Each year for about 3500 years, the Jews have celebrated their release from four hundred years of Egyptian bondage, with the Passover Seder, or Supper. The meal is first mentioned in Exodus 12:1-11. On the tenth day of Nisan, Israel’s first month (Ex. 12:12), the Jews were to select an unblemished sacrificial lamb, and they were to kill the lamb and prepare it just prior to sunset on the fourteenth of Nisan. After sunset, which was the beginning of the fifteenth of Nisan, they were to roast the lamb, and consume it prior to daylight. There were to be no leftovers; that which remained was to be totally consumed by fire.
This year, the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar match; the first of April, and the first of Nisan occurred on the same day. On April 14, 2014, at sunset, the Jewish Passover begins. That would make today the “preparation day.” Thus, today matches the day Jesus was on the cross, in that, the Jewish leaders wanted the bodies taken off the crosses, as it was the “preparation” (Jn. 19:14, 31, 42). Because the Jews called Fridays the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, many have mistakenly accepted Friday as the day of the Crucifixion. However, notice in John 19:31,the day Jesus died was not just the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, but was the preparation day for a special Sabbath; the Passover!
Now, looking at our calendar, we can see that the tenth of Nisan falls on a Thursday. The Passover falls on the following Monday, the fourteenth (today). Today would be the day Jesus was crucified. His body would be taken down and placed in a “borrowed tomb” just before sunset. Jesus told His friends and His enemies, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt. 12:40).
If one counts three days and three nights from sunset today, Jesus would rise from the grave after sunset on April 17th. Ironically, to the Jewish way of calculating days, Jesus would rise on Friday! Sunset today to sunset tomorrow (Tuesday) is one day and night; sunset Tuesday to sunset Wednesday is the second day and night; and sunset Wednesday to sunset Thursday is the third day and night: Jesus would rise on the day modern day Christians celebrate His death! Irony of ironies!
What does that mean then as to what day Jesus died? Well, He rose sometime after sunset on Saturday, which was the beginning of the first day of the week – Sunday(Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:2; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1). Going backward three days and three nights, Jesus must have been taken down from the cross prior to sunset Wednesday!
Sunset 4-17-14 will begin the anniversary of the Resurrection, not the Crucifixion!