Some things in life do not lie, and math is one of them. With this in mind, please carefully consider the words that follow.
Jesus told His disciples that He would be in the grave three days and three nights - and the Gospels confirm that this was so.
So track with me a moment:
a. We know from scripture that Jesus was crucified at 9am and died at 3pm - at which point the temple veil was rent at the cry of "It is Finished!".
b. We know that Nicodemus and Joseph performed a hurried burial of His body so that He would not be on the cross when the Sabbath began. In Hebrew tradition, this would begin at nightfall - which means that by 6pm (or so) The Lord's body was in the grave.
c. We also know that Jesus rose from the grave on the first day of the week, before dawn on the day that we know as Sunday.
Quick summation: On the day that our Lord was crucified, He was out of His body by 3pm - and His Body was in the grave by sundown...
And here is where the math is tough on us...
There is NO WAY Friday Sundown to Sunday Sunrise can possibly equate to 3 days and 3 nights. It doesn't come close to adding up, and there's no way to stretch time in order to make it so. Either scripture is correct or it is false - but it cannot be both.
So if Jesus said that He would be in the grave for a certain integer of time (and He did), and if scripture would later attest that this was so (and it does) - then something is WAY OFF in the tradition that was forged by church fathers in the centuries that followed.
History is not always a pretty thing - and church history is no exception.
Here is the sad truth (easily confirmed through many sources): The earliest church fathers (of the 3rd century) had such a well-documented vitriol toward Jews that leaders were literally forbidden to adopt any tradition derived from Jewish sources. It was under this paradigm that Passover week was "broomed" in favor of "Good Friday" and "Easter" - and a new church tradition was formulated as though cut out of whole cloth. It is a testament to the power of the "bully pulpit" that so many would go for so long without questioning the simple math (or lack thereof) involved.
So here is where this all leads, and I strongly encourage you to thoroughly research the matter in order to equip yourself with the truth of this Holy Week. These facts do not comprise all the detail - for the subject is vast and wonderful.
"Good Friday" never existed. Instead, we should be calling it "Good Wednesday" - since the week of our Savior's great atoning sacrifice actually breaks-down as follows:
1. Tuesday evening at Sundown - The Last Supper in the Upper Room.
2. Tuesday night - Judas betrays Jesus and our Lord is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
3. Wednesday Morning - After a grueling night of beatings and trials, Pilot condemns The Lord to die by crucifixion. At 9am The Lord is crucified.
4. Wednesday Afternoon - The Lord completes His work at 3pm and dies.
5. Wednesday Evening - Sundown - The Lord's body is in the tomb. This begins NIGHT #1. Special Passover Sabbath begins.
6. Thursday - Special Passover Sabbath (a part of Passover week tradition going back millennia) - DAY #1
7. Thursday Evening - Special Sabbath ends at Sundown - NIGHT #2 begins.
8. Friday - DAY #2
9. Friday Evening - Normal weekly Sabbath begins at sundown (the 2nd Sabbath of this special week) - NIGHT #3 begins.
10. Saturday - Weekly Sabbath - DAY #3
11. Saturday Sundown - DAY #1 of the new week begins - Jesus Rises from The Tomb.
Bear in mind that the Jewish day (from the beginning) has always begun on the evening before the day in question. So when scripture accurately reports that The Lord was raised on the first day, it is technically speaking of Saturday evening - NOT Sunday morning.
REMEMBER: All four Gospels are clear that the women who went to attend to Yeshua's body found that the grave was already open and empty. John went so far as to state that Mary went to do this work while it was still dark - and found that it was empty.
So since this is "Good Wednesday" (at the time of this writing) I am commemorating the final hour of our Lord's exertions on the cross. On this day (during Passion Week) The Lord gave up His Spirit at the exact hour when the sacrificial lamb was slain for the sins of the Nation (3pm by tradition).
I am grateful to our Holy Father and to our Lord and Savior for the unspeakable wonder of Passover week and Resurrection Sunday. I hope you all have a glorious week in remembrance of all that Jesus did for His little ones in making this atoning sacrifice for every human soul. By His blood we are saved, and by His stripes we are healed.
Hallelujah to Lamb of God - slain for the sins of the world.
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett