Despite popular tradition, we know that Jesus was likely not resurrected early on Sunday morning following His crucifixion, because scripture tells us that when the women went to the tomb ‘very early in the morning,’ the angels told them, “He is not here; he has [already] risen!” (Luke 24:6).
So when exactly was Jesus resurrected?
Despite what church tradition would have us believe, a proper analysis of scripture makes clear that Jesus was not crucified on Friday and did not rise on a Sunday morning in AD 30. According to scripture and the Jewish calendar for the year of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23) at His first coming; he fulfilled Passover with His crucifixion; He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread with His burial; and He fulfilled First Fruits with His resurrection.
It is especially significant that the Jewish Feast of First Fruits was observed on the day following the weekly Sabbath of the Passion Week – on Sunday. According to Jewish tradition, all days began at sundown; therefore, First Fruits began at sundown of Saturday and ended on sundown of Sunday. Jesus’ resurrection must therefore have occurred at some point during that period. And since we have already established that it was before early morning on Sunday, when did it actually occur?
Jesus specifically stated that – like Jonah – He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17, Matthew 12:40). Unfortunately, church tradition – which advocates a Friday afternoon crucifixion, a burial before sunset, and a resurrection on Sunday morning -simply would not allow for the scripturally-required three days and three nights – even if we allow for partial days and nights.
I believe that in order for Jesus’ Passion to have properly fulfilled scripture and the traditions of the Jewish Feasts, the crucifixion must have occurred on Wednesday afternoon. Burial would have followed at sundown (the beginning of Thursday and the Feast of Unleavened Bread); and the resurrection would have occurred at sundown on Saturday, the start of First Fruits and the beginning of Sunday on the Jewish calendar. This chronology provides three full days and three full nights for Jesus’ body to be in the earth.
Because Jesus served as the First Fruits of the resurrection, it makes sense that He would have been resurrected at the start of First Fruits, which would also have corresponded to the Jewish rite of First Fruits, during which the Temple Priests offered to heaven the first cuts of barley from a special field in the Kidron Valley. This would have been the exact moment at which Jesus rose from the grave.
God makes all things perfect. What could have been more perfect than this?
For a complete discussion of the when of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension(s), please read the various postings at the following link on the Truth in Scripture website: