Three Days and Three Nights
Scripture states that Jesus rose THE third day, IN three days, and AFTER three days (Matthew 16:21; 26:61; 27:63).
Only three full days – seventy-two full hours – will satisfy all the numerous statements of the New Testament. To better understand, you must know that there can be more than one Sabbath day in a week. The weekly Sabbath day was each Saturday. God also commanded feasts and celebrations which included High Sabbath days.
Jesus gave only one sign, the sign of Jonah, to prove He was truly the Son of God – the time He would be dead (Matt 12:38-40; 16:4).
Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples on the evening of the fourteenth by Moses' law. The first day of the Jewish year was the spring equinox. It has 12 hours of day and night. Passover was 14 days later, a Tuesday night. (Ex 12:6-8; Matt 26:17-20; Mark 14:12-17; Luke 22:7-15).
The crucifixion began at 9:00 AM Wednesday morning, and Jesus died after the darkness ended at 3:00 PM Wednesday afternoon. (Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:25,33-37; Luke 23:44-49).
Jesus was buried hurriedly as the preparation day ended and the high Sabbath day, Thursday, was about to begin (Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14,31,42).
The women who followed Jesus rested the high Sabbath day, Thursday, of the Passover before buying and preparing their spices on Friday. This was the only day they could do the preparations. (Mark 16:1 cp Exodus 12:16).
The women bought their spices and prepared them on the regular workday between the two Sabbaths days this week (Mark 16:1 cp Luke 23:55-56).
The women rested during the weekly Sabbath day, Saturday, after buying and preparing their spices the previous workday (Luke 23:55-56 cp Exodus 20:10).
Jesus rose from the dead as the weekly Sabbath ended – three days and three nights after burial – as prophesied (Matthew 12:39-40; Mark 8:31).
While it was still dark, the morning of the first day of the week, the women found the tomb already empty (Matt 28:1-6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1).
The gospel record of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection prove His identifying sign of three days and three nights (Matthew 12:39-40).