Q. I’ve seen an article on several sites I visit claiming the crucifixion took place on a Wednesday and therefore Jesus actually came out of the grave around sunset on Saturday. We only celebrate it on Sunday morning because no one knew about it until then. Have you seen this?
A. The notion of a Wednesday crucifixion has been around for several years and is promoted by people who claim 3 days and 3 nights has to equal 72 hours. I believe this is an incorrect assumption. In the first place a full 72 hours is not required to meet the 3 day 3 night requirement, because in eastern thinking a part of a day was often thought of as a full day.
Second, there were several events that required set intervals of time according to the Passover account of Exodus 12. In order for Jesus to be our Passover lamb He had to meet these requirements. On the 10th day of the month they selected a lamb. Jesus fulfilled this on Palm Sunday, the only day He encouraged the people to hail Him as Israel’s King. Then they had to take care of the lamb until the 14th before slaughtering him. Since the 10th was on a Sunday, the 14th would have been on a Thursday. In the Lord’s time the 14th was known as Preparation Day because the 15th was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when no work was allowed. They had to have His body off the cross before the feast began (John 19:31). All four gospels agree that Preparation day was the day on which Jesus was crucified.
Jesus also fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits, which always occurred on the Sunday following Passover. Since the 10th was a Sunday that day would have been the 17th, one week later. Therefore in order to fulfill the Feast of First Fruits, the Resurrection had to occur on a Sunday.
Two disciples confirmed this for us in Luke 24:13-35. They were walking to Emmaus, a town 7 miles from Jerusalem on the same day the women discovered the empty tomb. The Lord met them on the road and began talking with them, but they were kept from recognizing Him. He asked why they appeared to be so sad and they related the story of the crucifixion and said it was the 3rd day since it had happened (Luke 24:21). So if Sunday the 17th was the 3rd day since the crucifixion, Saturday the 16th would have been the 2nd day since, Friday the 15th would have been the 1st day since and Thursday the 14th would have been the day of the crucifixion.
The only way to make a Wednesday crucifixion work would be if Palm Sunday was actually a Saturday, and the disciples were walking to Emmaus on the following Saturday. In both cases all the people involved would have been violating the Sabbath travel restrictions, which limited them to 1,000 paces.
Thursday is the only day of the week that could have fulfilled all the prophetic requirements of Passover, Unleavened bread, and First Fruits without violating the Law.