Tag Archives: Crucifixion

When was Jesus Crucified and when was the Resurrection?

I believe there is great Biblical justification for Thursday being the day of the crucifixion. It is the fifth day of the week (a number often associated with death in the Bible). It would satisfy Sunday being called “the third day since these things were done” (as in Luke 24:21). It would also allow for three days and three nights, although not necessarily 72 hours (something not necessarily is required by the statement in Matthew 12:40). The nights would be a partial day on Thursday, then all day Friday and Saturday. The nights would be Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. I think Thursday would  satisfy the statements of all the scriptures involved.

There are those who argue that Jesus was crucified on Friday by citing that the Jews were determined that Jesus be buried before the Sabbath that followed the day of preparation (Luke 23:53-54; Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; John 19:31). Since the Sabbath is on Saturday, then He must have been crucified on Friday. However, two things need to be carefully noted. First, this Sabbath was after the day of preparation. This linked it to the annual feast of the Passover. The fourteenth day of the first month at even was the Lord’s Passover (Leviticus 23:5) and was a day of preparation. The next day, the fifteenth day, was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. It was an annual Sabbath. It was called an high day–“for that Sabbath day was an high day” (John 19:31). It was not a normal Sabbath; it was one of the annual Sabbaths.

Most Bible teachers make this annual Sabbath also the weekly Sabbath, but this is not necessary. A weekly Sabbath was always on Saturday. However, an annual Sabbath could be on any day of the week. This was because an annual Sabbath was connected to a date of the year. And, just as anyone’s birthday is not always on the same day of the week, so these annual Sabbaths occurred on different days.

Where do we get the concept of annual Sabbaths? We get it from Leviticus 23, the chapter that gives the original feast days for Israel, we see some special days being called Sabbaths. “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:24). Leviticus 23:39 says of the first and last days of the feast of tabernacles: “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.” Therefore, the feast of trumpets and the first and last days of the eight-day feast of tabernacles are all called Sabbaths. However, these days are connected to calendar days of the year. Therefore, they will vary as to what day of the week they occur. So, they are annual and not necessarily weekly Sabbaths.

The requirement for an annual Sabbath seems to be that it is called an holy convocation and no work (“servile work”) is to be done on this days (just like the weekly Sabbath). This brings us back to the day of Passover (the 14th) and the first day of firstfruits (the 15th). The fourteenth day of the first month is not called a holy convocation. Therefore, work can be done on that day (we suppose work like crucifixion). However, though the fifteenth day of the first month is not specifically called a Sabbath, it meets the qualifications and therefore is an annual Sabbath. Of this first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the law says, “In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein” (Leviticus 23:7). No doubt, this is the Sabbath that so troubled the Jews concerning the burial of Jesus. This leaves the door open for the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbath to be on different days. And, since there is no possible way to get Jesus in the grave for three days and three nights between Friday and Sunday, that is clearly the correct answer.

Some Things about Jesus’ Death

One of the most tragic things that have ever happened in the world is the gruesome and ruthless death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  When you think that he did nothing wrong to deserve such treatment it makes the thought yet more sobering.  I don’t think that any one of us can ever relate to what He endured.  He had only done well for the nation of Israel and the recorded accounts of His life never reveal any violent actions at all.  In fact, they all seem to be peaceful except when dealing with the Pharisees and religious hypocrites.  Even then, there is never any account of violence towards them.  On the contrary, he loved them enough to tell them where they were wrong in an effort to get them to do right.  He was a man who was meek and peaceful yet at the same time hard and steadfast.  To add to His treatment, when we read the Bible, it is hard to think that it was His own people who were crying out for His death.  It was the very people whom He was a part of that were pummeling Him and spitting on Him with frenzied jeers of contempt.  He was treating them in the most honorable way anyone could who loved someone.  At the same time, they were treating Him with the most contempt that anyone could be treated.  It is a sad picture to say the least, and I am glad I was not there to witness it.

 As I think of every punch, slap, shove and strap He received, I become more mixed in feelings inside.  When I imagine every stripe of the scourging; every rip in His body, every grimace of agony on His face, I become angry.  When I come to the cruel crown of thorns placed upon His already bruised and puffy face, I want to do something about it.  At every turn in the punishment where He could have just said something to end it all, I wonder why He didn’t.  Why didn’t He speak to end it all?  When every drop of blood streamed from His body, leaving a trail of goodness throughout a world of wickedness, I wonder why He did not just call the angels from His heavenly kingdom to end it all and prove to the Jews and Gentiles alike that He was a king to be feared.  My hatred grows for the Pharisees, Scribes and Philosophers of the day.  I want to fight.  I want to do something to stand by Him, but I am frozen in my fear.  Something is holding me back.  Something deep within is not allowing me to move from my spot.  How glad I am that I am not there, but alas I am.  I am there in the imagination of my soul, and it is as real as if I were there that fateful day.  I am ashamed.

 Peter is not the only one who has denied Him.  The world is full of people today who deny Him, although their state is much worse than mine.  They ignorantly go about their daily activities as if He never existed.  They are truly ignorant of every thought of Him, but I cannot be.  My anger for the Pharisees who called for His crucifixion, and sought false witnesses, is real and present.  When Pilate offered to let one prisoner go, they called for Barabas.  When asked what they wanted to do to Jesus, they called out for His crucifixion.  And so it began: The sad and bloody journey up to Golgotha.

 He is carrying the burden of His very own cross, but it seems as if there is something much more, because He staggers under its very weight.  He clings to it for support, barely able to lift the heavy load.  He is leaving a trail of blood behind Him.  The Roman soldiers are taking every opportunity to strike Him.  His own people are jeering with contempt for Him.  They are under the Pharisees spell.  They sit comfortably upon their mules, their faces stream pride for their, yet another, accomplishment.  I loathe them.  Surely they could have a little mercy.  How can there be no compassion for the beating of any human being beyond the point He is at?  His eyes are puffed up and are barely able to open, yet the cruel blows continue to fall.  His hands are shaking under the intense pain.  He staggers, but still bears the heavy burden, and once again I would like to help Him, but I cannot.  How can the Pharisees allow this barbarism?  What is it in the heart of the people that drives them to such frenzied acts of violence?  How can any human being be so grossly vicious?

 My mind cannot process all that is being taken in.  Why?  How?  He stumbles under the burden and I want to help Him, but I am fixed in one place.  By chance, (Is it by chance?), our eyes make contact.  Through all of the suffering; through all of the pain, through all of His spilled blood, it’s as if He is conveying to me a calm and merciful forgiveness.  I feel torn.  Why do I receive such a gaze?  I have inflicted no blow.  I have brought down no whip?  I have not spit into His face, nor even jeered at Him.  I have felt no contempt for Him at all.  It is then that I realize: each blow He receives if because of me.  The bruised eyes, crown of thorns, and open wounds are as if I put every single one of them there my very self.  It is not the Pharisees, nor is it Pilate or the Roman soldiers.  It is not because of Judas (His betrayer).  It is not because of any skeptic.  It is I who has inflicted this pain upon Him, for I have sinned.

 He suffers because of the sin of the whole world, of which I am a part.  I cannot even say that each wound that He bears represents a sin that I have committed, for I have sinned much more than the stripes that I see upon Him.  My anger is now redirected from the Pharisees and their foolish pride, to me and mine.  The thought is sobering and does not remain long in my head, before immediately moving to the deepest regions of my heart.  The thought, like a dagger, has pierced me to my very core, and I feel that I must now do something: I must ask for His forgiveness.  But, the crowd is too many.  The soldiers are too good at their jobs of keeping back the crowd.  I push and strain, but there is no gap in the crowd where I can make my way to Him.  I am completely cut off.  For the first time in my life I know what it is to be: undone.  It is my sin that brought this upon Him.  Mine and mine alone.

 People do not realize that.  They blindly go through life as if it belongs to them, but it does not.  They are completely oblivious of the Love that the Lord paid for their redemption to Him.  Somehow, we are under the impression that it is the Jews who killed their King, but it is not.  It is our sin that has brought this sad state of affairs upon the very King of Glory.  We ought to ponder this from time to time and never live outside of its sober parameters.  Forgive me Lord.