Most people, both Protestants and Catholics, often wonder (or question) why is the Catholic “Resurrection” so quick? Didn’t we just commemorate Jesus’ death on Friday? How come it’s Easter on Saturday night? And if you are a wondering typical Protestant, you might resort to the answer, “Oh it’s Catholic, so it’s definitely wrong.”
TRACING THE TIMELINE
• John 12 explicitly stated that Jesus arrived at Bethany “6 days before the Passover”. The following day, Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, thus happening the 6th day prior to the Passover. Now when was Jesus tried and arrested?
• Matthew 26:1-5 and Mark 14:1-2 give us the answer. 2 days before the Passover, the High Priest, Caiaphas, planned to “arrest him (Jesus) and kill him”. However, they cannot perform these plans on the day of the Festival; the Pharisees wouldn’t risk any commotion on the sacred day. So they rushed the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus on the following day.
• Now we’re on the day before the Passover. Jesus was hanged on the Cross. The Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) identically noted the death of Jesus at around 3pm in the afternoon. Jesus body was wrapped in linen cloth and immediately buried on that same day. So why is the hurry?
• It was Preparation Day for Sabbath (John 19:31, Luke 23:54, Mark 15:42, Mat. 27:62). Yes, it is Sabbath the following day that’s why all of Israel is in rush of settling all works in that day because they cannot do anything in the following day. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The Sabbath (for the general information) of the Jewish people falls every Friday sundown (6pm) until Saturday sundown (because the Jewish day cycle starts and ends both at sundown). Jesus died at 3pm during the Preparation day (Friday), thus leaves 3hrs for all the Jewish burial rites to take place which is impossible in the given time so the body was buried immediately postponing the rites on the day after the Sabbath.
PASSOVER FESTIVAL – SABBATH COINCIDENCE
Yep. You read that right. The year when Jesus died happened to have the Passover and a Sabbath on the same day (John even noted this day as Special Sabbath). Tracking the events from the Death of Jesus on the Preparation day (Friday), we can now have the dates of the other events which took place beforehand (e.g. the Last Supper on the day before the Death (Thursday) and the triumphant entry to Jerusalem on the 6th day backwards from the Preparation day (Palm Sunday)). Sometimes it takes more history and cultural orientation than Mathematics to calculate the events in the Bible.
THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS
“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.” (Mat 12:40)
Does it literally mean that Jesus is to remain dead for three days and three nights (72 hours)? Again, this isn’t a matter of calculating with Mathematics but instead with Language Analysis (and History of course!). Did you know that the term “three days and three nights” was a general notion at the time for “sure death”? If you are to be proclaimed dead, it’s probably gonna take 3 days and 3 nights before the people would believe you’re dead. Same notion is implied in the statement of Jesus in this verse, He wanted to entail that HE WILL INDEED DIE. Jonah’s sign in the belly of the sea monster is entailing a TRIUMPH OVER DEATH because he survived that period of time (this is how the Jews interpret Jonah’s sign). If we are to take literally that Jesus stayed in the tomb for three days and three nights (72 hours), then that would place the Resurrection ON THE FOURTH DAY—which is already unbiblical! In 1 Corinthians 15:4, Paul noted that Jesus has risen from the dead ON THE THIRD DAY as according to the Scriptures.
Jesus is dead on the Preparation day – 1st Day (Friday 3pm)
Jesus is still dead (Sabbath) – 2nd Day (Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm)
Jesus has risen from dead – 3rd Day (Saturday 6pm onwards)
On the dawn of the first day of the week (Sunday) while it is still dark, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (or other women) went to the tomb (they went there to perform the postponed burial rites) and found it empty – John 20, Matthew 28, Luke 24 and Mark 16 all noted of this. The angel said “Jesus is not here, He has ALREADY RISEN”. If Jesus has ALREADY RISEN on the early Morning of Sunday, then this means that Jesus raised from the dead between Saturday 6pm (start of Jewish day) to Early Dawn Sunday.
And that, my friends, is why the Catholic “Resurrection” is so quick.
P.S. Lesson to learn: Do not read and interpret Scriptures based on modern context. ALWAYS “WEAR THE JEWISH LENS”. God loves you.