Question of the Week: Jesus died just before the Sabbath and rose just after. Was he mistaken when he said he would be dead for three days and three nights?
My Answer: During his life and ministry on Earth, Jesus prophesied that he would be dead for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:39–40). Matthew also added in his Gospel that Jesus would be killed and raised up on the third day (Matthew 16:21).
Jesus died on the cross during Passover week. During Passover week there can be more than one Sabbath. There could have been a Sabbath on Thursday and another one on Saturday. Thus, there could have been about 72 hours between the death of Jesus on the cross and his bodily resurrection from the dead. Jesus could have died before the start of the Thursday Sabbath and risen from the dead after the end of the Saturday Sabbath. Alternatively, Jesus could have died before the start of the regular Saturday Sabbath and risen from the dead after the end of the special Monday Sabbath. Bible scholars and historians consider the former to be more likely.