2 full days. Saturday afternoon would complete 3 full days. I am imagining at sundown Saturday would begin the 4th day. I really can’t make head or tails of this discussion.

    Don’t worry as I am not trying to convince you of anything contrary to your faith. I’m not even trying to convince myself. I think it is actually irrelevant. However I find it curiouser and curiiouser these new revelations of things so obvious but so misunderstood all these centuries.

    Moreover, I feel it strange God insisted on working out the salvation of mankind using such a drama. Really, it seems abundantly excessive to start with Abraham and make promises destined to be fullfilled centuries hence through his offspring. Then, to make folks wait almost 2000 years for the final working out of this great universal spectacle, yet still nothing. Time seems almost irrelevant (and it is to someone immortal). However, we are mortals. We have genetic clocks that tick. There must be some reason why all this has delayed more than a few generations. Most judicial test cases are wrangled over in the lifespan of a few individuals. We’re going on 3500 yeas since the time of Abraham and still not end in sight. What is going on?

    Forgive me if I blather…

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  4. Blathering is permitted here, Tom.

    While I can fully appreciate how strange you think God’s way of doing things is–don’t we all feel that way at times?–I believe God brought the Jewish nation along at the rate of speed He deemed best. For some crazy reason, my opinion about His timing doesn’t count. I’m just thankful His intention all along was to save us gentiles, too.

    As for the discussion of the actual day of Jesus’ crucifixion, I must admit I’m more confused than ever–except that I’m convinced the crucifixion took place on either Wednesday or Thursday. What you said makes Wednesday seem less sensible. Good thing my salvation doesn’t depend on understanding that question perfectly.

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  5. It’s pure mental exercise. I am an advocate of clear thinking. I disdain nebulous, shady lines of thought. Good, hard logic should usually carry the day.
    You are correct in stating salvation does not depend on complete knowedge of this minor point. I think more important things should be afoot, like why don’t people practice the golden rule? and so forth.
    There is no crazy reason why you opinion does not count. It’s the same reason my opinion doesn’t count: we don’t know all the facts. If we did we would be qualified to render a judgement.
    As it is we can speculate and wonder but nothing that carries weight.

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  6. It’s also very good mental exercise, I think. If we knew all the facts, we wouldn’t simply be qualified to render a judgement; we’d be God. Or we’d think of ourselves that way, anyhow. *G*

    Speculation is good. I think we hit on a lot of the truth in our discussions, don’t you? We just mau not always recognize it. *LOL*

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  7. I’m with you on this. I really look forward to this blog. I would like to see more people involved in the discussions. I have no idea why so few folks participate and add so little to the discussions. Seems like great fun to me. And it helps me to build a better mental picture of the man you are.
    As far as touching on the truth is concerned I think we are shaking the limbs of the most important tree in the world.

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