Pulpit Aflame Ministries
“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.”
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The Embers

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When Did Jesus Die?

Today is what people call "Good Friday."  Many of you have today off of work or are out of school. Believers all over the world are remembering the price the Lord Jesus Christ paid to redeem us, when He died, was buried, and then rose again on Resurrection Day. I am so glad that the entire world has its attention turned towards the Cross and the Empty Grave! This is a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel. People are EXPECTING you to talk about the Resurrection. They are EXPECTING you to invite them to church. DON'T DISAPPOINT THEM!!!

As I consider the glorious truths of the Gospel and the Work of Christ, I am concerned that as Baptists we have come to trust tradition over the clear teachings of the Bible. Yes, Jesus was crucified, yes, He was buried in Joseph's borrowed tomb, and yes, Jesus did RISE AGAIN early on Sunday morning. My concern is that we accept the teaching that Jesus was crucified on Friday without question. Tradition says Jesus died at around 3 pm Friday and was put in the tomb. He rose at about 6am Sunday morning.

Those who follow Tradition count 3 days as follows:

  • Day 1    From 3pm Friday - midnight               =       9 hours
  • Day 2    Midnight Friday - midnight Saturday  =     24 hours
  • Day 3    Midnight Saturday - 6am Sunday      =       6 hours
                                                               TOTAL           39 hours

That all sounds good and reasonable. But the problem is that teaching does not match the Bible! Jesus said He would be in the grave for 3 DAYS and 3 NIGHTS, not PARTS of 3 days. Notice Matthew 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.” That means He had to be in the grave for AT LEAST 72 hours. WE KNOW that He had already risen BEFORE dawn on Sunday when Mary came to the tomb.  Remembering that Jewish days are counted from evening to evening (“...And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1: 5) and working backwards from Sunday morning, as well as comparing Scripture, leads us to:

  • Day 1    From 6pm Wednesday - 6pm Thursday =        24 hours
  • Day 2    From 6pm Thursday - 6pm Friday          =        24 hours
  • Day 3    From 6pm Friday- 6pm Saturday          =         24 hours
                                                                  TOTAL               72 hours

Jesus HAD to have been crucified on Wednesday and placed in the grave before sunset on Wednesday. He then spent 3 nights and 3 days in the grave and rose sometime AFTER sunset Saturday and BEFORE sunrise on Sunday. Consider the chart below:

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We have prepared a PDF of this material that may be downloaded by clicking the link below. It is created to print 2-up on letter size paper and then can be cut in two so that you can keep a copy in your Bible. 

The video below is the full length message I preached to teach the material referenced above. I encourage you to watch it, and then share it with others. I am thrilled that God gave us a perfect Bible and the we do not have to be afraid to answer any question about our faith. (1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:") Watch this space for the launching of our series of "Ready Answer" videos. These are 8-10 minute videos to teach the basics of Bible doctrine and to answer common questions people have about our faith. Do not be afraid to answer, or ashamed that you do not have , be prepared to answer!

Douglas Brandenburg