I think this is becoming my favorite phrase. We are waiting with Jesus’ disciples today as He works in the spiritual realm. There is someone in the kitchen though making a special gift for Jesus.
This is a day filled with sorrow for Jesus’ followers. “How could this happen? Jesus was supposed to be our King. What is to become of us now?” Can you hear the tears in their voices and feel their pain in your heart? Jesus’ promise of “on the third day” is far from the minds of this group.
On the other side of town is a different attitude; that of celebration with a hint of fear. “Jesus is FINALLY out of our hair! So much for His claim to be the Son of God. God didn’t save Him as any REAL father would have. No more of His blasphemous claims!” But under all that bluster is the memory of Jesus’ prediction of “the third day.” That portion of Jesus’ promise has not gone unnoticed by this group.
It is also a day of waiting for the whole Jewish nation. It is the weekly Sabbath. No work is to be done. It is a time to reflect on God and the work He has done.
But there is one who is VERY hard at work. The one who is on the minds of everyone; Jesus the Messiah. He is busy setting the captives free. He is wrestling the keys of death and Hell from the hands of Satan. Look back with me at another time we visited this day. When we saw that Jesus Works while Others Mourn. I believe this is the greatest picture I have ever been given of what went on while Jesus was in the grave.
So let me take a moment here and tell you the reasons I believe in a Wednesday crucifixion. You DON’T have to agree with me! I will NOT be upset by your belief in a Friday or even Thursday crucifixion, nor will Jesus. The date is NOTHING compared to the FACT that He made this supreme sacrifice for EACH ONE OF US.
So why Wednesday? We all agree that Jesus died right before the Sabbath. The religious leaders didn’t want the bodies to linger into the Holy day, so they had Pilot order their deaths be hastened. Jesus was already dead at that point so His legs were not broken.
Joseph and Nicodemus asked for and received Jesus’ body from the cross. They anointed Him with spices and placed Him in Joseph’s own newly cut tomb. This happened just as the day was drawing to a close. The women who had followed Jesus throughout the events of the day watched as this took place. This brings us to the new day on the Jewish clock. Sundown. We know from John’s account that Jesus died on the “day of preparation” for Passover. Also the fact that the religious leaders wouldn’t enter Pilot’s palace because they needed to remain ceremonially clean is another indication that the official Passover had not yet been celebrated by the Jews. We talked about how Jesus was able to eat His Passover meal with His disciples earlier this week (for Him, the night before). That makes this beginning day a High Holy Day; the Day of Passover. It began at sundown and didn’t end until the following sundown. (Night one and day one.)
Matthew and Luke both tell us that the women who followed Jesus, were at the cross, and who watched His burial prepared spices for anointing Him. They did this AFTER His death. They didn’t leave Him during His ordeal to do this task nor did they have these spices just laying around. They had to go out and purchase them and then prepare them. They HAD to wait until AFTER the Sabbath Holy Day ended to do so. (Night two and day two.) This put their shopping activities into the following morning. I honestly don’t see any shops opening at sundown just so they can get the “after Passover day sales.” That is something new to even our money minded world.
I don’t know how long it took to prepare these spices for Jesus but I’m assuming it was an all-day task. This was another task added to their daily care of Jesus’ followers. One of those tasks was to prepare the meals for the weekly Sabbath that was quickly approaching. Luke tells us that on the Sabbath they rested, just as the commandment required. (Night three and day three).
This Sabbath ended at sundown again but it was not safe to travel at night. Our women waited until the first possible moment that they could go to the tomb. They left as soon as they saw daylight. But BEFORE they got there the angel had already opened Jesus’ tomb. This happened in the middle of the night. It could have been any time between sundown and sunrise. This completed Jesus’ prophecy of Him being in the tomb three days and three nights.
I don’t care how you count it, there are not three days between Friday and Sunday. There are also not three days and three nights between Thursday evening and Sunday morning.
Joseph and Nicodemus KNEW of Jesus’ fate early the morning of His sentencing. They knew the only thing they could do for Him was to lovingly care for His body after Caiaphas had his way. They left Him to prepare what was needed for His burial before the conclusion on the cross. The women following Jesus were convinced He would find some way to stop this. They also wanted to offer their support in any way they could during that day. They were surprised and devastated by the outcome. They made their preparations after the events and as soon as they legally could.
That, in a nutshell, is why I believe in a Wednesday crucifixion. As I said before though, Jesus isn’t going to fault any of us for choosing one day over another. What He cares about is that we observe and accept all He did for us.
Lord Jesus, THANK YOU!!! I had NO hope without You. You paid the FULL price for my sin. I wish I would have been able to give to You tangibly as Joseph and Nicodemus did that night. Would my tears have watered down the spices? This reminds me of Mary’s tears as she anointed You prior to Your death. I wonder if she thought back to that evening as she watched Joseph and Nicodemus work. She certainly didn’t feel as though she had done enough with that anointing and wanted one more time to care for You. I’m SO glad she got MORE than one more chance! Wait for it… Sunday’s on the way!