Monday, March 24, 2008

The Sign of Jonah

Matthew 12:40 has Christ condemning his generation for seeking a sign, and then stating that the Son of Man will be in the depths of the earth for three days and three nights.  

Three days and three nights has long plagued me, but never too seriously, as I would generally allow the balm of apathy to soothe my doubts: "I'll figure it out after this next beer and bag of Kettle Chips."  We know that Christ was crucified the eve of the sabbath from the text itself, and we know that He rose on Sunday from church history as well as many, many external sources.  The problem should seem pretty obvious: Friday night burial to Sunday morning resurrection can be stretched into three days by desperate men bending over backwards in an attempt to "save the phenomena," as Plato said, but no amount of hand waving can add a third night into the mix.

The solution is also obvious, or at least obvious enough to make me feel really stupid.  But hey, my pastor at least is smart, which is apparently what I pay him for, except I actually don't.  It's what I would pay him for if I was making money instead of spending it on Kettle Chips, beer and cheese.  The crucifixion of Christ took place the eve of the Passover, the annual sabbath.  This was apparently on a Wednesday, and He rose Saturday night (following the pattern of eve then morn outlined in Genesis), leaving the tomb empty for the spectators on Sunday morning.

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