TODAY’S READING: MATTHEW 27-28
The King’s trial (chapter 26:57-27:26); the King’s suffering and death (chapter 27:77-66); the King’s victory (chapter 28).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Based on Hebrews 9:16-17, we will actually enter the New Testament in our reading today: “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” That is foreign to our typical thinking, but as we’ve been learning, it is key to keeping our bearings in what we commonly refer to as the New Testament.
Obviously, today’s reading is rich and full and running over with many things worthy of commentary. Because most of those comments you could make yourself, perhaps the best investment of our time today would be in discussing the time factors involved in the last week of our Saviour’s life on the earth.
Traditionally, most have taught through the centuries, that Jesus died on what we call “Good Friday.” The tradition was handed down, however, through the Roman Catholic Church. That, in and of itself, does not necessarily make it wrong (because they also believe in the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His bodily resurrection, etc.), but anything handed down through that church should always raise about ten trillion red flags! May I go on record that I absolutely love Roman Catholics, but I absolutely hate their church! To date, a full one-sixth of the world’s population professes to be Roman Catholic. While this system refers to itself as “Christian” (the word Catholic actually means “universal Christianity”), they propagate what II Cor. 11:4 calls, “another Jesus;” “another spirit;” and “another gospel.” That church damns people’s souls to Hell, while they’re thinking they “believe in Jesus.” It is damnably deceptive, and that is the reason for such strong, and see!
mingly harsh sounding statements. (See Jesus’ commendation of the church in Ephesus in Rev. 2:1-2.) Our hearts should truly break for people trapped in that system, and be constantly looking for and praying for opportunities to be able to love them past the blinders the enemy uses to hold them captive in his snare (II Tim. 2:26).
Back to the discussion at hand. The key problem with the death of Christ taking place on “Good Friday” is that Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 – “For as Jonas (Jonah) was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (See also, Matt.16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 27:63; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 13:32; 18:33; 24:46; John 2:19). Obviously, if Christ died on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. and was in the grave before 6:00, there is not enough time for Him to have been in the grave for three days and three nights. The way that most well-meaning people who love God certainly as much as I do, (and to be quite honest, are much more intelligent than me!) get around this, is saying that in the Jewish mind of Jesus’ day, any portion of a day was considered the whole. That may well be the case, and may well have been what Jesus had in mind, I’ve just always had a hard time with how specific Jesus seem!
ed to be about the “three days and three nights.”
Instead of “Good Friday,” let’s consider a “Bad Wednesday” scenario, which I think fits far better. Don’t worry, I’m not the kook that “invented” this line of reasoning, and there are many who agree with this time line that has been suggested by Warren Wiersbe and others:
*Keep in mind that the Jewish day began at sundown the previous day (i.e. “the evening and the morning we’re the first day” – Gen. 1:5).
Fri: Jesus came to Bethany six days before Passover (John 12:1).
Sat: Triumphal Entry (John 12:12-19 – “on the next day”).
Sun: Temple cleansed, fig tree cursed (Mark 11:12-18).
Mon: Parables, questions, Olivet discourse (Matt. 21:23-25:46).
Tue: Preparation for Passover (Matt. 26:2 – “after two days”).
Wed: Upper room events; Gethsemane; arrest; trials; crucifixion (Matt. 26:20-27:58).
Thurs: The Passover Sabbath, “an high day” (John 19:31); in tomb.
Fri: Women brought spices when Passover Sabbath was past (Mark 16:1).
Sat: The regular weekly Sabbath.
Sun: Christ arose sometime after sunset that evening (remember, “evening and the morning”), and the empty tomb is discovered early Sunday morning.
Certainly, the most important thing is not what you believe about WHEN Christ died, but THAT you believe Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day. It’s just that this question surfaces just about every Easter. Hopefully, this will help.
In light of the fact that the “Friday” time line was passed down through Roman Catholic tradition, be careful, because the 7th Day Adventists would like for you to believe that moving the day of worship from Saturday (the Sabbath— the 7th day of the week) to Sunday (the 1st day of the week) was also a tradition passed down through that false system, and that God never intended Christians to worship on Sunday, but on Saturday. The “first day of the week” as the God-ordained day of worship for Christians can be substantiated, however, by the following biblical reasons:
1) Because we’re Christians and not Jews. (Ex. 31:13 – the Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel)
2) The Lord rose from the dead on “the first day of the week” (Matt. 28:1).
3) The Holy Spirit came down on the first day of the week (Acts 2).
4) The disciples met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
5) New Testament giving is to be brought on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2).