Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question: “Dear Dave and T.A., I seem to remember reading in one of Dave’s books a chapter titled, ‘Forget Good Friday,’ but I can’t remember the reasons why. The subject came up in a conversation not too long ago, and the only thing I could remember was a Friday crucifixion would not allow the days necessary for Christ to be in the grave until His resurrection on Sunday morning. What other points are critical?”
Tom: Well, Dave, should we get into this? Is this a kind of a hair-splitting thing? I mean, I grew up believing, as a Roman Catholic, Good Friday, and so…
Dave: Well, Tom, Jesus said the Scripture must be fulfilled; “all things that are written in the law and the prophets concerning Me must be fulfilled.” And it was written that He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. And you can massage it around all you want, but you cannot get three nights from a Friday afternoon crucifixion—Friday night, Saturday night—to a Sunday morning resurrection. It won’t work.
Is it important? Well, Jesus is the Passover Lamb, and Jesus was on the cross—John 19 will tell you that He was on the cross at the very time that the Passover lambs were being slain. Furthermore, it was the 10th of Nissan when they took the lambs out of the flock and would watch them for four days to make sure that they were without spot and blemish. And Exodus:12:6 very clearly says, “On the fourteenth day of the first month, the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” That’s the Lamb of God who is going to come.
So He rode into Jerusalem on the 10th of Nissan—that was Palm Sunday, which we still celebrate. Amazing: He had been hiding out; didn’t walk in Jewry anymore, it says, because the Jews sought to slay Him. And then here He comes, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey just as Zechariah:9:9 had foretold: “Rejoice, daughter of Zion; shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes riding on the colt of an ass, meek and lowly, bringing salvation.” And He didn’t go off and hide, He stayed under the view of the Jews for four days. And then on the 14th of the month, the Lamb had to be slain. Well, if Jesus is going to be who He claimed to be, that’s going to be on Thursday: that’s the 14th; Sunday is the 10th. The 14th is Thursday, and He was crucified when the lambs were being slain.
Then you had to roast them [with fire] and eat them that night— that would be Thursday night. So we had…how many nights was He in the grave?—Thursday, Friday, Saturday. How many days—Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday, exactly as the Bible said. It’s very important that the Scriptures be fulfilled.
Tom: Dave, one thing that troubles many people about this is what we call the Last Supper, when Jesus met with His disciples. And people say, “No, that was Him celebrating with them the Passover.”
Dave: Well, Tom, it couldn’t have been, because—unless Jesus and His disciples did it a day ahead. Jesus does say, “With desire I desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Well, they think He’s talking about the next night, because they are cleaning out the leaven and so forth. There is a Last Supper, but it couldn’t have been the Passover, because the next morning, you know, He’s betrayed that night; they take Him. He is being grilled and brutalized by the rabbis, and then they take Him—this is the next day, now—they take Him to Pilate. But it says in John 18 very clearly, “They themselves went not into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.” So obviously, the Rabbis had not eaten the Passover.
And then when you get to chapter 19 when Jesus is on the cross, it says, “It was the sixth hour, the preparation of the Passover.” Now, if the preparation of the Passover is the day after the Last Supper, you couldn’t have eaten the Passover of the night before; it’s very clear.
Now also, Tom, when you come to John:19:31, they’re going to take Him down. The rabbis say, “We’ve got to take Him down because the Sabbath is coming up.” That’s, I guess, what confuses a lot of people—they think it’s the regular Saturday Sabbath. No, it’s not. John:19:31 says, “For that Sabbath day was a high day.” It was a special Sabbath, not the regular Saturday Sabbath, because every 7 years it would happen like that. Thursday afternoon—they would call it before sundown…would be evening—the lambs were slain. Then after sundown, they are roast with fire and you eat the Passover. That is the first day of the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread; it is a High Sabbath. Nobody is out there doing anything, okay? That’s why they wanted His body down. So it was a High Sabbath—a special Sabbath—and the next day is another Sabbath—Saturday.
Furthermore, when you get in chapter 13, Jesus said, “Whatever you do, do quickly,” and Judas goes out into the night. And it says the disciples thought he was going out to buy something against the feast. Look, if this was the Passover, you’re not buying anything, because everything is shut down. This is the High Sabbath. So the Bible has to all fit together, and it does fit together if we are willing. So to continue on with the myth of a Good Friday—what do they do here at our staff, Tom, when they take Friday afternoon off, and I chide them. And they say, “Oh, yeah, we’re celebrating Good Thursday, but we’re doing it on Friday!” [laughs] Well, that’s kind of the way it goes for the whole Christian church.
Tom: We don’t do that! We don’t take Good Friday off.
Dave: Oh, you don’t?
Dave: Good for you.