According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus is said to have risen from the dead on the third day or after three days. And this appears to be a contradiction in terms, and could make it appear that there are several possibilities as to when Jesus rose from the dead.

Also, the fact that Jesus died on a Friday makes these phrases more confusing, as a resurrection on Sunday could be scrutinized based on this discrepancy.

However, in accordance with a biblical scholar Ben Witherington, he advised that we should not be worried on that, because the Gospel writers were not using terms that have the same scientific precision with our modern language.

The issue with this sort of modern reasoning is that we assumes the Gospel writers always intended to write with precision on this matter. In fact in the New Testament, the phrase “after three days” can simply mean “after a while” or “after a few days” without any clear specification beyond suggesting many days, in this case parts of three days, would be also be involved.

Witherington gave an example from the Old Testament in which “‘after three days’ signifies the very same thing as ‘on the third day.” Furthermore, “days” in Jewish reckoning were not the midnight-to-midnight that is 24 hours that we use today.

So according to the traditional biblical narrative, Jesus died on a Friday afternoon, which is the “day of preparation” before the Sabbath, which turned out to Saturday for Jewish Brethren.

Moreover, Apologist Jimmy Akin reconstructs the timeline of the death and resurrection of Jesus, based on the Gospels and Jewish traditions saying that, if Jesus was crucified and died on Friday afternoon, that means it would be the first day; at sunset on Friday, the second day would begin; then at sunset on Saturday the third day would begin.

So as (Matthew 20:19) says that Jesus was indeed “raised on the third day.
Consistently, according to Matthew’s account about the women who visited the empty tomb on Sunday morning.

In Matthew (28:5-6), “After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. Then the angel said to the women in reply, ‘Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said”.

As a result of that, it’s likely that Jesus rose from the dead between sundown on Saturday and dawn on Sunday, before Mary Magdalene got the tomb.

It’s not a surprise that the Church has always been following this timeline, with the Easter Vigil service on Saturday night already celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

And this placement of the death of Jesus on Saturday night corresponds with the biblical narrative and Jewish practices at the time.

As we don’t know the exact time Jesus rose from the dead, but the important part is that Jesus rose from the dead and opened the gates of Heaven for us and also the promise of a future resurrection at the end of this world.

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