Well, that’s a foolish question if there ever was one, everybody knows it’s eight days.
But I’m writing to English-speaking people and most of you probably don’t know that. You probably count Monday to Sunday and come up with seven days. But today isn’t over with yet, how can you just ignore it, say it doesn’t count?
I used to think that way; it was as obvious as could be that a week is seven days and therefore it is seven days until next Sunday.
Then I learned French and discovered that they think differently. Partial days do count, you need to start with what’s left of today and count up to next Sunday, and voila! it comes to eight days. Once I could get my head around that, I discovered that this is the way that a whole lot of the world thinks.
Including the people of Jesus’ day. It was no stretch to them to call it three days when Jesus was in the tomb from just before sundown on Friday to just after dawn on Sunday. That was obviously three days.
But I have read carefully thought out dissertations by aspiring Bible scholars who proved to their own satisfaction that Jesus could not possibly have been crucified on a Friday. If He was three days in the tomb, He had to have been crucified on Thursday. I even saw one some years ago that argued for Wednesday. That just goes to show that if you don’t know something, you can’t know that you don’t know it.
One of the gospel accounts says three days and three nights. How does one account for that when it was in fact only Friday night and Saturday night?
Let me answer that question with a few others. At 2:00 am this morning was it Saturday night? But Saturday ended at midnight. Was it Sunday night? We say that night follows day, it doesn’t precede it. Then was it Sunday morning? But it was still night.
The French solution is to say that last night was the night of Saturday to Sunday. No possibility of confusion there.
I think the simplest way to understand three days and three nights is to say that Jesus was in the tomb three days and the portions of night associated with those three days.