Book: The Day Jesus the Christ Died

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Those who believe in a Sunday resurrection point to a statement in Luke 24:21 as evidence that Jesus rose from the dead at sunrise on the first day of the week. This statement was made by two of Jesus’ disciples: “… today is the third day since these things were done.” Because this statement was made on the first day of the week, many have assumed that Jesus rose from the dead early that morning. The King James Version reads:
“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
“And he said unto them, ‘What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?’ And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, ‘Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?’ And he said unto them, ‘What things?’
“And they said unto him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done’ ” (Luke 24:13-21 KJV).
A precise translation of Luke 24:13-21 conveys the true meaning of the Greek text as follows:
“And behold, on the same day, two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, which was about sixty furlongs from Jerusalem. And they were talking with one another about all the things that had taken place.
“And it came to pass, as they were talking and reasoning, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them; but their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you walk, and why are you downcast in countenance?’ Then the one named Cleopas answered and said to Him, ‘Are You only traveling through Jerusalem, and have not known of the things that have happened in these days?’
“And He said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to Him, ‘The things concerning Jesus the Nazarean, a man Who was a prophet, Who was mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the judgment of death, and crucified Him. And we were hoping that He was the one Who would redeem Israel. But besides all these things, as of today, the third day has already passed since these things took place’ ”(Luke 24:13-21).
When correctly translated, Luke 24:21 does not support the teaching that Jesus the Christ was raised from the dead on the first day of the week at sunrise. Those who believe that He was resurrected at sunrise on Easter Sunday have been taught a falsehood! This religious myth rejects the sign of Jonah, which was the only sign that Jesus the Christ gave as proof that He was the Messiah. Those who participate in the traditional observance of a Friday crucifixion and an Easter Sunday resurrection are observing traditions of men. Jesus said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from Me.’ But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men....Full well do you reject the commandment of God, so that you may observe your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).
The God of truth cannot be honored by practicing a lie. God the Father rejects that kind of vain worship. Rather, He is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth, as Jesus said: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is indeed seeking those who worship Him in this manner. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
In order to worship God the Father and Jesus the Christ in spirit and in truth, one must repent of his or her sins, accept the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ for the forgiveness of sins, be baptized by full immersion in water, receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, and live from that time forward in the love and grace of God by keeping His commandments. These commandments include keeping the seventh-day Sabbath each week, and keeping the Christian Passover and the annual holy days of God at their appointed times each year. Only those who are under His grace, keeping all His commandments and living by His every word, are worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.
Please see “Today is the Third Day Since These Things Took Place” in A Harmony of the Gospels, pages 316-321 for a full exegetical study of Luke 24:13-21.