Beginning at sundown on Thursday, on what Christians refer to as Maundy Thursday, we begin the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, culminating at sundown Sunday. At this time of the year, there is often confusion about the three days leading to the Resurrection. Some say it is four days, not three: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then Sunday, but it is only three days. Here's how the three days add up.
Sundown Thursday to sundown Friday
According to the Bible the creation is described this way: "It was evening, it was morning." That's Day 1. A day begins at sundown. So, the first day of the three days leading to the Resurrection begins at sundown and continues to sundown Friday.
Thursday evening at sundown begins Maundy Thursday; "Maundy" being of Germanic origin meaning "mourning." On this Thursday evening, Jews celebrated the Passover, and had been doing so since about 1450 BC. Jesus celebrated the Passover that night, as he had done every year since his birth, but there were two differences on this particular Passover: Jesus knew it was His last, and he chose his disciples to share it with him. This "last supper," is known to Christians as "The Last Supper." Thursday evening began the sacred celebration of "communion." Jesus instructed the disciples how they could share his body and his blood "in remembrance" of Him, as the Savior they did not yet fully understand he would be.
Good Friday begins before sundown on Thursday (still Day 1). Christ is arrested. He is tried by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified on the cross, dead and buried before Friday's sundown, still Day 1.
"Good Friday" derives its name from the Germanic "mourning." The word "God" and "good" are considered to be interchangeable in some circumstances. Jesus was fulfilling the Psalmist's prophecies and His own testimony in the Book of Luke, that He would "suffer many things...be slain...(and be raised on the third day)."
Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday
Christ rests in His tomb.
Sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday.
Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday) begins at sundown Saturday and continues to sundown Sunday. At dawn on Sunday, Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" go to the tomb, expecting to find Jesus there. The tomb is empty. "An angel of the Lord" appears to the women and the guards watching over the tomb, saying: "He is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee," said the angel. Two women run to tell the disciples, and suddenly Jesus appears before them: "Greetings" he said. The women clasp his feet, they worship him. He sends them to tell the disciples He will see them in Galilee.
For forty days Jesus Christ appeared to the Apostles. According to 1 Corinthians 15:6, Christ appeared to "more than five hundred...at the same." During this time He ate with the disciples, talked with them and answered questions.
The promise of Jesus Christ now covers the earth.