Just How Long Did Jesus Stay In The Tomb?
Daniel Burke contributed to this article. Religion News Service is a news service dedicated to covering religious issues (RNS) As Christians throughout the world prepare to celebrate Easter, they will follow a well-known sequence of events: During Good Friday’s Passion Week, Jesus was crucified and arose from the dead on “the third day,” according to the ancient Nicene Creed. If Jesus died at 3 p.m. on Friday and was exhumed from his tomb by daybreak Sunday morning – around 40 hours later – how does it add up to three days in a calendar year?
Even Pope Benedict XVI, in his latest book, Jesus: Holy Week, about Christ’s last days, wrestles with the latter topic in the final chapter.
In the words of Marcus Borg, an advanced biblical scholar and co-author of the book The Last Week, which is about Holy Week, “the chronological problem is a bit of a mystery.” However, according to Borg and other researchers, the issue may be solved if you understand how first-century Jews measured time and if you give the four evangelists a little poetic license in their writing.
As a result, for them, Saturday night was Sunday.
- Using these techniques of counting, a backward computation from Sunday morning to Friday afternoon results in three days.
- “The Bible uses ambiguous expressions such as ‘three days’ and ’40 days,'” Borg explained.
- Evangelical New Testament scholar Ben Witherington, who teaches at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, concurred with the statement.
- His research has revealed that Gospel authors did not stroll about with sundials on their wrists in the same manner that current researchers walk around with wristwatches, according to the expert.
- What causes the most concern for these believers is Jesus’ own promise, recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, that he would rise from the grave after “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” This is the most worrying prophecy for these believers.
- John Behr, dean of St.
- The Didascalia Apostolorum, a third-century Christian treatise, took a more radical approach.
That viewpoint is still promoted by several Christian denominations on the periphery.
To put it another way, “Jesus made a false prophesy,” said Robert Miller, a professor of religion at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
According to Witherington, the purpose of Jesus’ prophesy is to draw a contrast to Jonah, who was ready to die in order to save his shipmates (and who spent three days in the belly of a great fish), rather than to establish a timeline for the Resurrection.
John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., Martin Connell, refers to the chronology dilemma as a “never-ending problem.” “Because the evidence is so uncertain and the evidence is so elastic, the argument will almost certainly continue indefinitely,” Connell said.
Some biblical scholars, such as Wahlen, believe Paul is alluding to a passage in the Book of Hosea, which states that God would “heal” and “restore” Israel after three days of affliction and suffering.
According to first-century custom, it was only after three days that you could be sure someone was dead; after four days, it was assumed that the spirit had left the body.
Jesus Wasn’t Crucified on Friday or Resurrected on Sunday: How long was Jesus in the tomb?
Daniel Burke is the author of this article. Religion News Service is a news service dedicated to covering religion and religious beliefs (RNS) Christianity will follow a well-known chronology as Christians throughout the world prepare for Easter: On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified, and on the third day, according to the old Nicene Creed, he was raised from the dead. If Jesus died at 3 p.m. on Friday and was exhumed from his tomb by daybreak Sunday morning – around 40 hours later – how does it add up to three days in the biblical calendar?
- Even Pope Benedict XVI, in his latest book, Jesus: Holy Week, about Christ’s last days, wrestles with the latter point in his conclusion.
- Days began at sundown for the Jews of Jesus’ day, a timetable that continues to influence Jewish holy days such as Shabbat today.
- According to Clinton Wahlen of the Seventh-day Adventist Biblical Research Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland, ancient Jews also utilized what scholars refer to as “inclusive counting,” which means that any part of a day is considered as a whole day.
- Some academics believe that the four apostles were not actually counting down the hours and minutes.
- Evangelical New Testament scholar Ben Witherington, who teaches at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, concurred with the sentiment.
- The expectation that the evangelists will keep track of time in the same way that modern men do is out of date, according to Witherington.
- ‘They weren’t dealing with accuracy in the same way that we were.’ However, for many Christians, especially those who believe that truth is synonymous with historical facts, accuracy, particularly when it comes to the Bible, has been a defining characteristic of their belief.
- The Very Rev.
Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York, explained that ancient Christian theologians such as Gregory of Nyssa and Cyril of Jerusalem attempted to reconcile that prophecy with the Holy Week calendar by counting the eclipse of the sun after Jesus’ death as a night, as did the author of the third-century Christian treatise Didascalia Apostolorum.
- That viewpoint is still promoted by a few fringe Christian denominations.
- “To put it another way, Jesus made a false prophesy, which is not something most Christians would like to put that way,” said Robert Miller, a professor of religion at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
- A scholar from St.
- The passage in Hosea, according to some scholars, such as Wahlen, suggests that Paul is referring to God’s promise to “heal” and “restore” Israel after three days.
It was believed that a person was dead after three days according to first-century tradition, and that the spirit had left the body after four days, according to second-century belief.
Traditional timing doesn’t add up
The Gospels are unequivocal in their assertion that Jesus died and that His corpse was swiftly put in the tomb late in the afternoon, just before nightfall, when the Jewish Sabbath started (John 19:30-42). According to the conventional “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” timetable, the period from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is one night and one day, or one night and one day. The period from Saturday night to Sunday morning is another night, giving us a total of two nights and one day. As a result, how can we obtain another night and two days to make the total of three days and three nights that Jesus promised would be spent in the tomb?
- In order to get around this, most theologians and religious experts argue that any part of a day or night qualifies as a day or night.
- The problem is that it does not function.
- Aside from that, the book of John 20:1 informs us that “on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early and saw that the stone had been lifted away from the tomb.” Did you notice something wrong here?
- Jesus had already been raised from the dead long before the sun came up.
- That leaves us with, at the most, a fraction of a day on Friday, the entirety of Friday night, the entirety of Saturday daytime, and the most of Saturday night.
- Something doesn’t seem to add up here.
- Obviously, neither of these statements can be true.
Understanding God’s time is the key
There is no doubt in the Gospels that Jesus died and that His corpse was quickly put in the tomb late in the afternoon, just before the Sabbath began (John 19:30-42). According to the conventional “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” calendar, the time span from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is one night and one day, or one night and one day and one night. We have two nights and one day from Saturday night to Sunday morning, for a total of three. The question is, how can we obtain another night and two days to make the total of 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb that Jesus promised us?
- In order to get around this, most theologians and religious experts argue that any part of a day or night qualifies as a day or night, respectively.
- Isn’t this a logical conclusion?
- Instead of three days and two nights, the total is three days and two nights.
- It was still dark when Mary went to the tomb on Sunday morning and discovered that it was empty, according to the Gospel of John.
- Consequently, He wasn’t in the tomb during any of the daylight hours of Sunday, and so none of that time can be considered a day in the traditional sense.
- The overall time spent in the tomb is one full day and part of another, as well as one full night and the majority of another—still at least a full day and a full night short of the time Jesus predicted He would stay in the tomb.
Unquestionably, something is not adding up. One of two things happened: either Jesus misspoke about how long He would stay in the tomb, or the “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” time frame is not scriptural or authentic. Both of these statements are obviously false. The question now is, which is correct.
Two kinds of “Sabbaths” lead to confusion
Because it was the Preparation Day, and because the corpses could not be left on the cross on the Sabbath (because it was a high day on that Sabbath), the Jews petitioned Pilate to have their legs severed and their bodies removed off the cross, as John 19:31 explains. Cooking and housecleaning were done on the day before a Sabbath in order to avoid working on God’s appointed day of rest, according to Jewish tradition at the time. So the day before the Sabbath was referred to as “the preparation day” by the Jewish community.
WhichSabbath do you want to celebrate?
Because of John’s unequivocal assertion, the majority of people believe Jesus died and was buried on a Friday—hence the conventional belief that Jesus was crucified and died on “Good Friday”—and this is correct.
Because traditional Christianity long ago abandoned these biblical annual Sabbath days (as well as the weekly Sabbath), for many centuries people have failed to recognize what the Gospels plainly tell us about when Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected—and why “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” never occurred in this manner as a result of their neglect.
- You’ll see in John 19:31that he gives an explanation as to why “that Sabbath was ahigh day”—”high day” being a phrase that is used to distinguish the seven yearly Sabbaths from the normal weekly Sabbath days.
- It is recorded in the Gospels that on the evening before Jesus was convicted and killed, He celebrated the Passover with His apostles and disciples (Matthew 26:19-20;Mark 14:16-17;Luke 22:13-15).
- According to Leviticus 23, which lists God’s feasts, the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the day following the Passover, which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:5-6).
- God’s yearly Sabbath begins on this day, which is the beginning of the year.
- There are a number of Bible commentaries, encyclopedias, and dictionaries that point out that John is referring to an annual Sabbath day rather than the ordinary weekly Sabbath day here.
- Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples before being arrested later that night.
The arrangement and time of these days are revealed in Leviticus 23, and the events of the Gospels match the sequence in which they occurred.
Jesus crucified on Wednesday, not Friday
There are a number of computer software tools available that allow us to determine when the Passover and God’s other festivals will take place in any particular year. That year, A.D. 31, the year of these occurrences, the Passover supper was eaten on Tuesday night, and Wednesday dusk marked the beginning of the “high day,” or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which began at sundown on Thursday afternoon. As a result, Jesus was killed and buried on a Wednesday afternoon, rather than on Friday.
The habit of celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday is just neither accurate or scriptural.
We can, in fact, do it!
Because Jesus’ body was put in the tomb shortly before the beginning of the high-day Sabbath, the women did not have time to go out and purchase the spices before the Sabbath began.
As a result, according to Mark, they purchased the spices “after the Sabbath had passed.” But take note of another eye-opening detail in Luke 23:55-56: ” “And the ladies who had traveled with Him from Galilee trailed behind, taking note of the tomb and the manner in which His corpse was buried.
- Then, in accordance with the law, they took the Sabbath day off.” Do you think there’s an issue here?
- Consequently, they purchased the spices after the Sabbath and then prepared the spices before to the Sabbath’s resting period.
- Indeed, once we realize that two separate Sabbaths are being referenced, the dilemma is no longer an issue.
- After then, Luke informs us that the women prepared the spices, which would have taken place on Friday, and that after that, “they rested on the Sabbath according to the law,” which would have taken place on Saturday.
- As a “high day,” the first Sabbath occurred on Thursday, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was the first day of the week.
- The ancient Greek language in which the Gospels were written also makes it clear that two Sabbath days were engaged in the events described in these narratives.
When was Jesus resurrected?
As we have seen, Jesus Christ was executed and buried on a Wednesday, right before the yearly Sabbath started, rather than on the weekly Sabbath as previously believed. So, when did He rise from the dead? As previously stated, John 20:1 informs us that “on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.” When Mary discovered the tomb empty, the sun had not yet risen—”it was still dark,” John tells us—and the day had not yet begun.
- So, when exactly did this happen?
- In the same way that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the depths of the earth, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:36.
- As we have demonstrated, Jesus was entombed — that is, he was deposited “in the heart of the ground” — right before dusk on a Wednesday, just before sunset.
- We’ll be at the end of the day on Thursday at sunset after one day and one night.
- After a third day and night, we arrive on Saturday evening at dusk.
- Does this make sense in light of the Scriptures?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to His own words and the details recorded in the Gospels, had to have occurred three days and three nights after His burial, near sunset at the end of the weekly Sabbath, even though no one was present to witness it (which took place inside a sealed tomb guarded by armed guards).
The habit of celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday is just neither accurate or scriptural.
The words of the angel of God, who astonished the ladies when they discovered the empty tomb, have been proven correct: “Do not be frightened, for I am aware that you are seeking for Jesus, who has been crucified, and I will assist you.
Religious customs and notions that are not backed by Scripture should not be held upon.
Make certain that your personal religious ideas and practices are solidly established in the Bible before proceeding. Willing to make a commitment to worship God in accordance with biblical truth rather than human custom, are you?
On What Day Did Jesus Rise?
The May/June 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is available online. Biblical Perspectives is a weekly column. Staff of the Biblical Archaeology Society On November 16, 20217, there were 107196 views and 107196 comments. What day did Jesus resurrect from the dead? Is it better to wait three days or to wait until the third day? During his Biblical Views column, “It’s About Time—Easter Time,” which appeared in the May/June 2016 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ben Witherington III explores this subject in further depth.
“It’s About Time—Easter Time”
Anachronism is a hazard that arises when reading ancient books like the Bible in the twenty-first century. By this I mean that we risk introducing damaging current notions and expectations into our readings. This challenge becomes much more serious when dealing with old manuscripts, which have significant historical significance and are thus difficult to interpret. What day did Jesus resurrect from the dead? Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome visited Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning to anoint his corpse (Mark 16:1–2), as shown in Henry Osawa Tanner’s painting “The Three Marys” (1910).
- To provide an example, we are a people who are fascinated with time — and with accuracy when it comes to time — to the millisecond level.
- When it came to the passage of time, they did not stress over accuracy.
- Jesus promised that he would rise from the dead “after three days,” according to certain sources.
- In fact, the time reference should be avoided entirely.
In Mark 8:31, on the other hand, Jesus declares, “The Son of Man will rise from the dead after three days.” In John 2:19, he refers to the same event as taking place “in three days,” and the Gospel authors tell us that Jesus used the term “on the third day” on a number of occasions (see, e.g., Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 24:46).
- While it is feasible that both forecasts will be incorrect, is it really possible that both will be correct?
- Furthermore, the term “after three days” in the New Testament might simply indicate “after a time” or “after a few days” without any obvious specificity other than to hint that multiple days, in this case portions of three days, would be engaged in the event.
- “Come to me again after three days,” says the Bible’s Second Chronicles 10:5, 12.
- According to my interpretation, the term “after three days” is a more generic or imprecise way of expressing, but “on the third day” is a little more particular (albeit it still doesn’t tell us when it is on the third day).
When it comes to time, these books were not written in a way that would suit our present high expectations.
Become a Member ofBiblical Archaeology SocietyNow and Get More Than Half Off the Regular Price of the All-AccessPass!
With an All-Access pass, you may access more than 9,000 articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extensive collection, as well as much more. We must recognize that most of the time references in the New Testament are not precise, and we must give the ancient author the freedom to be general when he wants to be general and more specific when he wants to be more specific. This is one of the keys to understanding how the New Testament interprets time references. When you find both types of references to the time span between Jesus’ death and resurrection in the same book by the same author, and in some cases even within close proximity to each other, it is reasonable to conclude that these texts were not written in accordance with our modern exacting expectations when it comes to time references.
- I believe it is past time for us to accord these ancient authors the respect they deserve and to read them with a knowledge of the standards they followed when writing ancient history or ancient biography, rather than imposing our later genre norms on them, as we have done in the past.
- This article has been updated.
- Ben Witherington III is the Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and a member of the doctoral faculty of St.
- He received his bachelor’s degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.
Read Ben Witherington III, Reading and Learning the Bible, for assistance in understanding how to read the Bible in light of its original settings (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).
Related reading in Bible History Daily:
When Was the First Holy Communion Celebrated? Even yet, Jesus’ Last Supper was not a Passover meal. The Herod’s Jerusalem Palace Remains are on Display During a Seder Meal Tour— The site of Jesus’ trial is a possibility. And Why It Really Does Make a Difference The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Really Does Make a Difference What Method Was Used to Seal Jesus’ Tomb?
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Why Did Jesus Wait Three Days to Rise from the Dead?
You are here: Home/Redeeming Theology/Why Did Jesus Wait Three Days to Rise from the Dead? Why Did Jesus Wait Three Days to Rise from the Dead? This may seem like an inconsequential topic, but why did Jesus have to wait three days before rising from the dead? By this I mean that when He died, He had totally atoned for all the sins of the entire human race. He could have risen right then and then, jumped down from the cross, brushed himself off and called it a day. But why didn’t He simply do it?
Why not cover yourself in burial clothing and rise at some point during the first night?
To prove He was dead
Some would claim that He had to remain in the tomb for three days in order to demonstrate that He was no longer alive. There is, after all, the “swoon theory,” according to which Jesus did not actually die, but rather became unconscious while on the cross. I guess that if Jesus “resurrected” from the dead two minutes after he died on the cross, this explanation would be much more compelling. However, once Jesus is buried in the tomb for three days, this idea is rendered completely ineffective.
Why didn’t Jesus simply wait seven days to demonstrate that He was no longer alive?
Although these lengthier times may be ignored, I believe they should be because God did not want Jesus to see degradation (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:27).
To fulfill prophecy
It has been suggested that Jesus needed to spend three days in the grave in order to fulfill prophesy. Which prophesy are we talking about? a sign from Jonah, who spent three days in the belly of a massive fish (cf. Matt 12:39-40). However, we must proceed with caution since the narrative of Jonah is not actually a prophecy in the traditional sense. No doubt, Jesus foretold that He would be dead for three days, just as Jonah was imprisoned in the fish for three days, but if Jesus had never stated anything like this, there would have been no such thing as a prophesy about spending three days in the grave.
Why couldn’t Jesus have made a connection between His death and the creation of the world, and spoken a prophecy along the lines of “Just as the world was created in six days, and on the sixth day, Adam was raised from the dust of the earth, so also, after six days, the Son of Man will rise from the dust” (Genesis 1:26-27)?
In the Bible, Jesus could have picked any number of events and accounts and transformed them into a prophesy about how long He would stay in the tomb. What was it about the narrative of Jonah that drew His attention? What is it about three days that is so special?
To increase faith
Another probable explanation is that Jesus wished to boost the trust of His disciples by this event. They were forced to examine why they had followed Him and if He was indeed the Messiah as a result of His failure to revive immediately. Their sadness at having lost Him, as well as the issues of what would have occurred if they had not followed Him, or if they had defended Him more vigorously, or whether they had just been tricked, were all difficult to deal with. Through his decision to wait three days, Jesus gave them the opportunity to work through some of their difficulties and questions.
It is reasonable to assume that three days will accomplish this; yet, why not seven, twelve, or forty days, all of which are major biblical numbers?
Could not rise during the Sabbath
As resurrection is seen to constitute labour, it may be claimed that Jesus could not rise on the Sabbath, but instead had to wait until the Sabbath was finished. This is an argument that does have some validity. However, Jesus was constantly engaging in activities on the Sabbath that were frowned upon by other Jewish people, like healing on the Sabbath. As a result, it appears He may have been reared on the Sabbath as well.
Acting as our High Priest
Perhaps Jesus was occupied with “doing something” in paradise, hell, and heaven at the same time. Typical High Priestly duties include things such as sprinkling blood on the altar in heaven, victorious victories over sin, death, and the devil, and preaching to spirits in prison, among other things (Hebrews 9; 1 Pet 3:19). This is something that I believe is possible. It just does not explain why these tasks took three days to do.
It doesn’t matter
Maybe it doesn’t make a difference. Perhaps everything happened at random. Perhaps Jesus chose a number out of thin air and chose Jonah as a method of making a prophesy about it in order to demonstrate that He could anticipate the future, which would then demonstrate that He was a prophet of God when the prophecy came true. The number of days spent in the grave, on the other hand, is meaningless. It just so happens to be the one that Jesus choose. All I can say is that I’m having trouble with this since the biblical authors seem to lay so much emphasis on Jesus’ three days in the grave.
But that’s all right since.
The important thing is that Jesus rose
We can all agree on this point. Perhaps the topic of why Jesus remained in the tomb for three days is an useless one that only theologians should consider. The key thing to remember is that Jesus resurrected from the grave, and for this we may give God praise and thanks for all of eternity. It is difficult to comprehend why Jesus remained in the tomb for three days. But the most crucial thing to remember is that He rose from the dead!
Theologians like asking these kinds of questions about Scripture, theology, and Jesus, but at the end of the day, what it all boils down to is trusting God for what He has done for us in Jesus Christ, even if we do not grasp all of the specifics of what God has done.
The cross of Jesus is CENTRAL to everything!
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Why Did Jesus Return to Earth After Resurrecting?
One of the reasons Jesus remained on earth for 40 days after His resurrection rather than immediately going into heaven was to show to His disciples that He was, in fact, still alive. After all, they were well aware that Jesus had been executed by the Roman authorities and that His body had been removed from the cross and placed in a burial tomb. And when that happened, they were overwhelmed with sorrow and anxiety, and many of them even went into hiding to avoid being discovered. They had been under the impression that Jesus was the anticipated Messiah—and now their expectations had been dashed.
However, when Jesus came among them following the resurrection, their lives were forever altered.
The Lord appeared to several groups of disciples over those 40 days, demonstrating to them beyond any reasonable question that he had been risen from the grave by the power of God.
Another reason, however, for Jesus’s continued presence on earth was to instruct and equip His followers for the mission of teaching the rest of the world about Him and His message.
Jesus left His followers with an assignment: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).Wondering if that command is still relevant?
QuestionAnswer On the cross, after saying, “It is done,” Jesus bent his head and surrendered his spirit, according to the Bible (John 19:30). When Jesus died on the crucifixion, his corpse stayed there until it was brought down and laid in a neighboring tomb (John 19:40–42). His spirit, on the other hand, was somewhere else. Thirty-two hours later, He was raised from the dead by the reunification of his body and spirit (John 20). There has been some debate concerning where Jesus was during the three days between His death and resurrection—that is, where His spirit was during that time period.
- During Jesus’ entry into His kingdom, the believing thief requests to be remembered, and Jesus responds, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42).
- As a result, upon His death, Jesus was taken to the region of blessing where God resides—heaven.
- Another text is frequently cited in the debate of where Jesus was during the three days that elapsed between His death and His resurrection.
- According to this understanding, the spirits Jesus addressed may have been either demonic or human in nature, but not both.
- Peter does not tell us what Jesus said to the spirits that were imprisoned, but it could not have been a message of redemption since angels cannot be rescued, as we know from the Bible (Hebrews 2:16).
- However, there is another reading of the text from 1 Peter.
- The fact that Jesus had “in spirit” taught to the people of Noah’s day while they were still alive on earth is provided by Peter as a footnote to the passage.
- The wordnow in 1 Peter 3:19 is included for clarity in the Amplified Bible and the New American Standard Bibles of 1977 and 1995, and it contrasts with the words “long ago” (NIV) and “formerly” (ESV) in 1 Peter 3:20.
The Amplified Bible and the New American Standard Bibles of 1977 and 1995 include the wordnow in 1 To further understand, consider the following paraphrase of 1 Peter 3:18–20: When Jesus died in the flesh, He was raised to life in the Spirit (it was by means of this same Spirit that Jesus preached to those who are currently imprisoned—those souls who rebelled during the period of God’s great patience when Noah was constructing the ark).
The prophet Noah was used by Jesus to teach spiritually to the people of Noah’s day, according to this viewpoint.
Another verse, Ephesians 4:8–10, is cited in the explanation of Jesus’ actions during the three days that elapsed between His death and resurrection.
According to the English Standard Version, Christ “led a multitude of prisoners.” Some believe that phrase alludes to an occurrence that is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, namely, that Jesus gathered all of the saved who were in paradise and transported them to their eternal home in heaven.
Another interpretation of Ephesians 4 is that the phrase “ascended up high” is a direct allusion to Jesus’ ascension.
In His triumph, Jesus had beaten and captured our spiritual adversaries, including the devil, death, and the curse of sin, and He had taken them captive.
The only thing we can be certain of is that, according to Jesus’ own words on the cross, He was taken up to be with the Father in paradise.
As well as this, we may confidently state that because His work of salvation was completed, Jesus did not have to suffer in hell. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) What happened to Jesus during the three days that elapsed between His death and resurrection?
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What was the significance of Jesus being dead for three days?
QuestionAnswer There are a variety of reasons why it is noteworthy that Jesus was dead for three days prior to His resurrection. First and foremost, Jesus’ opponents were convinced that He had genuinely risen from the grave after three days of death because of his resurrection after three days of death. Why? Jewish tradition holds that the soul or spirit of a person remains with his or her dead body for three days after death. After three days, the soul/spirit was no longer with us. If Jesus’ resurrection had taken place on the same day, or even the following day, it would have been much simpler for His opponents to claim that He had never actually died in the first place.
The fulfillment of biblical prophecy was a second reason why it was necessary for Jesus to be dead for three days before rising again.
Some interpret Hosea 6:1–3 as a prophesy of the Messiah’s resurrection after three days, saying, “Come, let us return to the LORD.
He will resurrect us after two days, and on the third day, he will restore us so that we may live in the presence of the Lord.
It is certain that he will arrive, just as certain as the sun will rise; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring showers that water the ground.” These three days were crucial in other ways as well, according to the text Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 15:4 when he says that Jesus “was risen on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Jesus died on a Friday, Nisan 14, the day of the Passover lamb’s sacrifice, marking the end of the Jewish year.
His death reflects the death of a flawless, immaculate sacrifice made on our behalf by the Father in heaven.
Hence the importance of Jesus being dead for three days prior to His resurrection, as explained in the Gospel of John.
(2) Because Jesus Himself said that it would take three days.
The Bible does not specify exactly why three days were required between Jesus’ death and resurrection, except from these two reasons. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) The fact that Jesus had been dead for three days had a significant meaning.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
The level of artistry with which The Gospel According to Matthewwas written never ceases to astound me. This isn’t simply some haphazard attempt by a lone individual to document the events of his life. No, Matthew wasn’t a shady writer in the traditional sense. Mattew put together a masterpiece that, like any genuinely great narrative, instills perspective and inspires understanding while constantly directing us to the true Christ. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit and learned from Jesus’ brilliance by actually walking with Him and learning from His teaching.
Matthew’s Gospel points us in the right way in this regard.
Revealing Christ is our current series where we are delving further into the Scriptures of Matthew 15:29 – 17:23, where Peter declared Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of God,” and where Peter, James, and John witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration.
3 Times Jesus Foretold His DeathResurrection
It is in Matthew 16:21 (ESV) that we find the first prophecy, which states: “From that point on, Jesus started to teach his followers that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elder and chief priest and scribes, and be crucified, and on the third day be risen.” (Matthew 16:21, English Standard Version) Matthew distinguishes this section from the others by beginning it with the words “From that time.” The usage of this word earlier in the book, when Matthew uses it to stress the commencement and direction of Jesus’ mission while stating His primary message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” may bring this phrase back to your memory (Matthew 4:17 ESV).
- In the same way, Matthew used the word in this passage to call our attention to the direction in which Jesus’ ministry is now heading.
- “You are the Christ, the Son of God,” Peter responded when Jesus went further and asked who the disciples believed He was (Matthew 16:16 ESV).
- This prophecy of His own death and resurrection aimed to let people recognize Him as Christ in the proper light, for to confess Him as Christ while denying Him the cross would be to have incorrect expectations of what He was capable of.
- I promise you that this will never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22 ESV).
I can’t help but think of the scene from The Chronicles of Narnia: When it comes to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, In the middle of the night, Susan and Lucy are strolling with Aslan through the woods, gripping his mane and falling in love with him, only to realize that they are actually travelling with him to the Stone Table.
- Of course, the news that Jesus imparted would be devastating to Peter and the rest of the disciples.
- There is good news beyond Jesus’ death, although it appears to have escaped Peter’s awareness, and that good news is that Jesus will be risen from the grave on the third day.
- Death, on the other hand, having been overcome, shows Him to be the genuine and better King; the suffering Servant promised by the prophet Isaiah.
- Not only do we read the recorded interaction between Jesus and His followers, but as we read the tale, our gaze is drawn to the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well.
- In Matthew 17, Jesus foreshadowed the events leading up to His own death and resurrection for the second time.
- Matthew, on the other hand, goes on to describe two further events in which Jesus disclosed these truths to His followers.
A few of the disciples had just witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration and heard the voice of the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” In this second instance, the disciples had actually just witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration and heard the Father say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matt.
At the very least, Jesus’ motivation to live and die in complete surrender to His Father’s will, knowing that His Father’s goals and mission are the best shows itself in this prophecy when considered in its context.
You will notice that there was no reply this time; there was simply distress, and because Matthew’s account moves on to a different scenario directly after this paragraph, we should feel the weight of this essential pause at the end of this verse in Matthew 17:22-23 (ESV): In Galilee, while they were assembling, Jesus appeared to them and told them, “The Son of Man is going to be put into the hands of mankind, and they will murder him, and he will be risen on the third day.” And they were in a great deal of anguish.
Third and last point: Jesus’ prophecies about His own death and resurrection add to the dramatic tension of this most ultimate of redemption stories.
Let’s get ready.” After that, the Son of Man will be handed up to the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles to be ridiculed, flogged, and crucified, after which he will be resurrected on the third day.” Jesus and His followers had embarked on a journey to the city of Jerusalem from Galilee.
- Jesus had not informed them when or where His death and resurrection would take place; all He had told them was that it was coming, that it was essential, and that He was fully committed to the mission.
- By the time they arrived at their final objective of Jerusalem, which they were well on their way there, the time for these occurrences would have come.
- To some extent, this proof of His foresight speaks volumes about His divinity, and Matthew is surely conveying this point for his audience with this storyline.
- The betrayal and execution of Jesus would be gruesome, with beatings, blood, and a crucifixion among the many horrors that would befall him.
There would be no such thing as a half-hearted belief. You’d have to be completely convinced that Jesus is who He claims to be, that His is the only path to genuine life, and that it’s definitely worth it to push through the muck and gloom in order to see the beauty.
Moving Forward Together
When we get to this third section at Redemption Church, as we continue our journey through Matthew, we will be officially kicking off Lent as a community of believers. We don’t normally do much in the way of Lent observance around here, but just as Advent is tied to Christmas, Lent is tied to the Passion of Christ and the celebration of the Resurrection. A period of preparation is underway, and we will be encouraging you to walk through that season intentionally; knowing that at the end of the road lies a bloody cross and our Saviour, who rose from the dead and is God with us.
As we come to see Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, and the Savior, may we also recognize that in order for any of this to be real, He had to take the route of the cross.
May we purposefully prepare ourselves to answer the call for His glory and our delight, as we discover that there is abundant grace and restoration for all of us as we lean into the brokenness and muck that lies before us.