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Easter Joy – The Third Day

The Reading: Matthew 28:1-15

“After the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene …”(v.1)

Jesus rose on “the third day”. This does not mean that he rose ‘three days later’. Jesus was raised just over 24 hours after his death and entombment. He was dead and buried on the Friday evening just before 6pm: “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph,” (Matthew 27:57). He remained in the tomb through the Sabbath (Saturday), and he burst from the tomb on Sunday just after 6am – “Now after the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene …” (v.1).

Jesus had repeatedly said during his ministry that he would rise from the dead on the “third day” (Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19). It was because of this expectation that the Romans set up a guard in front of the tomb “until the third day” (Matthew 27:64).

God promises all who put their trust in Him that they will have a ‘third day’. This is the day of resurrection, the day we overcome the difficulty, the day we are set free. For us it may not be a literal 24 hours or so, but it is still a sure and certain hope. In Christ we are more than conquerors, even though for a time we may stagger.

When a narrow boat travels down a canal its progress is often interrupted by a lock. Whilst in the lock it appears to make no progress, it is in fact going up or down in order to be able to proceed. Life, too, will lock us into hard places, but there will come the ‘third day’ when we shall move on again with rejoicing.

Dear Lord, today is a day of rejoicing. Thank you that in Jesus you overcame death and the devil. Thank you that you will do that in my life as well. Amen. 

Explore More

1. Who was put in prison and in irons until God set him free?

Psalm 105:17-19

2. Who came out of his grave on the 4th day?

John 11:39-44

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