Starting the third and final segment of THE SIGN OF JONAH, we will make a brief review. In Part I our primary focus was Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem riding a colt. In Part Two our attention was focused on Jesus as the Sacrificial Lamb of God. John the Baptist had introduced him as the LAMB OF GOD THAT TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. John 1:29. 

     There has been the crucifixion, earthquake, darkness across the land, veil of temple torn top to bottom. 

     Jesus has just cried out, “It is finished!” and bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30. It is important to remember that the slaughter and burning of the sacrificial lamb takes place on the Day of Preparation, which is before the first day of Passover. Christ, who is the LAMB OF GOD THAT TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD, was crucified at the same time the Passover lamb was to have been offered, which was prevented by three hours of darkness. 

     “Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies SHOULD NOT REMAIN ON THE CROSS on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a HIGH DAY) . . . . “ (John 19:31). The first day of all Jewish ANNUAL feasts was a Sabbath. Because they were Sabbaths of annual feasts, they were known as HIGH DAYS. Such feasts were the Passover, Pentecost, Feast of Harvests, etc. They were all annual feasts. Periodically such a day could fall on a weekly Sabbath day, in which case this special Sabbath or high day, took precedence over the weekly Sabbath. 

     Matthew 27:57 – “Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.” Vs 58, he asked for the body of Jesus. Vs 59, the body was wrapped in linen. Vs 60, Joseph laid Jesus’ body in his own tomb. (HE KNEW HE WOULD BE ABLE TO USE WHEN HE DIED!) 

     Luke relates the same event and finalizes it with, “That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near”. Luke 23:54. 

     John 19:14 – “Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. . . .” 

     “And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.” Matthew 27:61. 

     In my own study of the Bible in depth subjects as this one, I like to think of the FOUR ACCOUNTS OF THE GOSPEL, as over-lays, which, when viewed as a whole gives ONE CLEAR PICTURE of what is happening. Without John’s account of the Gospel, we would not know that the first day of Passover was a HIGH DAY, or special annual Sabbath. For years, I like so many others have been confused when trying to make sense of “AND THE SABBATH DREW ON” from Matthew. THE LAST OVER-LAY BY JOHN GIVES US A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT IS ACTUALLY BEING SAID. 

     A close reading of ALL four Gospel accounts reveals that since the women watched Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus’ body “and the Sabbath (annual High Sabbath), drew on, they did not have time to go purchase spices to anoint Jesus’ body. They obviously purchased spices on Friday, the day AFTER THE ANNUAL SABBATH but the day BEFORE THE WEEKLY SABBATH. They apparently returned to the tomb Sunday morning, not realizing the Savior had risen, on schedule, at the end of “three days and three nights.” 

     It is to be noted that when Mary, Jesus’ mother first saw him, she thought He was the gardener. John 20:15. This would be an indication that it was dark NOT A SUN-RISE RESURRECTION. 

     Luke 23:54 – 56 tells us that the Sabbath (a High Day) was approaching, and the women saw how Jesus’ body was laid. Luke also tells us they made ready the spices and ointments. But he does not tell us when. We find this in Mark. Mark relates the same exact event of the women seeing where Joseph of Arimathea laid Jesus’ body. Mark 15:42 – 47. Then Mark continues in 16:1 – “Now when the Sabbath (a High Day) was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him”. (Parenthesis added). 

     Now we remember that the Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign. “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.” Matthew 12:38 – 40. 

     Jesus Himself added a bit more clarity to His statement of “3 days and 3 nights”. Jesus had asked, “Are there not 12 hours in the day?. . . ” (John 11:9).Since night precedes the day, starting at 6 p.m. it would obviously 12 hours. Therefore going with Jesus’ clearly stating there are therefore THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS composed of 12 hours each!! 

     Please allow me – referring you back to Part II of this devotional: Joshua 10:13b and John 12:1 – the above does not say ABOUT THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS!! 

     Matthew 28:1 – Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.” When reading this text it is a must that we take into account how the Jews reckoned time; i.e. sundown to sundown, or to rephrase it we could say 6 p. m. to 6 p.m.. The first phrase in this verse is “NOW AFTER THE SABBATH . . . “Question – Since this says AFTER the Sabbath, it would be after what time on a standard clock? IT WOULD BE AFTER 6 P.M!!! In the thinking and mind set of the Western mind this poses a problem. We in America do not understand how it could possibly be DAWNING. 

     The Berry Greek-English Lexicon and Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon,  says the word translated DAWN should actually read DUSK. That being true, this verse should read thus: “In the end of the Sabbath as it began to DUSK toward the first day of the week.” We in America use the word DAWN to indicate daybreak. In reality DAWN simply means BEGINNING or START OF. Such as The dawn of the iron age; Dawn of the nuclear age; Dawn of the electronic age; Dawn of the space age, etc. 

     If we can get our mind wrapped around the Jewish concept of a day being from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m., then dawn would be correct, in that in this verse the first day of the week began to DAWN at 6 p.m. HOWEVER, DUSK IS ALWAYS IN THE EVENING. 

     When Christ resurrected, the angels were not there to roll the stone away so He could get out. He was not trapped. The stone was rolled away so the women could see in. 

     When Peter and John went running to the empty tomb John hesitated. But impetuous Peter rushed right in. Today, we like Peter of old, may come running to Jesus to see what He has in store for us! The message of the Resurrection is one of hope and stability. The prophecies did not fail. We today need not be weak-kneed and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets said. All the scriptures said concerning Christ came to pass – none failed. Luke 24:25 – 27.


Just a Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.



Updated April 19, 2011
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