Q. I heard someone speak on this once (I think they were of Jewish decent, but can’t remember). They said that the Jews believed that the person’s spirit hung around for a couple of days before leaving (remember Lazarus–“he stinketh”). Therefore, Jesus waiting for 3 days should have quieted the lies that “He never really died”.
A. They believed the dead person’s spirit lingered for 3 days and after that the body began decaying. That’s why Martha objected to rolling away the stone from the tomb of Lazarus due to the smell. He had been dead four days. (John 11:39) The Lord’s four day delay prevented anyone from claiming Lazarus hadn’t really died.
Psalm 16:8-10 says, “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” Peter quoted this to the Jews in reference to Lord’s resurrection (Acts 2:22-32). He was showing them that this passage was prophetic of a 3 day resurrection, confirming the Lord’s own claim that He would be killed and would rise again after 3 days. (Mark 8:31)