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Jonah and Jesus (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:39-40)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 24 March 2013 00:00

Last Sunday we considered what is meant by the phrase “three days and three nights” and examined how the phrase was used in the Old and New Testaments. We concluded that the phrase was used in such a way that a part of a day was reckoned as equivalent to a whole day.

Therefore a Friday crucifixion fits into the chronology of the last week before the crucifixion. During Jesus’ time on earth, a day was reckoned two ways: either from sunset to sunset or from sunrise to sunrise. Jesus was crucified on Friday, the preparation day (for Judeans and Sadducees), and was buried before sunset (Passover observed by Judeans and Sadducees). Jesus and His disciples had observed the Passover meal the night before in the upper room because they observed Passover a day earlier (as Galileans and the Pharisees did). This explains how Jesus could be arrested by the chief priests (Sadducees) and Judeans after Jesus had eaten His Passover meal when His enemies had not yet eaten it and eliminates any difficulties in chronology presented in John’s Gospel.

(1) John 18:28 makes sense because the Judeans did not want to enter the Praetorium so as not to be defiled since later that day they would slay the Passover victims as those did who reckoned from sunset to sunset.

(2) John 19:14 makes sense for it says that Jesus’ trial and crucifixion were on the “day of preparation for the Passover” and not after the eating of the Passover.

(3) This fits well with John 19:36 where it speaks of the fulfillment of the Old Testament (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12) when no bones of Jesus, the Passover Lamb, were broken.

Therefore Jesus died on Friday at 3:00 PM, April 3, 33 AD. He died when the Passover lambs were slain in the temple precincts by the Judeans and Sadducees for the meal later that night.

Recall from our study of John’s Gospel that the Pharisees and Sadducees were two competing political/religious parties in Jesus’ day. Since the Sadducees controlled the priesthood and the temple precinct, would they have allowed two days of slaughtering the Passover lambs? It is possible they had to because with the popular support the Pharisees had, the Sadducees had to submit to their wishes at times. Here may be a case there neither party would compromise their view so there were two days of the killing of Passover lambs.

As Dr. Harold W. Hoehner stated (Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, pp. 88, 90), “Although one cannot be overly dogmatic, it (this view) does fit well with the data at hand. It is simple and makes good sense.”

My intention is that you be prepared to help someone by giving a reasonable and plausible answer to someone who may have questions about these kinds of things as you are sharing with people the good news of the gift of eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

While we cannot be “overly dogmatic” about some of these chronological details, we must never compromise the free grace of God, whose Son Jesus, because of who He is and what He accomplished on the cross, freely gives everlasting life to anyone who simply believes in Him for it!






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