In light of these competing theories, what is the origin of the Good Friday tradition?
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The idea that Jesus died on a Wednesday is a fabrication. It is nothing more than an attempt to force a modernistic interpretation onto Matthew 12:40. In the early church the common understanding of "three days and three nights" did not require "three full days and also three full nights".
Fourth century scholar/priest St. Jerome explains in his Commentary on Jonah:
Sixteenth century reformer Martin Luther agrees in a sermon on the resurrection:
Furthermore, this view ignores the testimony of the rest of the New Testament. The Gospel of Mark, in fact, describes Jesus' activities every day of the week leading up to his arrest and crucifixion.
Jesus was active on each day up to and including the day of the crucifixion. Jesus fulfilled the law; he did not violate the sabbath rest except to follow a higher law such as healing the blind, so none of these six days could have been a weekly sabbath. There is simply no way to squeeze six consecutive non-sabbath days into the calendar without the final one being a Friday, so that puts Palm Sunday on a Sunday, the crucifixion on a Friday, and the resurrection on the next Sunday.
Christian Tradition, going back to New Testament times, consistently testifies that Jesus would be raised, not "after three days", but "on the third day". Here are some examples from the New Testament:
If the gospel consisted of nothing but Matthew 12:40, we might be able to interpret the "three days and three nights" differently, but against the weight of the rest of the New Testament and the history of Christianity, it's hard to argue for a Wednesday crucifixion.
The myth of a Friday crucifixion came about because of Mary's inability to go and tend the body of Christ on the Sabbath. The confusion came about because it was not the weekly Sabbath the scripture was referring to. It was High Sabbath it was referring to. See ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Sabbaths for a thorough explanation. ) People often reject this because they think it was invented by Seventh Day Adventist. Not so. And by the way I'm not Seventh Day Adventist. In reference to this being something that has only been around 200, or 300 years....Please consider it has only been roughly the same amount of time people have believed in a rapture occurring. Because the Catholic church grew into a state of apostasy during the middle ages, this important information was lost. It has taken hundreds of years for us to rediscover these truths.
The answer is that the theory that Christ died on a Wednesday is only about 300 years old, whereas the Good Friday tradition is nearly 2000 years old. So at the time Good Friday was established as tradition, the Wednesday crucification theory hadn't been considered yet.
The Wednesday crucifixion theory seems to have originated in the early 1700s, and was motivated by an attempt to demonstrate that Christ's resurrection occurred on Saturday, rather than on Sunday. The reasoning was to demonstrate that worshiping on Saturday was still appropriate for Christians, as opposed to worshiping on Sunday, as most Christians do. (Source)
Of course the motivation behind the Wednesday theory, and indeed its truth (or lack thereof), has little to do with the answer to this specific question, if the theory had not yet been conceived at the time that the Good Friday tradition began.
protected by Community♦ Feb 21 '15 at 7:08
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