How Long was Jesus in the Tomb?
In other words, was he buried on Wednesday evening, or Friday evening?
Now, for the BIBLE’S account of how to reckon the meaning of “three days”, go and compare two simple Scriptures and apply the resulting principle to the 3 days and 3 nights dilemma that some of you are encountering:
See, 1 Kings 18:1 and James 5:17
1Kgs 18:1 ¶ And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
Ok, note the words, “IN THE THIRD YEAR”
Alright, let’s look at James 5:17:
James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Hmmmm. Evidently, God thinks that IN THE THIRD YEAR means anything between the beginning of the forth year, and the end of the forth year, and yet God calls it IN the third year - simply because it is AFTER three years have passed, but the FORTH year has not completed yet. So, when God recorded Elijah going to meet Ahab “in the third year”, God thought it included actually 3 and a HALF years.
[YEAR ONE] [YEAR TWO] [YEAR THREE] [YEAR FOUR]
3 and 1/2 years is said to be the same as being "in the third year", at least according to God. Doesn't matter what anyone of us think!
Applied to the three days and three nights Scripture (Mt 12:40), when compared with other Scriptures that say, “IN three days…”, etc., evidently, according to the way GOD seems to see time, three days and three nights can actually include the time all the way up to just before the ending of the FOURTH day!
So, finally, Wednesday is the most logical day to begin our time reckoning for the Crucifixion, with Thursday being the Passover (High Sabbath), and VERY early on Sunday (sometime after Sunset on Saturday night is the actual beginning of the First Day of the week in the Jewish system) Jesus rising from the dead and leaving the tomb waiting for someone to come looking for His dead body!
Mark 8:31 says, "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."
Matthew 27:62-64 says, "Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first" .