By Hal Lindsey
Sometimes, ideas creep into Christian thinking that are not necessarily based in scripture. One of the more prevalent is the idea of Good Friday. Please don’t misunderstand. If you attended a Good Friday service last week, I commend you. The event you commemorated — the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins — is real and one we should commemorate.
But to understand the breathtaking scope of holy week as God laid it out in the Old Testament, it’s important to clear up the issue of Good Friday. I believe scripture is clear that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday. First, let me give you a brief overview of why I believe that. Then we can look at the glorious way God revealed His plan in the centuries before it happened.
In Matthew 12:40, Jesus said, “Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
That does not mean three 24-hour periods, but that He was buried at least part of three separate days and at least part of three separate nights. John 20:1, says, “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.” She arrived while it was still dark, and the resurrection had already taken place. Therefore, we know that Jesus rose in the predawn hours of Sunday morning.
If Jesus had been crucified on Friday, He would have been in the tomb part of the day Friday and all-day Saturday, but no part of the day Sunday — so, just two days. And He would have been in the tomb only Friday and Saturday nights — just two nights. But He specifically said He would be buried for “three days and three nights.”
If He were crucified on Thursday, He was in the tomb during part of the day Thursday, and all-day Friday and Saturday — three separate days. And He would have been buried all of Thursday and Friday nights, and most of Saturday night — three separate nights.
In our video, “The Week That Changed the World,” I go into much more depth on this. For instance, I explain why both Friday and Saturday of that week were considered Sabbath days. But I think I have already given good evidence here that it had to be Thursday.
God’s calendar for Passover is laid out specifically in the Old Testament. He told the Children of Israel to prepare for the Passover by selecting a lamb without blemish on the 10th of Aviv using the Hebrew calendar of that time. On the 14th of Aviv, the lamb was to be sacrificed for the deliverance of the people.
The 10th of Aviv fell on the Sunday of the week Jesus died on the cross. We commemorate that day as Palm Sunday. That was the day that Jesus, according to the precise timetable laid out in Daniel 9:24–27, presented Himself publicly as the Messiah. That 10th of Aviv, God presented His selection of the Lamb without blemish.
On Thursday, four days later — the 14th of Aviv, Passover — the Lamb of God sacrificed His life for our deliverance.
And on the 17th of Aviv, Jesus rose from the dead. His resurrection is supported by fuller and more believable evidence than any other event of ancient antiquity. We have more proof that He was raised from the dead than we have evidence that Julius Caesar ever even lived. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming. You can trust it completely.
Happy Resurrection Day!