What Weekday Was Christís Death?
There is one section of scripture that makes the whole chronology of the crucifixion to be understood in a reasonable way. That is Luke 24:21. When two disciples were walking on a road not far from Jerusalem, Christ met them and talked with them late on Sunday after his resurrection from the dead. They told Christ that the things associated with Christís crucifixion were events which had just recently happened: "today is the third day since these things were done." Now this reference rules out a Wednesday crucifixion and his resurrection on late Saturday afternoon as some have imagined because if Sunday afternoon was then the third day since the crucifixion, then the second day from the crucifixion would have been the day before (Saturday, or Sabbath), and the first day since the crucifixion would have been Friday, making the crucifixion on the day before - on a Thursday. This interpretation has the advantage of making the three days and nights that Christ was to be in the grave (as shown in Matthew 12:40) take on a literal meaning. Look at it a moment.
If Christ were crucified Thursday afternoon, then the rest of the daylight portion of the day could be reckoned in the statement "three days and three nights," with the daylight portion of Friday being day two, and the daylight portion of Saturday (or Sabbath) being the third daylight portion. Thus, the night portion would be Thursday night, also Friday night and then Saturday night making exactly "three days and three nights" if Christ were resurrected Sunday morning as the texts show that he was.
However, Luke who mentioned that late Sunday afternoon was the third day, always reckoned inclusively in all other texts in which he discussed time relationships. A notable example of this inclusive reckoning is in Luke 9:26 where he says a prominent event in Christís life occurred "eight days after" (Luke 9:28) whereas both Matthew and Mark said "after six days" (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2), There are several other instances where it can be shown that Luke always used the inclusive reckoning (that is, the first day was day "one" and the third day was day "three"). If this is what Luke means in Luke 24:21, then he is showing that Christ was crucified on Friday as the traditionalists state. Who knows for certain? As for me, I lean toward taking the statement of Matthew about Christ being in the grave for three days and three nights like Jonah was in the belly of the fish as an indication that three "day" periods and three "night" periods must have intervened during Christís time in the tomb. If this is the case, then a Thursday crucifixion date fits all the parameters pretty well.
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