THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS
It was Bible reading time again and before Grandfather could start Sarah jumped in with a question.
“Grandfather I don’t understand three days and three nights. I know I am young, but, I just don’t
“What don’t you understand, darling” Grandfather asked.
“Well Grandfather, I don’t understand three days and three nights. You read last night that Jesus would
be dead three days and three nights. But, as much as I try, I can’t get that with Jesus dying on Friday and
getting up early Sunday morning.”
With that Sarah started counting. She raised her two delicate hands.
“Friday” and she raised her right index finger.
“Friday night” and Sarah raised her left index finger.
“Saturday” and up went her right middle finger.
“Saturday night” and she raised her left middle finger.
“And how does Sunday count since Jesus got up early Sunday morning. You said that when the Bible
says three days and three nights it means a whole day and night or twenty-four hours. I don’t get it
With that Grandfather rubbed the grey stubble on his chin.
“You are a very smart young lady,” he said. “most Christians never get around to thinking that through
or they just dismiss it because they can’t explain it. But, there is an answer and it is pretty simple.”
I’m waiting Grandfather” Sarah said with an impish grin.
“All of the leadership in the Christian churches today are taught to recite church doctrine rather than
being trained to study the accuracy of God’s Word!”
Sarah cut in “ So, what is the answer Grandfather?”
“The answer, my dear sweet child is to know the difference between the weekly Sabbath or High
Day and a Special Sabbath or High Day and to know some of the customs of the times. So let’s start with
First Corinthians chapter five.”
With that Grandfather opened his dog-eared Bible to I Corinthians and read;
1 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)
… For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
“You see Sarah, in the Old Testament the Jewish people used a lamb that was no more than a
year old as their yearly sacrifice. But, when Jesus Christ died for you and me he became that
Passover lamb. This is important in understanding the three days and three nights that we are
talking about because the Passover lamb was always sacrificed on a specific day.”“Like Christmas always being on December 25th?” asked Sarah.
“Why exactly!” Exclaimed Grampa. “Now, we are going to go to Exodus chapter twelve and
verse one says, ‘ And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall
take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house
take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your
count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep,
or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of
the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”
“Grandfather, I’m not sure I understand all of that.”
“That’s ok Sarah,” said Grandfather, ‘just remember that the fourteenth was the day of the death
of the Passover lamb and the fifteenth was a special sabbath a special holy day or as we now call
them a special holiday.”
“Now you mentioned Christmas being on the twenty fifth of December does it matter what day it
“I don’t understand,” said Sarah.
“Okay, would we postpone Christmas if it came on Sunday so we could observe Sunday?” asked
“Oh, don’t be silly, Grandfather, you know we wouldn’t do that. Christmas is much too
important,” said Sarah.
“One other question, Sarah, before we go on.”
“What Grandfather?” asked Sarah.
“Do we consider both Christmas and Sunday holy days?”
“Yes, Grandfather, of course we do.” Exclaimed Sarah.
“Very good darling.” said Grandfather with a tone in his voice that only love could produce. “So,
the fourteenth was a preparation day and the fifteenth was the holy day.” (Lev. 23:6,7)
“Now, darling, we have to know when the day started in those times.” said Grandfather.“ I know this one,” exclaimed Sarah, “it starts at midnight, right Grandfather?”
“That’s when our days start, but, that wasn’t the case back then. Back then the day started at
sunset rather than in the middle of the night.” explained Grandfather.
Grandfather continued, “ Jesus Christ died at three o’clock and was buried before sunset because
the Jews couldn’t do any work on the holy day which was the next day, the fifteenth.”
“Are you still with me, kiddo.” asked Grandfather.
“ I think so,” replied Sarah.
“I’m going to read Matthew twenty-eight and then we are going to do some counting.”
With that Grandfather’s withered hands deftly turned to the book of Matthew.
“In verse one it says, ‘In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the
week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.’”
“Do you remember how their days correspond to our days,” asked Grandfather.
“I think so,” said Sarah, “ isn’t their sabbath the same as our Saturday and the first day of their
week would fall on our Sunday?”
Sarah sat there beaming at Grandfather.
“Very good, young lady,” exclaimed Grandfather. “So, now, let’s read Matthew chapter twentyeight verses one through six. 1 ‘ In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day
of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus,
which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’”
“Does it say he arose that morning?” asked Grandfather.
“No grandfather it doesn’t,” Sarah said with puzzlement.
“Good!” exclaimed Grandfather. “Now that we have all of the pieces let’s put it together. We
know from the Bible that Jesus Christ was buried for three days and three nights, right?”
“Right.” said Sarah.Grandfather continued “and we know that Jesus Christ was buried before sunset and that he
arose before Mary Magdalene and the other Mary got there early Sunday morning, right?”
“Jesus Christ had to have gotten up shortly after the seventy-two hour period. Maybe a minute or
two after. So, it would have been at the close of the day on what we call Saturday, that Christ got
up. By the way, do you know why Jesus Christ was in the grave seventy-two hours or three days
and three nights.”
“No, Grandfather, why?” asked Sarah.
Grandfather fixed his eyes on Sarah and said, “Because, it was a requirement of the law to be
buried three days and three nights to be legally declared dead and Jesus Christ fulfilled the law
even to that extreme.”
“Okay Sarah,” said Grandfather, let’s count backwards. Jesus Christ arose Saturday evening, so,
Saturday day, Friday night, Friday day, Thursday night”
With each day and night Grandfather called out Sarah raised another finger.
“Thursday day, Wednesday night.”
“Stop Grandfather! That’s three days and three nights! So, Jesus Christ died on Wednesday
afternoon!” exclaimed Sarah.
“Good for you, Sarah! He did die on Wednesday and got up late Saturday afternoon.”
“With that Sarah snuggled into Grandfather’s chest and said, “thank you Grandfather for
teaching me so much. I love you Grandfather.”
“I love you, too,” said Grandfather, “I surely do.”