Which Day of the Week?

For hundreds of years, religious people have celebrated “Good Friday” as the day on which Jesus died. For this reason, most people believe that Jesus died on a Friday. Curiously, the Bible never points out the day of the week that Jesus died. The Bible does say that Jesus was executed on the “preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42). However, on a feast day, like Passover, the ceasing rules of the Sabbath applied to that feast day, even when it fell on a Sunday through Friday (Leviticus 23:32). So, the Passover was a “Sabbath” every year, even though it usually fell on a day other than Saturday. Also, in Matthew 12:40 Jesus said “so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” So we know Jesus was crucified three days and three nights before his resurrection.

In contrast to the day of his death, the day of Jesus’ resurrection is emphasized strongly. In John 20 verses 1 and 19, we are told twice that Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week. And if the resurrection was on Sunday, and Jesus was in the tomb for three nights, that means (at least) Saturday night, Friday night, Thursday night. So, the likelihood that Jesus was crucified on a Friday is very low. The Bible is often vague on details God does not want us to focus on, but specific on those he does. After the resurrection, we have no fewer than five examples of the disciples meeting on the first day of the week: John 20:19, 26; Acts 2:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Indeed, it’s the first day of the week that God wants us to meet together and proclaim our Lord’s death (1 Corinthians 11:26). And we should celebrate his resurrection every first day of the week, not once a year (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

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