What’s the big deal about day three?

A Minute from a Minister

In 1 Corinthians 15:4 the Apostle Paul says that Christ “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”. He died on Friday (day 1) and rose on Sunday (day 3), but what Old Testament Scriptures (O.T.) explicitly say he would rise “on the third day”?

The answer is probably that none do. … So where did Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit as he wrote, get this idea? Well, from lots of places. Firstly, there are numerous places in the O.T. where the third day is the day that God saves his people and reveals himself to them, such as in the following –

  • Genesis 22:4, where Abraham is prepared to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God (but God saves Isaac by providing the ram, instead) … and on the ultimate third day God raises his Son, who actually did die;
  • Exodus 19:11, where God reveals himself to Israel at Mount Sinai on the third day … and on the ultimate third day Jesus Christ, the greatest, fullest and ultimate revelation of God shows himself to numerous people; and
  • Hosea 6:2, where Israel is told: “After two days [the LORD] will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence”.   Jesus, having risen from his death that paid for our sins, has given us new spiritual life, restored us to God, and now enables us to live in his presence every moment of every day.

And so to first century Jews, when Jesus (repeatedly) talked about rising “on the third day” (e.g. Luke 9:22; 13:32-33) it is no wonder that the two men on the road to Emmaus were wondering if Easter Sunday would be the day Jesus appeared, bringing salvation to his people (Lk. 24:20-21)! That Christ “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” is yet another area that shows how Jesus is the wonderful fulfilment of the Scriptures!

Friends, the third day has come! And now, as his church, “repentance and forgiveness of sins [is] preached in his name to all nations”.

Cameron Wills

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