Good Friday is long observed as being the day of the crucifixion of Jesus, a revered day for Christians that was the worst day, but eventually turned out to be the best day for the implementation of God’s work of salvation.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday
However any Christian always wondered about the timing of Good Friday and the fact that no matter how you cut it, if Jesus was indeed crucified and died at three in the afternoon right when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple, how does one get a resurrection taking place on the third day on Sunday? That would be a miracle indeed.
There are two probabilities concerning the necessary time elapsing and Jesus being raised from the dead on an early Sunday morning following His crucifixion. Nobody is interested in doing any trick calculations, but one does need to be familiar with the Jewish customs of the day to assist in explaining the discrepancy of Jesus’ crucifixion day.
The crucifixion of Jesus is a well documented event that clearly took place, and there is enough evidence of Christ resurrecting to be substantiated by any court in the United States based on the testimony of eye witness accounts. Jesus resurrected on Nisan 17 according to the Jewish calendar which equated to being the first day of the week or Sunday.
One issue necessary to be put to rest is the tradition of observing the crucifixion on “Good Friday” when all of the evidence points to Jesus really being crucified on a Wednesday or Thursday. One needs to be a little versed regarding how the Jews celebrated their religious festivals.
An important fact to understand is the Jews celebrated more “Sabbaths” than just the weekly Sabbath that is observed from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Genesis is the basis for this observance when during Creation, God commenced His work with during “the evening and the morning of the first day”. The Jewish tradition begins with the new day beginning at sunset.
The Jews had a number of feast days that were distinguished as “High Sabbaths”, or high days that would be incorporated during the week. Another issue is the term “Sabbath” can easily be translated as plural, thus “Sabbath” could be interpreted as a period of time.
Adding to the confusion concerning correctly distinguishing the Jewish holy days is that there was a preparation day which proceeded the “Sabbath” period. Note the distinctive from John 19:31;
"The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away”
Take careful note that the day following the preparation day was a “high day” or “High Sabbath”, not to be confused with the regular Sabbath day that began at Friday sundown. Therefore the day of Jesus’ crucifixion could not have been on Friday.
What probably threw the “Christians” during the early centuries when setting aside “Good Friday” as the day of Jesus’ execution is these learned men assumed that the regular Sabbath of the week was what the Greek was talking about and set the day before the regular Sabbath as the day of crucifixion or Good Friday.
You know what happens when you assume.
One needs to throw in this critical piece of data because the Feast of Passover (a High Sabbath), and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (another High Sabbath) were observed on April 14th and 15th respectively according to the Julian calendar. Both of these days were non-Saturday Sabbaths plural.
The Jews celebrate more Sabbaths than just the weekly Sabbath and would have honored those Sabbaths since these days were holy convocations which clearly did not involve the standard Saturday Sabbath day of each week according to Exodus 12:15.
These “High Sabbaths” fell on Thursday-Friday before Jesus’ crucifixion, so Jesus was crucified the day before the “Sabbaths”. The actual theological debate is among the interpretation of Christian thought regarding whether to include one or two Sabbaths, or if Jesus was crucified Wednesday or Thursday.
It is clear though that Jesus was not crucified on Friday.
The goof up is perpetuating the wrong day. All of those without a calculator have long wondered how one can get three days and three nights from a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday resurrection anyway.
Jesus used the comparison of being in the heart of the Earth as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights so Christ had to resurrect as declared.
One cannot dance around this specified requirement or what Jesus said is not correct, thus the “Sabbath” days perfectly fit the time frame of a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion. The most logical day seems Wednesday since a "High Sabbath" happened to be on a Thursday of that week.
There are other complications of correctly extrapolating events from the Jewish calender to the Julian calender which may account for other foul ups, but one needs to consult a Jewish rabbi to gain some insightful prospective....after all, it is their calender. We Gentiles have done some weird things with the time elements and historical record anyway.
Sometimes it is a combination of ignorance, stubbornness, or tradition that continues to keep a practice as Good Friday going. A Good Thursday or Good Wednesday does not change the crucifixion which took place, however it at least legitimizes and makes more sound something that respects Jewish tradition along with Christian belief.
This is workable….a Friday crucifixion is not.