ON WHAT DAY WAS CHRIST CRUCIFIED?

Every year when Easter rolls around, there resurfaces debates on what day of the week Jesus was crucified. One can read lengthy and complex articles that champion the argument that He was crucified on Wednesday of Holy Week: then one can read other articles that vehemently contend that Jesus was crucified on Thursday; and finally one can read arguments that uphold the traditional view that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. While volumes have been written on this issue, I will be concise as possible in expressing my understanding on which day Jesus was crucified. Let me say at the outset, while the day of His crucifixion may invite lively debate, the most important truth is that He WAS crucified for our sins and that He DID arise from the dead…and that is be to our focus.

Now to adequately address the question as to when Jesus was crucified, let us look at Scripture. Mark 15:42 is clear that Jesus was crucified “the day before the Sabbath” (Mk 15:42), which would be a Friday. John records that the day Jesus was crucified “was the preparation of the Passover” (Jh 19:14). The Greek word translated “preparation” is paraskeue. Gleason Archer writes, “The word paraskeus had already by the first century A.D. become a technical term for ‘Friday’ and since every Friday was the day of preparation for Saturday, that is the Sabbath. In Modern Greek the word for ‘Friday’ is paraskeue.….Therefore, that which might be translated literally as “the preparation of the Passover” must in this context be rendered ‘Friday of Passover Week’” (Archer, Bible Difficulties, (MI: Zondervan, 1982), 375-76). The noted Greek scholar A.T. Robertson writes of the phrase the preparation of the Passover, “That is, Friday of Passover week, the preparation day before the Sabbath of Passover week (or feast) (Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, “John”). Baptist scholar Herschel Hobbs in his commentary on John, asserts that the crucifixion “took place on the ‘the preparation,’ which was a technical term for Friday. Every Friday was called the preparation, (namely, for the Sabbath) (Hobbs, John, (MI: Zondervan, 1965), 89). The phrase “the day of preparation” normally was used to describe the day before the Sabbath, the day before being Friday (C. C. Torrey, “The Date of the Crucifixion According to the Fourth Gospel,” Journal of Biblical Literature 50:4 (1931), 241). It is clear the day in view in John 19:14, 31 is Friday, which corresponds to Mark’s account.

From the first-century Jewish historian Josephus we discover that the seven day festival was often designated ‘the Passover,’ and there can be no doubt as to the rendering ‘Friday.’ Josephus affirms that “the Passover” would refer to the whole eight-day feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread as well as the Passover day (Josephus, Antiquities, 14:2:1; 17:9:3). The day of preparation for the Passover, therefore, clearly refers to the Friday of the eight-day feast. This harmonizes with the other chronological references to the Passion Week in the Synoptic Gospels. While there are many commentators that build elaborate and complex arguments as to a what is considered a discrepancy between the Synoptic Gospels and John in regard to the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and that there were two Sabbaths that week; however, the predominance of the Scriptural evidence and an understanding that paraskeue is a technical term for Friday aligns all four Gospels with the crucifixion occurring on Friday.

Now the contention of those who object to a Friday crucifixion is that Jesus could not have been crucified on Friday as it would not have fulfilled the prediction of Jesus that He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth then rise from the dead on the third day (Matthew 12:40). Let it be noted that when one addresses the question as to what day Jesus was crucified one must not approach the Scriptures with Western thinking regarding time.   Our Western mind logically views the phrase “three days and three nights” to be literal, whereas in the Jewish mind of the first century any part of a day was considered a full day (1 Sam. 30:12-13; 2 Chron. 10:5, 12; Esther 4:1; 5:1). The key to resolving the issue “three days and three nights” lies in an understanding of Jewish idioms. (A Jewish idiom is an expression that its actual meaning is different from the meaning of the literal words that make up the expression or phrase (i.e., to “kick the bucket” means to die – “kick the bucket” is an English idiom or expression that its actual meaning is different from the meaning of the literal words that make up the expression)). The Jewish idiom “three days and three nights” can refer to a combination of any part of three separate days, and as in the case of Jesus remaining in the tomb for a portion of three days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – it would be proper to state as the Gospel writers and Paul did that He arose on the third day (Mark 8:31; I Cor. 15:4), which was the first day of the week (Sunday) (Mark 16:9). Since Jesus was in the grave for part of Friday, all of Saturday, and part of Sunday—He could be considered to have been in the grave for three days. Furthermore, Mark 8:31 states that Jesus will be raised “after” three days. When the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:40 are seen from a Jewish perspective as a Jewish Idiom then He would not need to be in the grave a full three days and nights, but only three days – again in the Jewish mind of the first century any part of a day was considered a full day. It is understood this explanation does not satisfy everyone, yet it is less problematic than some of the complex and contorted explanations that have been put forth for a day other than Friday.

So, there is no contradiction between John and the Synoptics as the day on which Christ died – it was Friday, nor is there contradiction as to whether Jesus was raised on the third day – He was – as any part of a day was considered a full day! While this writer is confident with embracing the Scriptural and traditional view that Christ was crucified on a Friday, I would not fallout with anyone over the debate. The most important truth we need to focus upon is that Jesus DID die on the cross for our sins and that on the first day of the week (Sunday) our Lord  DID arise from the dead and ever lives! O, what a Savior!

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

THE CROSS – THE ONLY TRUE MAGNETIC NORTH

CrossLightEaster Week has arrived  and reflection upon the cross of Christ beckons our focus. The cross looms over the wrecks of time as the one eternal plus sign. The longer I live the more the cross becomes burned in my soul. While I will never be able to fully plumb the depths of its divine mystery, I am fully persuaded that the answer to the woes of humanity is found in the Christ of the cross. Our God has acted in the affairs of humanity, providing through His Son on the cross all that man needs for redemption from his sins and the reconciling of man unto his Creator. Nature reveals that there is a Supreme Being; the cross reveals the character of the Being of which nature is a witness. God’s first creation creates in us awe. His second creation of a New Humanity bought in the cross creates in our souls worship. The Light that shines on the Babe of Bethlehem, finds its Source in the cross that awaited Him. When I speak of the event of the cross, I refer to all that surrounds it – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

The guiding light of the Christian faith is found in the loving righteousness of the One who hung upon the atoning cross. Fallen man seeks answers to life anchored in his own selfish whims, yet the atoning cross is the only true magnetic North for humanity. We must ever keep our eyes upon the cross and seek to understand the marvel of its mystery, its practicality for daily living, and the grace found in the holy-love of the Father that ever flows freely from Christ and His redemptive work on our behalf.

The cross must never be stripped from its relation to the holy-love of God and His judgment upon our sin and its atoning power that can deliver us in the midst of our sin. We are not saved and kept by the sentimentality of some mystic ideal, but by the historical Act of God in the Christ of the cross which is the ground of our salvation. Salvation never means escape from the world, but it means God’s coming to earth in Christ to deal with our sins that we might experience fellowship with Him so we can walk uprightly while in this world. When the cross becomes devoid of God’s holy judgment upon our sin and His atoning work in the midst of our sin, then the cross has lost its power to save. The cross is more than a humanistic relic of religion, but it’s the eternal instrument that reconciles sinful man with a Holy God. It was at the cross judgment upon sin and grace met. It was on Calvary’s Hill that Christ in grace offered His perfect life for us, which life we could not live; and it was there, as our Substitute, He took upon Himself the judgment we deserve.

The cross has invaded the historic affairs of humanity with an act of both mercy and judgment. By faith we are connected to this historical Act, an Act which declares us to be righteous as well as empowers us to live in a relationship with the Righteous One. By faith we are placed into a New Humanity anchored in the holy-love of the Father who calls us to walk in newness of life. When one is guided by the Light of the cross there burns within their soul a passion that longs for all humanity to find connection in the universal finished work of Christ to the glory of the Holy Father.

At the cross Christ who knew no sin become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21).  At the cross the Father brought forth  His loving judgment upon our sin wherein lies our victory. The cross is not an instrument just to bless us but to redeem us and to reconcile us to a Holy God. As the cross becomes our compass we strive to live in obedience to the One who was obedient even unto death on that wooden tree. The cross teaches us that love must not be based upon mere human sentimentality, but be based upon biblical righteousness working within the sphere of  grace anchored in the holy-love of the Father.

Christ’s work on the cross was for the purpose of God’s holy-love dealing with our sin and reconciling us unto Himself. As the Christ of the cross becomes the object of our focus we find our lives becoming  in-tune with the One who acted in history. As P.T. Forsyth exclaimed, “From the darkness through the cross into the Light.”   Yes, one is  only a recipient of  God’s amazing grace as one’s heart is awakened to the truth that sin was judged  in the Christ of the cross. It is then the darkness  in our soul is replaced with the Light of His marvelous redemption.

In a day when the humanistic winds of unbelief seeks to devalue the cross, let us uncompromisingly keep our eyes on the Christ of the cross. It is in the crucified Savior where we find humanity’s true magnetic North that amidst the sinking sands of this world will guide our feet to walk on solid ground.

In Christ,

Dr. Dan

A LEAP INTO THE LIGHT

CrossLightThe atheistic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) once stated, “Faith is not wanting to know what truth is.” He believed that one who embraced faith would never discover truth. Sadly, he spent his whole life searching for truth and fighting against the very source of truth — Jesus Christ. He dismissed faith as irrational and angrily concluded that God was dead. He spent his final days in a state of insanity. His dismissal of faith in Christ as the road to discovering truth took him down a road that led him into madness.

Unfortunately, many today see faith as irrational. If they can’t see, touch, taste or reason it, then it must be dismissed. However, faith is not some nebulous attitude or wishful outlook on life that is built upon shifting sands. Faith is not, as the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) said, a leap in the dark.

The Christian faith is not a leap in the dark, but it is a leap into the arms of Him who said, “I am the Light of world” (John 8:12). As P.T. Forsyth said, “Through the Cross to the Light.” Faith is not, as Nietzsche said, not wanting to know what truth is, but it is just the opposite; faith is the road to discovering what truth is. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Not waiting for an answer, he turned and walked way. He didn’t have eyes to see that he was standing in the presence of Him who declared that He was “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Faith is not a irrational violation of one’s will, but is willingly knelling before the outstretched arms of the Christ of the cross.

The Christian faith is built upon the bedrock of the Christ of the cross. It was there at the cross He dealt with the sin debt which humanity owes to a Holy God, which debt we could never pay. Faith is the deep seated conviction that at the cross Christ, as our Substitute, did for us what we could never do for ourselves. When Jesus cried out on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), the transaction between God and Christ was completed that resulted in our sin debt being marked – PAID IN FULL! We find provided in the Christ of the cross that quality of rightness (righteousness) that allows us to find right standing before the Holy Father. For in Jesus Christ is found the fulfillment of what the perfect Law of God demanded and what the prophets promised.

The Christian faith is not creative in regard to what is truth, it discovers and embraces He who is truth and what He has already accomplished for us on the cross. The Christian faith is not in an idea or merely a creed, but in the person of Jesus Christ who is our Savior, our Mediator, our Advocate, our Rock and our perfect Righteousness. Faith is not a leap in the dark, but is built on that which was done in the light – the perfect life of Christ, His Substitutionary payment on the cross for the sins of humanity, and His resurrection from the grave. Faith is anchored in the knowledge of the historic revelation of God in Christ Jesus.

Oswald Chambers defined faith as “implicit confidence in Jesus. Faith is committal to One whose character we do know because it has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ.” Faith is not closing one’s mind to reason and truth, but realizes implicit faith in the Christ of the cross is most reasonable and the road to truth. Faith is the highest kind of reason, built on the knowledge of who Christ was and is. Faith in Christ is an action that enables us to apprehend, grasp and sense what is beyond us and otherwise unattainable. Faith in the Christ of the cross gives an understanding to the riddle of life and the problem of humanity. Faith in Christ enables us to soar like an eagle into the very presence of God, which would otherwise be inaccessible.

There is much more to living life than just by our sensory-perceptions and only believing what can be proven in a laboratory test tube. When one’s life is built on the historic and solid foundation of the Christ of the cross, one will discover He will prove Himself in the test tube of our lives that He truly is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Christian faith rests in and on the Christ of the Cross in whom we can trust with certainty, confidence and assurance.

And may our faith be found fleshing out Truth in a world that so desperately needs HIM.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

FOUNDATION OF THE CHRISTIAN ETHIC

LightFromCrossThe cross stands at the center of all spiritual and moral reality. The longer I live the more the cross becomes burned in my soul. While I will never be able to fully plumb the depths of its divine mystery, I am fully persuaded that the answer to the woes of humanity is found in the Christ of the cross. Our God has acted in the affairs of humanity, providing through His Son on the cross all that man needs for redemption from his sins and the reconciling of man unto his Creator. Nature reveals that there is a Supreme Being; the cross reveals the character of the Being of which nature is a witness. God’s first creation creates in us awe. His second creation of a New Humanity bought in the cross creates in our souls worship. The Light that shines on the Babe of Bethlehem, finds its Source in the cross that awaited Him. When I speak of the event of the cross, I refer to all that surrounds it – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

We live in a world that is a philosophical maze where people seem to have difficulty choosing a proper ethic that determines what is right and wrong. As Christians we must realize spiritual and ethical truth is anchored in the Cross of Christ and the inspired Word that tells us of our eternal God’s visitation to earth. The guiding ethic of the Christian faith is found in the loving righteousness of the One who hung upon the atoning cross. The ethic of fallen man is anchored in his own selfish whims apart from Christ. For the Christian the atoning cross is our true magnetic North and we must ever keep our eyes upon it and seek to understand the marvel of its mystery, its practicality for daily living, and the grace found in the holy-love of the Father that ever flows freely from Christ and His redemptive work on our behalf.

The cross must never be stripped from its relation to the holy-love of God and His judgment upon our sin and its atoning power that can deliver us in the midst of our sin. We are not saved and kept by the sentimentality of some mystic ideal, but by the historical Act of God in the Christ of the cross which is the ground of our salvation. Salvation never means escape from the world, but it means God’s coming to earth in Christ to deal with our sins that we might experience fellowship with Him so we can walk uprightly while in this world. When the cross becomes devoid of God’s holy judgment upon our sin and His atoning work in the midst of our sin, then the cross has lost its power in our daily lives. The Christian has but one ethic, and its source flows from the Christ of the cross. The cross is more than a humanistic relic of religion, but it’s the eternal instrument that reconciles sinful man with a Holy God. It was at the cross judgment upon sin and grace met. It was on Calvary’s Hill that Christ in grace offered His perfect life for us, which life we could not live; and it was there, as our Substitute, He took upon Himself the judgment we deserved.

The cross has invaded the historic affairs of humanity with an act of both mercy and judgment. By faith we are connected to this historical Act, an Act which declares us to be righteous as well as empowers us to live in a relationship with the Righteous One. By faith we are placed into a New Humanity anchored in the holy-love of the Father who calls us to walk in newness of life. When one is guided by the Light of the cross there burns within their soul a passion that longs for all humanity to find connection in the universal finished work of Christ to the glory of the Holy Father.

All of creation groans for the manifestation of the crucified Son of God, and the bringing forth of His loving judgment upon our sin wherein lies our victory. The cross is not an instrument just to bless us but to redeem us. True spiritual and moral truth flows from the cross whose goal is to make men holy. When the cross is our compass we strive to live in obedience to the One who was obedient even unto death on that wooden tree. The cross teaches us that love must not be based upon mere human sentimentality, but be based upon biblical righteousness (ethic) working within the sphere of our daily world– first with God and then to our fellowman.

Christ’s work on the cross was for the purpose of God’s holy-love dealing with our sin, and is so doing, by faith, it affects our character and conduct. As the Christ of the cross becomes the object of our focus we find our daily ethic becoming more in-tune with the One who acted in history. As P.T. Forsyth has stated, “We are only really, finally, morally right only as God’s grace has its way with us, as the immoral thing, sin, is judged, doomed, and replaced by that which is moral, – faith in the Christ of the cross, faith moralized by its holy object [the cross].”

In a day when the humanistic winds of what is deemed right and wrong is ever changing, let us uncompromisingly keep our eyes on the Christ of the cross. It is in the crucified Savior where we find an unchanging ethic that amidst the sinking sands of this world will keep our feet on solid ground.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

THE CROSS – THE FOUNDATION OF OUR CHARACTER AND CONDUCT

The cross towers over the wrecks of time as God’s eternal plus sign. The cross stands at the center of all spiritual and moral reality.  The longer I live the more the cross becomes burned in my soul. While I will never be able to fully plumb the depths of its divine mystery, I am fully persuaded that the answer to the woes of humanity is found in the redemptive cross of Christ. Our God has acted in the affairs of humanity, providing throuLightFromCrossgh His Son on the cross all that man needs for forgiveness of his sins and the reconciling of man unto his Creator. Nature reveals that there is a Supreme Being; the cross reveals the holy and loving character of the Being of which nature is a witness. God’s first creation creates in us awe. His second creation of a New Humanity bought in the cross creates in our souls worship. The Light that shines on the Babe of Bethlehem, finds its Source in the cross that awaited Him. When I speak of the event of the cross, I refer to all that surrounds it – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

We live in a world that is a philosophical maze where people seem to have difficulty choosing a proper ethic that determines what is right and wrong. As Christians we must realize spiritual and ethical truth is anchored in the Cross of Christ and the inspired Word that tells us of our eternal God’s visitation to earth. The cross is the foundation of our conduct and character. The guiding ethic of the Christian faith is found in the loving righteousness of the One who hung upon the atoning cross. The ethic of fallen man is anchored in his own selfish whims apart from Christ. For the Christian the atoning cross is our true magnetic North and we must ever keep our eyes upon it and seek to understand the marvel of its mystery, its practicality for daily living, and the grace found in the holy-love of the Father that ever flows freely from Christ and His redemptive work on our behalf.

The cross must never be stripped from its relation to the holy-love of God and His judgment upon our sin and its regenerating power that can deliver us in the midst of our sin. We are not saved and kept by the sentimentality of some mystic ideal, but by the historical Act of God in the Christ of the cross which is the ground of our salvation. Salvation never means escape from the world, but it means God’s coming to earth in Christ to deal with our sins that we might experience fellowship with Him so we can walk uprightly while in this world. When the cross becomes devoid of God’s holy judgment upon our sin and His atoning work in the midst of our sin, then the cross has lost its power in our daily lives.

The Christian has but one ethic, and its source flows from the Christ of the cross. The cross is more than a humanistic relic of religion, but it’s the eternal instrument that reconciles sinful man with a Holy God. It was at the cross judgment upon sin and grace met. It was on Calvary’s Hill that Christ in grace offered His perfect life for us, which life we could not live; and it was there, as our Substitute, He took upon Himself the judgment we deserved.

The cross has invaded the historic affairs of humanity with an act of both mercy and judgment. By faith we are connected to this historical Act, an Act which declares us to be righteous as well as empowers us to live in a relationship with the Righteous One. By faith we are born into a New Humanity anchored in the holy-love of the Father who calls us to walk in newness of life. When one is guided by the Light of the cross there burns within their soul a passion that longs for all humanity to find connection in the all-sufficient finished work of Christ to the glory of the Father.

All of creation groans for the manifestation of the crucified Son of God, and the bringing forth of His loving judgment upon our sin wherein lies our victory. The cross is not an instrument just to bless us but to redeem us. True spiritual and moral truth flows from the cross whose goal is to make men holy. When the cross is our compass we strive to live in obedience to the One who was obedient even unto death on that wooden tree. The cross teaches us that divine love is not based upon  human emotion, but is based upon biblical righteousness  working within the sphere of our daily world– first in our relationship to  God and then to our fellowman.

Christ’s work on the cross was for the purpose of God’s holy-love dealing with our sin, and is so doing, by faith, it shapes our character and conduct. As the Christ of the cross becomes the object of our focus we find our daily ethic becoming more in-tune with the One who acted in history. As P.T. Forsyth has stated, “We are only really, finally, morally right only as God’s grace has its way with us, as the immoral thing, sin, is judged, doomed, and replaced by that which is moral, – faith in the Christ of the cross.”

In a day when the humanistic winds of what is deemed right and wrong is ever changing, let us uncompromisingly keep our eyes on the Christ of the cross. It is in the crucified Savior where we find an unchanging ethic that amidst the sinking sands of this world will keep our feet on solid ground.

In Christ,

Dr. Dan