The Last Week of Jesus
Sunday—The First Day of the Next Week
We are suggesting that Jesus was crucified on Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday. This would allow for the Passover described by John to have been observed on 14 Nisan— the last Thursday evening of Jesus’s life.
One reason some believe the crucifixion to have taken place on Thursday grows out of efforts to argue for Jesus remaining three literal 24-hour days in the grave. However, the chronological details as presented in the Gospels do not substantiate a Thursday death and therefore the issue of the literal three days and nights must be solved in a different way.
The argument against this position is founded on the assumed necessity for Jesus to remain in the grave for three, literal 24-hour days. The verse usually quoted on this topic is found in Matthew 12:40, “…for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” However, Mark describes the event as simply, “after three days”, in Mark 8:31, “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” And Paul, in his gospel formula penned in 1 Corinthians 15:4, pinpoints the third day, “…and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
The above passages would not necessarily demand three 24-hour days. How are these passages then harmonized? It is our understanding that in the first-century Jewish thinking, any part of a day was counted as a day for the purpose of fulfilling ritual obligations. A Tamludic passage often quoted to bolster this view is found in the Jerusalem Talmud. “Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah (lived ca. A.D. 100), who was the tenth in the descent from Ezra, stated: ‘A day and night are an Onah [“a portion of time”] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it.’”
There are numerous articles and chapters in books demonstrating that a first-century Jewish view of time would allow for Jesus to be raised “on the third day”, as Paul and Mark both describe.
The Jewish people at the time would have understood the principle that a part of the day was counted as a day in terms of ritual purification. The reference to Jonah’s time in the belly of the whale was used by Jesus to describe what was about to happen to Him by comparing it to a well-known story in the Hebrew Bible. He was not necessarily making a case for an exact parallel regarding three 24-hour days.
The Sunday resurrection seems to affirm the Friday crucifixion as well, and the Gospels, especially Luke 24:13 and 21, point to a Friday crucifixion. If the premise is accepted that Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday, then the resurrection may well have happened on the Festival of First Fruits, which took place on the day after the Sabbath. “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it’” (Leviticus 23:10-11).
The Apostle Paul seems to view the resurrected Jesus as “the first fruits of those who are asleep” in 1 Corinthians 15:20, which is likely linked to his understanding that the waving of the sheaf of grain (the first fruit) took place on Sunday as well, affirming the typology of the Passion; Jesus died as the Lamb of God and rose as Christ, the first fruits. (1 Corinthians 15:23)
Paul, a well trained first-century rabbi would have understood these parallels and pointed them out under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, especially to his Jewish readers.
 IBID Locations 864-868). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. Also see Jerusalem Talmud: Sabbath ix. 3; cf. also Babylonian Talmud: Pesahim 4a. A certain man used to say, ‘Judge my case’. Said they, This proves that he is descended from Dan, for it is written, Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. A certain man was wont to go about and say, ‘By the sea shore thorn-bushes are fir-trees.’ They investigated and found that he was descended from Zebulun, for it is written, Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea. And now that it is established that all agree that ‘or’ means evening, consider: according to both R. Judah and R. Meir, leaven is forbidden from six hours and onward only, then let us search in the sixth [hour]? And should you answer, The zealous are early [to perform] religious duties, then let us search from the morning? For it is written, and in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised, and it was taught: The whole day is valid for circumcision, but that the zealous are early [to perform] their religious duties, for it is said, And Abraham rose early in the morning! — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: [It was fixed] at the hour when people are found at home, while the light of a lamp is good for searching. Abaye observed: Therefore a scholar must not commence his regular session in the evening of the thirteenth breaking into the fourteenth, lest his studies absorb him and he come to neglect his religious duty. (https://juchre.org/talmud/pesachim/pesachim1.htm#4a)
 Jerusalem Talmud: Shabbath ix. 3, as quoted in Hoehner, 1974, pp. 248-249,
 Early on the first day of the week (Sunday), they went to the tomb (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), which was empty. Furthermore, on the same day He arose from the grave, Jesus walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13), and they told Him that their Master was crucified and “now it is the third day since this occurred” (Luke 24:21). This, then, points to His crucifixion as having occurred on Friday. With all this evidence, the only plausible conclusion is that Jesus was crucified on Friday and rose on Sunday. IBID