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Traditions (04/09/2006)
From: Keith Lockwood

Skeptics have long claimed that the gospel accounts "contradict" because Matthew, Mark, and Luke place Christ's crucifixion on the day after the Jewish Festival of Passover when John's account plainly states that Christ's crucifixion was on the day before the Passover festival (the day of preparation; Nissan 14; see John 19:14, 31). You can be assured that the four gospel accounts do not contradict, but instead give us a full and complete account of God's perfect intentions. It is the human traditions of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday that cause the contradictions.

First, the tradition that Christ died on (Good) Friday, makes Christ's own prophetic words of none effect. Christ Himself stated that He would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40). Christian tradition has Christ in the grave only 2 nights and 1 day! Do we believe what Christ directly stated or what man's traditions tell us?

Second, consider this: the lamb that would be sacrificed for the Passover was brought into the home on the 10th of Nissan (Ex. 12:3). It was displayed in the home for all to observe and concur that there were no blemishes. Jesus fulfilled this type when He was tested daily by the scribes, lawyers, and Pharisees in the temple during this very same time period (the 10th of Nissan to the 14th). On Tuesday of this fateful week, at sunset (because the Jewish day is reckoned from sunset to sunset), the day of preparation began and thus Jesus told two of His disciples to go and make preparation for the Passover (Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7, 8). Over this Tuesday night, the "Last Supper" (which did not include the Passover lamb which had yet to be killed) and Christ's arrest and trials took place. On our Wednesday morning (which is still the Jewish 14th day of Nissan; the preparation day before the Passover) at the third hour (our 9AM) Christ was crucified (Mark 15:25, 26). At the same time that the priests were finished killing the Passover lambs in the afternoon of the 14th (the 9th hour; our 3 PM), Christ died on the cross (note God's perfect timing and the relationship between the type within the festival and the actual event)! John 19:31 further confirms that Christ died on the preparation day, also explaining that the first day of the Passover Festival was a "high Sabbath day" (see Lev. 23:7, 24, 35). The Jews wanted the bodies removed from the cross before the "high Sabbath" day of the Passover Festival (Nissan 15) which began at sunset on Wednesday; not the weekly Sabbath which began at sunset on Friday. Christ was then in the tomb Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night, along with Thursday day, Friday day, and Saturday day, giving us the three days and three nights of Christ's own prophecy (Matthew 12:40). At the end of the weekly Sabbath (sunset on Saturday) the resurrection accounts begin (Matt. 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-49, and John 20:1-23). The four gospel accounts are in perfect harmony and give us a full and glorious picture of the events that occurred and what days they occurred on.

The most important piece of all this is that we believe Christ died, was buried, and was raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4). If we believe Christ died on Wednesday or (Good) Friday, it will not affect our or anyone else's salvation. But this should give us a clear view of how man's traditions can overshadow and make void God's perfect ways. Why is it necessary to "redeem" a pagan holiday in order to celebrate what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, when God already perfectly laid it all out in the festivals He instituted for Israel? God's perfect plan or man's traditions? 


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