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(As this is tagged Catholicism) Catholics don't believe that everything in the Bible is to be taken entirely literally. It could have been 3 actual days; it might not have been. However, it foreshadows Jesus' death and Resurrection. He disappeared for 3 days (in His tomb) and on the third day reappeared.


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Why did Joseph and Mary take one day's time to realize that Jesus had been left behind at the Temple? As they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day's journey; and they began looking for Him among their ...


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Luke 2:43-44--and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day's journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. As DJClayworth mentioned in his comment above, it may well ...


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