Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

On the third day

This is a key kergmatic phrase not because it is persuasive but because it proclaims the resurrection. Matthew tells us: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew has utilized a quotation from Jonah 1:17 LXX. The theologians have been attempting to persuade us, that the Matthean Jonah phrase is a prophecy that has been fulfilled. As I noted earlier, Matthew did not understand the original meaning of the enigmatic Sign of Jonah. Luke did but Luke did not understand it the way we do. Both readings are valid but only one reading provides data for historical inquiry.

Arthur A. Just, Jr. has argued persuasively that Luke by his time markers (Luke 22:1; 7; 14; 16; 53b) is measuring the three day period from the Day of Preparation to the day of the meal with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Thus according to Just, using the precise time markers noted, Day One is the Day of Preparation that begins at sundown on Thursday, Day Two is the Sabbath that begins at sundown on Friday and Day Three begins at sundown on Saturday. Thus Jesus did rise on the third day.

As determined by Just, Luke has framed this three day period with two meals. In Luke 22:6 the Lucan Jesus says: “I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” As indicated by Just, this is a reference “forward to his next meal, still a meal of unleaven bread, the meal at Emmaus, for the kingdom has come.” Thus the Lucan Jesus has announced to the two disciples the arrival of the kingdom in the breaking of the bread that is the celebration of the eschatological meal. On the third day, the kingdom of God is established when Jesus changes his role in the middle of the meal. As stated by Just, “this indicates that in a sense the kingdom is a present reality, in the person of Jesus.”

Copyrighted 2006


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