Did Jesus die on Friday or Wednesday?

The scriptures teach that Jesus died on Friday not Wednesday as some claim. Let’s look at the evidence:

1- High Day: “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (John 19:31).

Those that argue in favor of the crucifixion on Wednesday, say that John 19:31 mean that the following “Thursday” was a high Sabbath day. But a high Sabbath by definition occurred when a feast day (In this case it was the Feast of Unleavened Bread) fell on the 7th day weekly Sabbath. While the seventh day is already considered the “weekly” Sabbath, the feast days are considered the “annual” Sabbath feasts (Lev. 23:23-38). So, when a feast day falls on the same day as the seventh-day Sabbath, that day would then be considered a HIGH Sabbath day. Therefore, a “Thursday” or “5th day” of the week can’t be accounted as a High Sabbath.

2- The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20): The woman did not prepare the body of Jesus on Friday because they, “…rested the sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56).  The Sabbath commandment specifically presented the seventh-day as the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). Nowhere in Exodus 20, do we see the feast days mentioned. Further, the feast days were abolished at the cross (Colossian 2:16) but God’s Ten Commandments are eternal and stand forever (Matthew 5:17,18).

3- Preparation Day-Friday: The Scripture also stated Christ was put to death on the “preparation day,” of the week, and the preparation day was never on a Wednesday unless a feast day Sabbath was to occur on Thursday. And the fact they declared it a high Sabbath confirms it could only be the Friday preparation day.  “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,  Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:42-43).

Here is another verse, “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,  Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again” (Matthew 27:62-63).

Now we have the chronological order of days. We know it was Friday because of the reference to the “day of preparation.” And we know it was Sabbath, because it says the Pharisees met with Pilate on the Sabbath. And the Bible continues the story in Matthew 28:1 to point to the first day of the week (Sunday), “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” And “He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons” (Mark 16:9). Here we have Friday-Saturday-Sunday mentioned in order.

4- Church History records that Jesus died on Friday: “For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.” –First Apology of Justin Martyr, Chapter 67.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

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