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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Best regards,
Roger