Christ arose! (Matt 28: 5-6)

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"


On Saturday, the Jewish leadership secretly met with Pilate and requested a guard (16 soldiers) to watch over the tomb. They remembered that Jesus had said He would rise from the dead after three days. Their excuse was that His disciples might steal the body and say He had resurrected. However, after the recent raising of Lazarus from his grave, there was an obvious fear that Jesus might rise. Pilate granted their request and additionally, had the tomb sealed (a cord stretched across the entrance, with clay packs on both ends, and his signet stamped in the clay). The old hymn best describes it:


“Lo, in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,

Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord...”


This timeline is based on the traditional view that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. His “trials” (which violated both Jewish and Roman law) and appearances before the various authorities were really ‘mock’ trials—gross miscarriages of justice—mere pretenses to give legal cover to the authorities. They began immediately after His arrest on Thursday evening and continued until Friday morning when He was crucified. 


After praying in the Garden, Jesus was betrayed, arrested and taken to the house of Caiaphas the High Priest. He was first questioned by Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Annas examined Him while they waited on Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin members to arrive. 


THE TRIAL BEFORE THE COUNCIL (Matt. 26:57; 59-68; Mk. 14:53-65; Luke 22:53; 55-65; John 18:24)

The trial convened sometime in the night. This in itself was illegal—trials were not to be held at night. False witnesses were presented. Christ was misused—spit on, beaten and slapped across the face. He was put under oath by Caiaphas the High Priest and asked, “Are you the Christ?” Jesus answered affirmatively (Mk.14:62). The charges against Him were (Luke 23:2):

  • Perverting the nation.
  • Not paying taxes to Caesar.
  • Claiming to be the Messiah, which they said was blasphemy. 

He was condemned and taken to Pilate, the Roman Governor.


BEFORE PILATE (Matt. 27:2; 11-14; Mk. 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-7; Jn. 18:28-38)

Pilate questioned Jesus and upon discovering He was a Galilean, sent Him to Herod, who was the regional king over Galilee. Basically, he made a politically expedient decision, attempting to not deal with the controversy.  


SENT TO HEROD (Luke 23:6-12)

Herod seemed to be more curious about Jesus than concerned about convicting Him. Jesus remained silent and never responded to him at all. However, Herod allowed his soldiers to treat Jesus with contempt, mock Him and put a purple robe on Him.


RETURNED TO PILATE (Matt. 27:15-26; Mk. 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-26; John 18:39—19:16)

Pilate questioned Jesus, while outside the Roman Hall of Judgment the crowd demanded His death. “Crucify Him, crucify Him” they chanted. Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged—perhaps the most painful part of His entire ordeal. He was then given His cross to carry to the place of execution and crucified around 9:00 am. 



Jesus hung on the cross from around 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. During this eventful time, Luke 23:44-45 mentions a supernatural darkness covering the earth from about noon to 3:00 pm. Also, the veil of the Jewish Temple was torn by the hand of God. Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross shortly after 3:00 pm. Joseph of Arimathea, along with Nicodemus and some of the women, began the Jewish burial custom of applying aloes and myrrh to the body and wrapping it in clean cloth. The process was interrupted by the fast approaching Passover which began at 6:00 pm, and under which Jewish law permitted no burials. So they hurriedly carried His body to a tomb belonging to Joseph, and placed it there, intending to finish the embalming after the Passover.


Yesterday, we took a detour to do a little Bible study on whether Christ died on Wednesday or Friday (the traditional view). Today, I am looking at Biblical events prior to and leading up to the Crucifixion. If you take the Wednesday view, these events probably happened on Tuesday; if you take the traditional view, they would have happened on Thursday. Regardless of time, they happened. This is what our Savior endured as He approached the cross.  

A. The Lord sent Peter and John to prepare for the passover meal and the Lord's Supper which followed. 

B. Apparently the meal was eaten just as Passover began - shortly after 6:00pm (Luke 22: 14-20; Mk 14: 17-18a). Today, Jews observe Passover, but it is not at all like the original in Exodus 12.

C. After the meal, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (Jn. 13:4-20).

D. The Lord’s Supper was initiated with the Twelve Apostles (Lu. 22:14-20; Mk. 14:22-28).

E. Judas was revealed as the betrayer and departed into the night (Jn. 13:21-30).

F. Jesus left the upper room for the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Lu. 22:39-46), and was betrayed by Judas (Lu. 22:47-53).

G. Christ was arrested and taken to the house of the High Priest (Matt. 26:57; Lu. 22:54; Mk. 14:53).

H. Peter denied Jesus (Lu. 22:55-61).

I. The first trial was held in the home of the High Priest (Matt. 26:57-68; Mk. 14:53-65; Lu. 22:66-71; Jn. 18).

  • This trial was illegal (trials could not be held at night).
  • He was mocked, spit on, blindfolded (imagine in a “trial”), slapped in the face and buffeted (beaten)—all of which was illegal.

APPLICATION: We have heard this story so many times that we must be careful it does not become ‘commonplace and overly familiar’ to us. It is the purchase price of our redemption. These events should produce such gratitude in our hearts that nothing could ever cool our love and gratitude for Him. Stop and mentally review what He went through that night … then thank Him for His love.   


     The Scriptures are silent as to the events of Wednesday—if you take the traditional view that Jesus died on Friday. The Bible does not refer to the days of Holy Week as Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. It refers to the Day of Preparation, Passover, and the first day. For many years, I have believed that Jesus probably died on Wednesday rather than Friday. Now, don’t get excited: This is a preference and not a fundamental of the faith. Your salvation doesn’t depend on it. Why does it matter? Only in the sense that if Jesus died on Friday, there is a problem with Matt. 12:40—“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” You just can’t get “three days and three nights” from a “Good Friday” crucifixion. Traditionally, scholars have taught that partial days are counted as a whole day (which would account for the three days), but this would allow for only two nights. 

     The tradition of a ‘Good Friday’ crucifixion comes 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.” This was a special Sabbath on Wednesday because of the Passover, not the weekly Sabbath on Saturday. Jewish high feast days were counted as Sabbaths; so on Passover Week, there would be two Sabbaths, the Passover and the regular seventh day Sabbath. The Day of Preparation was the day before Passover—or Tuesday of Holy Week. 

     1. Remember how the Jews counted time: The first part of the 24-hour day was night (beginning at sunset), extending until sunrise (around 6:00 am) when the day began. Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9). The day ended at sunset (around 6:00 pm), and the new day began with night first.


     2. Now follow the time line:

          a. Jesus died Wednesday at 3 pm.

          b. Placed in tomb at 6pm Wednesday.

          c. 6pm till Thursday 6am = Night 1.

          d. Thursday 6am till Thursday 6pm = Day 1.

          e. Thursday 6pm till Friday 6am = Night 2.

          f. Friday 6am till Friday 6pm = Day 2.

          g. Friday 6pm till Saturday 6am = Night 3.

          h. Saturday 6am till Saturday 6pm = Day 3.


     3. Just like He said: “three days and three nights…”


     4. The first day began at 6 pm on Saturday. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb  on early Sunday, while it was still dark, and He was already resurrected (John 20:1). 

Chuck Swindoll says, “Jesus was not crucified on Friday, but on Wednesday. We need to think through our position. There is no way it could be three nights if He died on Friday”  (Radio broadcast 4/2/96). 

M. R. DeHaan says: “It is my conviction that Christ was crucified on Wednesday, and arose right after sundown on Saturday night, which was the beginning of the first day in the Jewish calendar. In no other way can we account for three days and three nights. ‘Good Friday’ is an unscriptural tradition only” (508 Answers to Bible Questions, p.55). 

Oliver B. Greene writes: “Was He crucified on the day known as Good Friday? If so, how could He have been in the tomb for three days and three nights? Passover that year began on Thursday, therefore Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, not Friday. The Jewish day began at six o’clock in the evening; so the body of Jesus was placed in the tomb just before six o’clock on Wednesday evening (The Gospel of Matthew, pp. 301-303). 

Dr. Howard Estep states: “Luke 24:21 is a strong argument for a Wednesday crucifixion. If the Friday crucifixion is held, it is impossible for the first day of the week to be ‘the third day’ since these things were done.” 

Again, the issue is not “Did Jesus arise from the dead?” on which our salvation depends. The issue is the absolute integrity and reliability of the Bible. Once again, men’s traditions are found wanting and the Bible stands. 

I thought while you are quarantined, you might need something more profitable than Xbox or TV; so have a blessed WEDNESDAY—Crucifixion Day!


Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 20, John 12

A. The events of Tuesday

  1. Jesus leaves Bethany to return to Jerusalem (Matt 21:18).
  2. He sees the withered fig tree and teaches on faith (Matt 21:18-22).
  3. He returns to the Temple where His authority is challenged by priests, scribes and elders. He debates throughout the day with them on a number of subjects and finally pronounces woe on them (Matt. 23: 13-38).
  4. On His way back to Bethany, Jesus gives the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24:1-25; Mk 13:1-37; Luke 21: 1-37).
  5. Back in Jerusalem, Judas makes a deal to betray Jesus with the Sanhedrin.
  6. Jesus returned to Bethany for the Night.

B. Application:

  1. This is one of the Bible's greatest passages on faith and prayer (Mark 11: 22-26).
  2. The Olivet Discourse is one of the most important prophetic passages. It is the Lord's own prophecy of future events. Note: Matt 24:7.
  3. Pray for faith and to be faithful in Him whatever may come.


Matthew 21: 12-22; Mark 11:22; Luke 19:45

A. The events of Holy Monday:

  1. Jesus spent the night in Bethany.
  2. On his way into the city, He sees a fruitless fig tree and curses it (Mark 11: 12-14).
  3. Jesus cleansed the Temple for the 2nd time (Matt 12, 13).
  4. He healed some blind and lame (unable to walk) people in the temple (Matt 21: 14).
  5. Local children praised Him, displeasing the religious leaders (Matt. 21: 15-16).
  6. He returned to Bethany to spend Monday night there (Matt. 21: 17).

B. Application:

  1. I do not want my life to be like the fig tree: a profession of life (the leaves) but no fruit.
  2. Children can praise the Lord so I must teach my children to honor him.
  3. Pray to be fruitful (Fruit of the Spirit and the Fruit of Souls).
  4. Pray that your children will always praise Him.