As we have seen earlier, Christ’s birth, earthly ministry, betrayal, and crucifixion can all be described in triplets reflecting His triune nature. This pattern continues through His resurrection and beyond!
Jesus prophesied to His disciples that after He was crucified and buried, He would spend three days in the tomb and rise again on the third day (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; Mark 9:31;10:34; Luke 9:22;18:33). Even the Romans had heard of this prophecy, as they warned Pilate about it for fear that the disciples would steal His body to deceive others into thinking Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 27:63-64).
Christ’s actual resurrection after three days was foreshadowed by earlier events in Scripture and by His own use of symbolic language. He had said that he could destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days (Matthew 26: 61), which referred metaphorically to His willingly laying down His life and taking it up again three days later.
Jesus spoke of leaving His earthly body and entering His glorified body as being “perfected” on the third day. This was the most significant of the three miracles He told the Pharisees to relay to Herod, whom they said was threatening His life. The other two miracles were casting out devils and curing the sick (Luke 13: 31-32).
Even at the beginning of Genesis, the third day of creation symbolized the resurrection, when God created the earth appearing from beneath the water (Genesis 1 :9-13). Baptism uses this same symbolism of the believer submerged beneath the water to represent burial of the old man and sin nature, and coming up out of the water to represent living as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Jesus explained His coming burial and resurrection by likening it to the prophet Jonah being entombed for three days and three nights in the whale's belly (Jonah 1:17), saying that He also would be for three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. He admonished the Jews, who were always looking for a sign to identify the Messiah, that this sign of His resurrection after three days would be the only one given to them (Matthew 12: 39-40).
When the women came to Christ’s tomb that first Easter morning and were shocked to find it empty, two angels reassured them that He was risen and reminded them of His three prophecies: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:7)
Luke names three women who told the unbelieving disciples of these remarkable happenings: Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James (Luke 24:10). Still bewildered, two disciples set forth to Emmaus to talk things over on a long walk, which was about threescore furlongs from Jerusalem (Luke 24:13).
Jesus appeared to these two and joined them, making three travelers to Emmaus. In their grief and confusion they did not realize Who accompanied them (Luke 24:15-16), even though they said that it was the third day since His death (Luke 24:21). Jesus patiently yet fervently explained to them how all the Scriptures revealed Himself, yet they did not recognize Him until dinner, when He blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to them (Luke 24:30).
Here is how Luke described their triplets of miraculous revelation: Luke 24: 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
So Cleopas and his companion raced back to Jerusalem to tell the others of this Christ-sighting. Yet no sooner did they return and share the news than Jesus appeared in their midst, greeted by triplets of fear, not joy, from the disciples. They were “terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit (Luke 24: 37).
But Jesus reassured them that He was not a ghost by three types of physical evidence: He showed them His hands and feet, He allowed them to handle His flesh and bones, and He even ate before them! (Luke 24: 38-43).
Next Jesus gave them three sources of Scriptural evidence about Himself: the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:44). But He emphasized the most important prophecy: that He would rise from the dead on the third day (Luke 24:45).
When the disciples went fishing, perhaps to clear their heads, or even thinking they might return to their former way of life now that Jesus was gone, He appeared to them. John tells us that this was the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was risen from the dead (John 21:14). After instructing the disciples where to catch a boat load of fish, He feeds them a delectable breakfast that He had already prepared.
Three times, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, allowing Peter three opportunities to affirm his love and cleanse his conscience of the three times he denied Christ.(Matthew 26:75; Mark 14:72; John 13:38). Although Christ asked if Peter loved Him with agape, or self-sacrificing love, Peter stated his love using the term phileo, or kindly affection as one would have toward a brother. In response to Peter’s declarations, three times Jesus asked Peter to “Feed my sheep (lambs).” (John 21: 15-17).
Before ascending to Heaven, Jesus gave His disciples the three commands of the Great Commission: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
Paul reinforced and expanded on Jesus’s earthly teachings about rising on the third day as he explained the Gospel of grace revealed to Him by Christ; namely eternal life for all who place their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). Praise God that Christ conquered death, that we serve a risen Saviour, and that we live with Him forever more!
© 2013 Laurie Collett
Painting by Arkangel Siete
After reading that I thought about baptism - state before baptism, which is symbol of our old life, during baptism, when we are under water, like Christ in tomb, it is symbol of our death for this world, and third - after baptism, like Christ hadn't been in tomb forever, in this same way we are risen to new life in Him. It had been little lecture about Biblical baptism of my pastor, before I became baptised. Greetings for You :)
Amen, Zim! Baptism symbolizes being buried in the likeness of His death, and risen to walk in newness of life.
Blessings & greetings to you!
Thanks, Denise, & God bless!
I wonder where you get such knowledge and inspiration to write such brilliant articles!
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most central theme of the whole faith. But in the last 15 years or so I had to call into question whether Jesus was crucified on a Friday, hence our annual celebration of Good Friday. A Thursday crucifixion seem to make better sense, according to Matthew 12:40, where Jesus said that like Jonah in the belly of a whale (if that what it was) he too would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. A Friday crucifixion does not give three nights of burial, but only two.
One of my blogs, in the Top Ten most popular, is "Good Friday? I'm Confused..."
Why not give it a read, and I like your thoughts on it.
What an amazing post! Thanks so much for sharing. Your newest follower from Sunday Social. :)
Kathy @ lifeonlakeshoredrive.com
We had a sermon this morning on Jesus - What do think about? is the series. The Pastor put into perspective exactly what we need to think about our Lord and Saviour.
Thanks for the post,
Frank, you are too kind! I don't really write anything -- I just write down what He tells me to! (after a lot of prayer, Bible study, and other inspirational reading, or course...)
I've always been somewhat puzzled by the 3 days & 3 nights conundrum too. You did an excellent job of discussing that in your post, as I commented there.
What a wonderful post!
I hope you and yours have a blessed week.
"Praise God that Christ conquered death, that we serve a risen Saviour, and that we live with Him forever more!"
Nothing prettier to the eyes (and heart) than your last line here, Laurie.
Thank you for the post. It's nice that you go deeper into thinking than just the surface reading.
Welcome, Kathy! Thanks so much for your sweet words & for following!
Have a blessed week in Him!
Thanks for your comment, Janis! As our pastor likes to say, what we do with Jesus is the most important question each of us will ever face.
May you have a blessed week in Him,
Thanks so much, BerryMorins, for your visit & comment!
Blessings to you & your ministry!
mail4rosey, your comment is a great encouragement to me! You are a blessing! How wonderful it will be when we see Him face to face!
Unfortunately, people accept tradition rather than scripture. You are right that Thursday makes more sense, and Matthew 27:62 seems to support that interpretation, while Mark and Luke imply that the day of preparation would start at sundown, and they were rushing to get the Christ's body in the ground before starting the preparations.
Under the Law, the Jews were prohibited from conducting council meetings or other business on the Sabbath, so their contact with Pilate had to be on Friday.
"I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today. I know that He is living, whatever men may say." Your words reminded me of this song. What wonderful triplets.
Thanks, Pamela, for your encouragement! I love this hymn too -- it is so joyful! God bless,
Excellent points, Donald! Thanks as always for your contribution, & God bless,
I love your triplett posts, Laurie. You point out so many connections that I have overlooked. Thank you for always seeping me in scripture when I visit.
Thanks so much, Laura -- your comment is a blessing to me. May God richly bless you & your ministry.
Love in Him,
Following from the Matrimonial Monday blog hop.
I love how the number 3 keeps coming up in the above passages. It is a helpful mnemonic device for me, because it is fairly simple to remember a string of 3 things.
Thanks so much, LuAnn, for your comment & for following! I'm following you back!
Thanks Laurie for being my very first LINKY. I noticed I can only see my linkys on the home page so I will have to remind people of that.
Thanks for sharing another inspirational post Laurie! Jesus certainly conquered death. God Bless.
Thank you so much for sharing this awesome post with us at A Bouquet of Talent!! I am so thrilled to have you, and look forward to reading more of your awesome post! :)
Have a wonderful weekend.
Thanks for the kind words, Judy, & for hosting! Amen -- Jesus conquered death and hell!
Blessings to you,
Thanks so much, Kathy, for following, for hosting, and for your sweet comment!
I did a brief study on numbers in the bible as a teen. It is so fascinating all the layers of meaning connected with those numbers. Thanks for sharing and linking up at the MTMmixer this week. Glad to have you!
Thanks, Janene, for your kind words and comment! All Scripture is Divinely inspired, down to the numbers and other details. The more we study God's Word, the more fascinating and deep it becomes.
Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo
Thanks, Katherine, for hosting & for your comment, & God bless!
I always learn something from you. Thanks for sharing, Laurie.
Thanks so much for sharing, Laurie.
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Michelle! God bless you.
Thanks, Judith! God bless.
First of all, thanks a lot for sharing such an informative post. I have really learnt a lot from your post about death, burial and resurrection. I truly believe as you said in the last that we live with him forever. It was also very interesting to read thoughts about baptism. It could have never be explained in a simpler way than this. When we are under water, it actually represents our old life to be buried forever or it symbolizes the death only for this world. Like Christ was not there forever, we also rise into him getting a new life which is pure and totally with faith in death, burial and resurrection. Another fact to thrill me was the description of Jesus where he appeared before disciples who were fishing and He guided them to find best loads for their boats and He also feeds them lavish breakfast. Loving your posts more than ever :)
Common Marriage Issues
Thanks so much for your encouraging and supportive comment. It is a blessing to me that you find my posts helpful. Praise God that all who place their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as the only Way to Heaven have eternal, abundant life with Him!
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