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Was Jesus Crucified on Thursday or Friday?
Page 1: Introduction and Time of Death

There are some discussions that usually come up around Easter time about when Jesus really died. Was it Friday as tradition tells us? Or was it Thursday? Some have even postulated that Jesus died on Wednesday. In general, these theories have stemmed from Jesus' statement that He would be dead for "three days and three nights."

"For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40)

"And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again." (Mark 8:31)

"and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.'" (Matthew 27:63)

The question at hand is what did Jesus and others mean when they said "three days and three nights"? Were they talking about 72 hours? In our very western way of thinking this is an easy question to answer, but from a first century Jewish perspective the answer may be different. The purpose of this document is to explore from a biblical perspective and try to uncover the correct day that Jesus died.

Time of Death

According to scripture, Jesus died at about 3pm. So while the day may not be perfectly clear, the time is fairly clear.

"Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, "This man is calling for Elijah." And immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him." And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." (Matthew 27:45-50)

"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" And when some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, "Behold, He is calling for Elijah." And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down." And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last." (Mark 15:34-37)

So the bible tells us that Jesus died sometime around the 9th hour of the day (9 hours after the sun had risen). The ninth hour would be about our 3pm in the afternoon. At that point there was a rush to get him buried because the Sabbath was pending. The question that needs to be answered was which Sabbath.

Which Sabbath? -->

 Article info: 
By: Bill Smith

 This Series: 
1 Introduction and Time of Death
2 Which Sabbath?
3 "The Third Day"
4 "Three Days and Three Nights"
5 Making Sense of the Passover

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