Revisiting the third day, the day of Jesus' resurrection
Matt 12: 40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Many interpret this as a solid literal statement which then defines the numerous other statements Jesus made about this same event. Why is this one statement override the numerous other more specific descriptions he gave of the time line?
Matt 16:21 “many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
Matt 17:23 “and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up."
Matt 20:19 “and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
Even his enemies knew what he said, Matt 27:64 “Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day”
Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day."
Mark 10:34 "and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."
Luke 9:22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day."
Luke 13:32 And He said to them, "Go, tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.'
Luke 18:33 "They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."
Luke 24:7 "saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'"
Notice he says ON the third day, not AFTER. Jesus Himself said He will rise on the third day and that He did rise on the third day, therefore those who interpret the many Scriptures by the single statement referring to Jonah are in error and do not understand what Jesus meant. For Jesus himself said He will rise on the third day and so did the apostles.
In fact Paul says this is the gospel:
1 Cor. 15:4 “that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
On the Road of Emmaus the disciple meet Jesus but are unaware who he is until he reveals himself to them.
Luke 24:21 "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.” What’s Jesus doing alive and conversing with two men if he is still to be buried?
Jesus “He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day (Luke 24:45-46) Notice, what Paul said is what Jesus said. Notice that Jesus calls this the third day and he is no longer in the tomb but alive walking with his disciples refuting any postulation of three full days and nights in the tomb (which would make this the 4th day).
After Paul’s statement in 1 Cor.15:1-4 the New Testament is silent on the third day but only speaks of the gospel. It is expected that people would know that Jesus rose on the third day by reading the gospels where all three mention it.
Jesus mentions Jonah elsewhere in his ministry as a sign and explains,
And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. "For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.” Luke 11:29-30
Now let us read Matt 12:38-40 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Now we understand that it was statement of being the sign of the resurrection, the last sign to the generation that rejected Him, not a specific explanation of the time Jesus would be buried and rise.
Matt 12:41:"The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.