Since I became Christian and really began to read the Bible, I have asked the question - Did Jesus die on Good Friday? I know that I am stepping on some traditional church toes. Some Christians feel that you are almost committing a sin to ask questions like these. But I have always been a person who asks questions when something seems off. The Bible tells us that we must be ready with an answer to questions:
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.
I see no sin here but only an appetite for the truth. If I must be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks me why I am a believer in Christ, then I must also be ready to give an answer to anyone who questions anything in the Bible.
So how do you calculate three days and three nights from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning?
I have read many answers, even by some theologians I admire, who try to explain how to calculate three days and three nights from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning. I have spoken to friends also to no satisfaction. The main explanation is that any part of a day was considered as a day as the custom of the Jews in those times. Some have used the event in Acts 10 when Peter was directed by the Holy Spirit to see Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Cornelius had previously had a vision in which he was instructed to summon Peter to his home. They calculated the time it took Peter to meet Cornelius to determine the "true" meaning of a day (specifically Acts 10:30 based on the words of Cornelius). Their conclusion? - any part of a day is considered a day.
My response is - How about the words of Jesus to settle the matter? Look at these verses:
Matt 12: 39-40 But He answered and saith to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"
John 11: 9-11 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because light is not in him" These things He said and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up"
Jesus makes it very clear - 12 hours in a day and 12 hours in the night! This is plain speaking. This is important because Christians must adhere to the Bible. If skeptics and unbelievers can find us preaching and practicing something that is contrary to the Bible, they will think that the Bible has contradictions. The Bible does not. It is important to get it right since Good Friday is a huge event in Christian practice today. It is required, (in my opinion), for us to memorialize the death of Christ on the cross because He took on Himself the sin of every human being who ever lived or will live in the future. However we must be consistent with the Bible.
This is something for Christians to contemplate. If anyone can show me how to get three days and three nights from Friday to Sunday - please show me. The words of Jesus can never be wrong.