Sabbath Preparation

Sabbath Study, Part 28

Jesus, the man characterized by the Pharisees as a sinner (a glutton, a drunkard, and a Sabbath breaker), suffered and died in the place of sinners (including gluttons, drunkards, and Sabbath breakers). Shortly thereafter, Joseph of Arimathea (a member of the Jewish council and a follower of Christ) had the body of Jesus buried in a stone tomb. All this took place on a Friday.

That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. (Luke 23:54-56)

That day was the preparation.
The hurried manner in which Jesus’ body was taken down and buried is due to the approach of the Sabbath. For the Jews, proper observance of the fourth commandment required preparation before the Sabbath day actually arrived. Once more, their days were reckoned from sunset to sunset, not from morning to morning (as we do today). Thus, the Sabbath began on a Friday evening at sunset and ended on a Saturday evening at sunset (see Lev. 23:32).

And the Sabbath drew near.
“Though they were in tears for the death of Christ, yet they must apply themselves to the sanctifying of the sabbath; and, when the sabbath draws on, there must be preparation. Our worldly affairs must be so ordered that they may not hinder us from our sabbath work, and our holy affections must be so excited that they may carry us on in it” (Matthew Henry).

They rested…according to the commandment.
Even in the midst of an event as paradigm-shattering as the death of their Savior, Jesus’ followers still observed the Sabbath rest, in accordance with the law of the God who had walked with them in the flesh for thirty-three years.

Commentaries Cited from
Hall, Kay.
Online Bible. Beersheba Springs: Ken Hamel, 2000. CD-ROM.

Commentaries Used
An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by Matthew Henry


Steven said…
I must speak out here to correct the erroneous tradition of a Friday crucifixion. There were TWO Sabbaths during the crucifixion week. The first one was the yearly Sabbath of the first Day of Unleavened Bread, which is spoken of in Lev 23:6-8 and Ex 12:16, the second Sabbath that week was the weekly Sabbath. Contrary to popular belief Jesus was not crucified and buried on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday morning. Historical records show the Passover in A.D. 31 the year of the crucifixion was on a Wednesday. Jesus died just before the beginning of the yearly Sabbath which was the 15th day of the first month, the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread, which began at sunset Wednesday /Thursday. This is the High Sabbath mentioned in John 19:31. They hurried to put Jesus in the tomb just before the sunset not because it was the weekly Sabbath, but because it was a yearly Sabbath, hence the mention of the “High Sabbath”. The women did not have time to buy and prepare the spices because of this Sabbath. They bought and prepared the spices after this Sabbath which would have been on Friday before the weekly Sabbath. Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath and came to the tomb early Sunday morning and he had already risen. In Math 12:38 Jesus gave the only sign that he was the messiah, and that was that he would be three “days” and three “nights” in the heart of the earth, just as Jonah was three “days” and three “nights” in the belly of the fish. (Jonah 1:17) Three days and three nights is exactly 72 hours. From sunset on Wednesday to sunset on Saturday is exactly 72 hours. Jesus rose from the grave exactly as he said he would three days and three nights after he was buried. When the women came to the tomb, the angel told them he had already risen.

This week mirrors the week of the Exodus from Egypt (sin). God declares the end from the beginning. In Exodus the Israelites left Egypt (sin) on the beginning of the 15th day of the 1st month. They went three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to God. (Ex 5:1-3) They came to the Red Sea and entered the sea at evening after three days. They traveled through the sea and exited “in the morning watch” (Ex 14:24) which is just before sunrise. Vs. 30 says, “So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians”. This corresponds with the same time the women came to the tomb and he had already risen. This is also the time the Israelites were told to perform the “wave sheaf offering” (Jesus) called the Feast of Firstfruit. (Jesus) on the day after the Sabbath. Lev 23:11

The Friday crucifixion and Sunday morning resurrection is simply a false teaching, one of many imposed on Christianity by the early Roman church. If God’s Holy Days were observed instead of the traditional Good Friday/Easter Sunday observance, this event, the most important one to a believer would be properly understood. Satan has deceived the world into following the observance of Easter, which has its roots in paganism, and hides the truth of the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, which depict Christ’s sacrifice and salvation from our sins.

I do however agree with you that they observed the weekly Sabbath, but you stated that it began at “Saturday evening at sunset and ended Sunday evening at sunset”. That I do not agree with. God’s Sabbath day begins Friday evening at sunset and ends on Saturday evening at sunset. The seventh day of the week begins at sunset of the sixth day and ends at sunset of the seventh day. The first day of the week begins at sunset of the seventh and so on.
Cap Stewart said…

Thanks for the correction on the starting and stopping points of the Sabbath. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking there. I’ve corrected the post.

I actually don’t see any contradiction between Matthew 12:38 (“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”) and the belief that Christ died on Friday and rose on Sunday. The apparent disparity between those two ideas is cleared up when we realize that the Jews counted a portion of a day as a whole when it occurred at the beginning or end of a series. There are other instances in Scripture where partial days are described as whole days, and where “night and day” are mentioned, but less than a full day is indicated (see 1 Kings 20:29; Esther 4:16, 5:1; Luke 2:21).