I strongly feel that one of God’s spiritual purposes for allowing COVID-19 to interrupt in-person worship is so we can pause and take a good look at how we approach worship and our traditions.
One of the reasons the religious establishment sought to kill Jesus was because He challenged their traditions.
Matthew 15:3 (ESV)
3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
He also made it clear that God demands that we worship Him in spirit and truth, not just what we choose to believe…
John 4:24 (NKJV)
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
One of those traditions that I think that God wants us to reconsider is what we call ‘Good Friday’ or the day when Yeshua was crucified and buried. I can’t count the times I’ve heard or read arguments trying to make Friday through Sunday 3 days and 3 nights. And quite frankly, it always sounds like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Many Christians feel they have to justify making two days into three because they don’t want to contradict what we have been taught… a tradition.
It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a circle.
Take another look at the account of the day Yeshua was on the cross taking into consideration that the Jewish day began at what we call 6pm or sunset to sunrise.
The Gospels say that Yeshua cried out and breathed His last breath around the 9th hour, or 3pm…
Mark 15:33-37 (NKJV)
33 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”
37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
As we move forward to verse 42, it is now EVENING and Yeshua is still on the cross as Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the body.
Mark 15:42-43 (NKJV)
42 Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Upon the arrival of evening, it’s no longer the same day as it was when Yeshua was crucified.
Genesis 1:5 (NKJV)
5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. [a]So the evening and the morning were the first day.
God gave us His word from a Jewish perspective. Problems arise when we try and view it through the lens of our western perspective.
Notice everything that had to take place after before Jesus could be placed into the tomb after 3pm…
John 19:31-42 (NKJV)
31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
Remember, harmonizing with Mark 15:42, it was EVENING when Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Yeshua. This was AFTER the soldiers came to break His legs (this was evening too) and realized He was already dead. This was after he was given sour wine to drink before He died. All this was after 3pm and took time. It took time for Joseph to go to Pilate, ask for the body, get His linen cloth, properly wrap His body in the cloth, get the body of our Savior off the cross, and take it to the tomb.
This all happened after evening had arrived…the next biblical day according to the Jewish perspective of a day beginning in the evening rather than at 12 midnight.
So, with the ARRIVAL of evening came the Day of Preparation, or what we call Friday, which means everything that happened BEFORE evening was on the previous day, what we call Thursday.
If the crucifixion occurred on what we call Thursday, then one can easily justify three days and three nights… no trying to fit a square peg into a circle.
Of course, some are so devoted to a tradition that doesn’t make sense, they will ask, “What does it matter?”
It matters because God demands to be worshipped in spirit and truth.
It matters because we don’t want to be guilty of teaching, preaching and believing a lie.
It matters because the Adversary wants to pervert everything holy (NAMES MATTER (WHY WE SHOULD STOP CALLING EASTER…EASTER).
I’m sure some ‘seasoned’ theologians will read this and try and make me seem as though I don’t know what I’m talking about…and that’s exactly what happened to Jesus.
Think about it.