Was Jesus Crucified on Friday?

On What Day Was Jesus Crucified and Does it Matter?

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Zavada, Jack. "Was Jesus Crucified on Friday?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/was-jesus-crucified-on-friday-700750. Zavada, Jack. (2017, February 28). Was Jesus Crucified on Friday? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/was-jesus-crucified-on-friday-700750 Zavada, Jack. "Was Jesus Crucified on Friday?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/was-jesus-crucified-on-friday-700750 (accessed September 21, 2017).
Jesus Crucified
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If most Christians observe Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday, why do some believers think Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday or Thursday?

Once again, it's a matter of different interpretations of Bible passages.  If you think the Jewish feast of Passover occurred during the week of Christ's passion, that makes two Sabbaths in the same week, opening the possibility for a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion.

  If you believe Passover happened on Saturday, that demands a Friday crucifixion.

None of the four Gospels specifically say Jesus died on a Friday.  In fact, the names we use now for the days of the week did not come along until after the Bible had been written, so you won't find the word "Friday" in the Bible at all. However, the Gospels do say Jesus' crucifixion occurred the day before the Sabbath.  The normal Jewish Sabbath starts at sunset on Friday and runs until sunset on Saturday. 

When Was Jesus Crucified? 

Death and Burial on the Day of Preparation

Matthew 27:46, 50 says Jesus died around three in the afternoon.  As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pontius Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Jesus was buried in Joseph's tomb before sunset.  Matthew adds that the next day was the one "after Preparation Day."  Mark 15:42-43, Luke 23:54, and John 19:42 all state Jesus was buried on the day of Preparation.

However, John 19:14 also says "It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon." (NIV)  Some believe this allows for a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion.  Others say it was only preparation for Passover week.

A Friday crucifixion would put the slaying of the Passover lamb on Wednesday.

  Jesus and his disciples would have eaten the Last Supper on Thursday.  After that, Jesus and the disciples went to Gethsemane, where he was arrested.  His trial would have been late Thursday night into Friday morning. His scourging and crucifixion began early Friday morning.

All Gospel accounts agree that Jesus' resurrection, or the first Easter, happened on the first day of the week:  Sunday.

How Many Days are Three Days?

The opposing views also disagree on how long Jesus was in the tomb.  In the Jewish calendar, one day ends at sunset and a new one begins, which runs from sunset to the following sunset.  In other words, Jewish "days" ran from sunset until sunset, instead of midnight to midnight.

To muddle the situation even more, some say Jesus rose after three days while others say he rose on the third day.  Here's what Jesus himself said:

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19, NIV)

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” (Mark 9:30-31, NIV)

And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22, NIV)

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." (John 2:19, NIV)

If, by Jewish reckoning, any part of a day is considered a full day, then from Wednesday sunset until Sunday morning would have been four days.  Resurrection on the third day (Sunday) would allow for a Friday crucifixion.

To show how confusing this debate is, this short summary doesn't even get into the date of Passover that year or what year Jesus was born and started his public ministry.

Is Good Friday Like December 25?

As theologians, Bible scholars, and everyday Christians argue over which day Jesus died, an important question comes up:  Does it make any difference?

In the final analysis, this controversy is as irrelevant as whether Jesus was born on December 25.  All Christians believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world and was buried in a borrowed tomb right afterward.

All Christians would agree that the linchpin of the faith, as declared by the Apostle Paul, is that Jesus rose from the dead.  Regardless of what day he died or was buried, Jesus did conquer death so those who believe in him may have everlasting life as well.

(Sources: biblelight.net, gotquestions.org, chosenpeople.com, and yashanet.com. )

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.