Maundy Wednesday and Good Thursday

In Easter week I always wonder about Matthew 12:40 when Jesus says he will be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” which doesn’t fit at all with our current Easter chronology. (I’ve heard preachers fudge this one on the basis of the timings of Hebrew days but it doesn’t have any bearing on Jesus’ distinct reference to three days and three nights).
In John’s account however, he reports that the day after Jesus death was to be a “special sabbath” [19:31]! Could this “special sabbath” mean an additional day of sabbath akin to our idea of a bank holiday? I heard someone exploring this as an idea once and it fascinated me because where it led was: If there were two Sabbath days that week in light of the Passover then it would mean that Jesus was crucified on the Thursday and that Matthew 12:40 holds together, Just a thought!

3 Replies to “Maundy Wednesday and Good Thursday”

  1. I wondered whether it was a special sabbath on the Friday that preceded the normal Sabbath? As Sunday was the first day of the week I assumed an extra sabbath would be in the same week not the next. John says the day after the day of perparation was a “special sabbath” which would make it the Friday …. hence the day of preparation and Jesus’ death being on the Thursday. I’m probably barking up the wrong tree but Jesus is so definite in Matt 12:40 about the three days that I find it difficult to square it with our accepted understanding.

  2. One of the classic problems – trying to resolve the chronology of the Easter story! I’m not totally sure about it either, I’ll have to ponder it if I get any quiet moments in the vigil on Saturday night. However I came across a web site – – that sets out a theory that Jesus was crucified on the Wednesday.
    Having said that, having considered it before, the other question to ask is whether our faith is dependant on a clearly defined sequence of dates and times. In some respects I don’t think it particularly matters exactly what day what part happened, what is more important is that it did happen.

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