Anybody considering the Savior’s crucifixion must get their arms around Matthew 12:38–40. In this scripture, the Savior says he will be in the grave three days and three nights, just as Jonah was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights. Mark 8:31 also says the Savior would be resurrected after three days.
So, if Jesus was crucified on a Friday, how can that be three days and three nights?
This article makes the argument that there were two sabbaths, one an annual sabbath on Thursday and another the weekly sabbath on Saturday. So, Jesus was probably crucified on Wednesday (the day before the Sabbath) and in the earth three days and three nights and then resurrected after the second Sabbath on Saturday night. Mary discovered the empty tomb Sunday morning, but note he had already been resurrected by then.
I started thinking about this yesterday (Good Friday) after hearing a fascinating radio interview with Joe Kovacs, author of “Shocked by the Bible.” Kovacs, who says he is a believing Christian, actually sounded like a Mormon scholar. He pointed out again and again that today’s traditional Christianity has nothing to do with the church Jesus helped establish in the 1st century AD. If he has said the word “apostacy” I would have thought he was a Mormon missionary.
The fascinating thing for me is how many angry people called the radio show to denounce Kovacs for destroying their faith (on Good Friday, by the way!). It is fascinating to me how many people worship traditions and symbols rather than Truth. Once again I am thankful to belong to a Church that concentrates on what is important, and that is the Atonement and the Resurrection. If they happened on a Wednesday and a Saturday night, respectively, well, that’s okay with me.