Good Friday, Good Wednesday, or Good Grief You’re Missing the Point?

Today is Good Friday. And while most of us are reflecting on the unfathomable love that our Savior Jesus Christ has for all of us unworthy sinners, others are arguing about what actual day should be celebrated.

Is it Good Friday, the traditional day that most Christians celebrate? Or should it actually be on Wednesday, which gives time for a literal 72 hours to pass?

You can actually argue either side. (I mean we can argue about anything, right?)

If you believe Jesus was crucified on Friday, you can point to the fact that the ancient Jews didn’t count days like we do. Jews counted part of a day as one day. This chart from the Answers in Genesis article Three Days and Three Nights illustrates this reckoning of time:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

FRI
starts at
sundown on
Thursday
FRI
ends at
sundown
SAT
starts at
sundown on
Friday
SAT
ends at
sundown
SUN
starts at
sundown on
Saturday
SUN
ends at
sundown

Night

Day

Night

Day

Night

Day

Crucifixion

Sabbath

Resurrection

For further corroboration Good Friday advocates can list biblical precedent for this non-literal accounting in Esther 4:16 when she tells Mordecai to have the Jews fast, “neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.” But then in 5:1, Esther says that on the third day she went and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace. If days were to be counted literally here, then Esther wouldn’t have seen the king until the fourth day.

If you believe Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, there’s a good argument to be made for that as well. Most assume that the crucifixion was on Friday because the Bible says that the next day was the Sabbath, which was Saturday. However, there is biblical support for the argument that the Wednesday in question was actually a Jewish holy day- the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. John 19:31 refers to the particular sabbath in question as “a high day” which doesn’t actually denote a regular weekly Sabbath but an annual holy day. For an excellent commentary on this particular interpretation you can check out Good Friday – Easter Sunday, It Doesn’t Fit With the Bible!

OR. There is a third option. The good grief you’re missing the point option- which happens to be the one I ascribe to. And I believe the Apostle Paul would agree with me.

Anytime we lose focus of the actual point of what we’re celebrating (the fact that Jesus took all of our sins upon Himself and sacrificed Himself on the cross so that you and I are completely forgiven for all sin past, present, and future) and become focused on the legalistic minutia, which we then use as a premise to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ, we become guilty of exactly what Paul implores us NOT to do in Romans 14.

Paul clearly states that we should NOT be arguing over disputable matters. What is a disputable matter?

Well, Paul gives two examples in Romans 14. The first is Jewish dietary laws. The Jews who had recently converted to Christianity were demanding that the new Gentile Christians follow the Jewish kosher dietary laws. Paul says: STOP! Verse 4: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” In other words: mind your own business!

Paul’s second example pertains to days individuals may or may not esteem. This refers to those who consider particular days to be more sacred than others versus those who consider every day alike. Contextually, this is a reference to the Jewish Christians demanding that the Gentile Christians keep the traditional Jewish holy days and the sabbath. However, this fits our example as well since we are discussing an argument regarding what particular day “must” be dedicated to worship. Paul says every believer must be convinced in his own mind. In verse 9 Paul tells us that our pursuit should be to promote peace and to build each other up.

Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Christ is the focus. Not the day. In verse 16, Paul continues, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat of drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” Condemning each other on the basis of which day is the “correct” day is not promoting peace- it is creating a rift between brothers and sisters where one doesn’t belong.

Coming from a legalistic religious background, I understand this concept all too well. It’s called missing the forest for the trees. We can become so obsessed with details that don’t matter (such as which particular day Christ was crucified on) that we break fellowship over a 2 day time difference. Instead we should be celebrating our common ground. Encouraging and building each other up. Our only concern should be giving glory to Jesus for His triumph over sin and death rendering those of us who have accepted His gift, righteous IN Him!

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