After 3….. It is time to GET UP.


Let’s revisit last week briefly. Why do I say Wednesday Christ was crucified instead of the traditional Friday? Without getting into it too deeply, Passover as described in Lev. 23:4, 5 indicates on the 10th day of the first month, Nisan, [roughly equivalent to April on our calendar], every family of Israel was to take a lamb, without blemish, and separate it from the flock. On the evening of the fourth day the Passover lamb was killed, cooked, and eaten during the night. This feast begins the celebration of the exodus from Egypt. If the clock begins on Palm Sunday, and the day of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is day one. Wednesday is day four. Also remember the Jewish day begins at 6pm NOT midnight.

The period between ‘good Friday’ and ‘resurrection Sunday’ does not equal three days and three nights (72 hrs.). How can we show that as a timeline using what Jesus Himself called “the ONLY sign” that He would give indicating who He was? (Mat 12:39 – 40) How does Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday add up to make three days and three nights (72 hrs.)?  It doesn’t. Let’s look. Buried at sundown, (Good Friday (night)), Saturday (day) Saturday (night), Resurrection (Easter Sunday (day))…Total = One day and two nights! (36 hrs.)

The days on the Jewish calendar BEGAN and ENDED at sundown, not midnight. They viewed a day as NIGHT and then DAY, rather than viewing a day as DAY and then NIGHT as we do in the western culture.  This is important when it comes to counting the three days and three nights. But what about the need for Christ to be taken from the cross and buried before the Sabbath, you might ask.

The day following Passover began the feast of unleavened bread. The first and last days were “High Sabbath” days. “High Sabbath” days are mandatory rest and preparation days. This means Passover is also the “preparation day” for the “High Sabbath”. Jesus was crucified on Passover. His body was laid in the tomb just before sunset, when the “High Sabbath” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. His body lay in the tomb for the first three days of this feast.

 Three days and three nights – in the heart of the earth. Wednesday Jesus is on the cross from approximately 9am until His death, around 3pm. His body must be in the grave before the “High Sabbath” day, 6pm. Let’s look at the possible timeline:

The first night and day (Thursday): Wednesday 6pm to Thursday 6pm.

The second night and day (Friday): Thursday 6pm to Friday 6pm.

The third night and day (Saturday): Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm.

Jesus is resurrected before sunset or sometime closely afterwards.

The women find the empty tomb very early on Sunday morning.

The women had to wait till the High Sabbath and following night passed, before going to the market to purchase the materials for His anointing. Then the second day they had to prepare everything. This was a long process and then they would have to again stop for the Regular weekly Sabbath to pass. The third night and day are the regular Sabbath.  At sundown, (on what we would call Saturday night), is exactly 72 hours after Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb – When the third night and day had passed – Jesus rose from the dead. 

The pronouncement He is NOT dead, He is alive.

Why 3 days? Why not 2 or 4? In thinking about this I believe it has to do with the belief widely held that the spirit of a “dead” body hovered around the body before three days. In that time span the spirit could renter the body, otherwise the death verdict was final. Looking back on the Lazarus event, in order to show the glory of God, Jesus delayed His going to Lazarus after receiving the news of his illness in order to allow for “3 days” to pass. Listen to His conversation with Martha and Mary, they truthfully declared that the “3 day” period has passed and Lazarus has been dead for four days. Perfect! Jesus declares to them “I am the resurrection and the life”. In other words, there will be no doubt, when Lazarus is resurrected (in the original Greek – “stand up”), that Jesus did it.

It was common for the family to visit the gravesite in Biblical times 3 days later for final verification of death. They would roll the stone away and check just in case. But in a similarity of His decision concerning Lazarus, Jesus was in the grave 3 days and night…dead. But He IS the resurrection; he is the “stand up”. As he declared “NO MAN” takes my life, I have the power to lay it down and to pick it up again or stand up. So after the 3rd, He “stood up”, and the verdict was given…He is not dead.

About 2 months ago here in the states (I believe in Mississippi), a man apparently died and was pronounced such by the county coroner. Just as the attendant in the morgue was going to remove the body from the body bag after many hours, the bag started violently moving and the occupant was fighting to be free of the that plastic stifling enclosure. Can you imagine how you would react if you were the attendant? Apparently, there was a misdiagnosis. But this man was not going to be content to be imprisoned and given over passively to that conclusion. There was still life to live.

That leads me to my final point. There are human abilities that we have and those abilities are accomplished through three means…thought, word or deed. There are times to where all three of those abilities sometimes cease to bring forth results. They are seemingly lifeless, inert and unresponsive. It is in that time when Jesus can call forth the resurrection, the “standup power” to the more abundant life. I know sometimes we can feel like our dreams, aspirations, calling, relationship, finances, health, has been lifeless so long that it as Martha said about her brother to Jesus, it stinks. But even after the fourth day when it seems like there is no hope, no way he is still the resurrection the standup and the life. The Word of God declares that He came to give us life and that more abundantly. The situation might appear to be dead and beyond our human abilities but Jesus the Christ is the RESURRECTION and the LIFE. So if it’s after your three day or even during your three-day death experience. Understand this, because He got up you to can get up. It is Resurrection day. Get up and LIVE!

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