Good Friday…or Thursday…or Wednesday

Tomorrow is Good Friday, when Christendom commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But did he really die on a Friday? Or was it a Thursday? Or a Wednesday? A little google searching will turn up all sorts of passionate defenses of those other two possibilities. In fact I remember gospel tapes from early on my mission where the speaker would affirm the crucifixion definitely happened on a Thursday.

These other theories are driven largely by the statements in the NT, which are ubiquitous, that Jesus arose “on the third day.” That doesn’t seem to fit with a Friday crucifixion, as Sunday is only the second day after Friday. Also, the NT accounts mention a lot of stuff happening between the crucifixion and resurrection, and adding one or two more days makes it more comfortable to account for all of that activity.

Let’s start with what we know. Jesus arose early on a Sunday morning. The preceding Friday evening to Saturday evening was the weekly Sabbath day. Jesus died upon the cross at about 3 p.m., and he was buried on the same day that he died.

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