The Third Day

When a Christian hears “the third day”, they ought to think of the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Jesus predicted He would rise on the third day after His death, and He did.

…Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 17: 22)

So “the third day” is used idiomatically in Christianity to refer to Resurrection Sunday. But why “the third day”? Have you ever thought of that? Is the lapse of time from Jesus’ death to His resurrection arbitrary? Why didn’t Jesus say “and He will be raised on the fourth day”? Certainly if He rose from the dead on Monday, that would still be an amazing thing. Why the third day instead of the fourth day?

Both Jesus and Paul tell us that the third day is not arbitrary, but derived from the Old Testament Scriptures:

…and He (Jesus) said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day…” (Luke 24: 46)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…(1 Corinthians 15: 4)

But one of the great mysteries is this – there is no predictive prophecy in the Old Testament that links the third day to the Messiah. There is nothing that essentially says “the coming Messiah will die and rise on the third day.” So what were Jesus and Paul talking about?

The posts on this site categorized as “The Third Day” attempt to explain what Jesus and Paul were talking about.


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