Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Before we go on, I want to make clear a statement I made yesterday regarding the King James Version. Those who read all my devotionals will know that I believe that the King James Bible is the Word of God for the English speaking world and all others are perversions. The reason the King James Bible is the Word of God is because it comes from the preserved Masoretic Hebrew and Textus Receptus Greek. There are a few short passages of Aramaic as well. I mentioned yesterday that the King James is easier to read than the NIV. That is a fact, but that is not the reason why I hold to the King James Version. I hold to the KJV because it is God’s preserved Word and because God directed the men who translated the original texts into English.
Yesterday we noted that we are all like sheep. We all go astray. We need Jesus Christ to cleanse us of our sin so that we can go the right way. No lost person will enter heaven. No lost person can know God’s peace in their hearts during this life. No lost person has the desire to follow God faithfully. They might have a form of religion that resembles the truth in some minor ways, but they do not have the truth and they are content with their facade, at least they try to convince themselves that they are content with it.
We also noted yesterday that the good Shepherd is Jesus Christ. He knows His sheep and He leads His people in the right way.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. No man can take the place of Jesus Christ. The Catholics have their popes who they falsely call “holy father”. The popes are all wicked men in even accepting that title. That title belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Of course there are many things wrong with the Catholic religion.
In our text, we see that Jesus used the example of Jonas (Jonah) from the Old Testament to explain His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus declared that Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. He declared that in the same manner, He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Those who follow the pagan system which came from the Romans who took it from the Babylonians, of “good Friday” to “Easter Sunday” have a major problem on their hands. If we calculate the time from Friday to Sunday, we cannot come up with three days and three nights. There are people who take offence to the questioning of the days and they suggest that those who seek to follow the good Shepherd are trusting in the keeping of certain days for salvation. They will even go so far as to pull verses out of context to defend their position:
Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
The context of Romans 14:5 does not suggest that we can disregard clear teaching from God’s Word and make up our own religion, if we want to claim to believe in God. Jesus reminded the disciples several times of the duration of His burial. His teaching was rejected by the false teachers of His day. However, He proved to the disciples that they could believe Him. He was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
It is important to note that immediately after the Passover, were the days of unleavened bread. During those days the Jews were not to carry on with the normal business of life. They were to spend those days in remembering the events of the Passover and to reflect on their importance for them. Thus when the Gospels speak of the Sabbath in relation to the crucifixion:
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
The “high day” is a reference to the first day of the days of unleavened bread (see Leviticus 23:6-8). Christians are not under the Old Testament Law. We do not keep the Passover nor the days of unleavened bread. As we noted yesterday, Jesus Christ is our Passover. He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). We are taught by Jesus Christ to keep the Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted that with His disciples and the apostle Paul taught on the importance of that event in I Corinthians 11.
The early Christians kept the Lord’s Supper, but they did not keep the pagan festival that is now called Easter. We will look at that further yet. We need to understand that God does not use any empty words in the Scriptures. When Jesus declared three days and three nights and He even referenced that back to the time that Jonah spent in the belly of the whale, we know that He spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
When true Christians keep the Lord’s Supper, we can be reminded of those truths in our study around the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We give the lost reason to doubt God’s Word, when we, who claim to be followers of the good Shepherd, believe we can ignore His Word and can modify some pagan rituals instead.
Jesus promised the Jews that believed on Him:
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Let us take the time to study God’s Word and examine the things that we tend to hold dear and see if they interfere with our walk with God or if they honour the God we claim to love.