By no means will this be a scholarly effort, but I want to give a little "spiel" about Good Friday (since I work for a "catholicish" company that has given me a paid day off in celebration of this day, I have a little extra time!). The first time I ever preached an Easter sermon, I told the entire story - from Gethsemane to the Resurrection - in narrative form. During that time, I kept bringing up that Christ was crucified on Friday. After the service was over, a pastor that was there came up to me and told me that he had thoroughly enjoyed the message, but that I should study out the chronology of things a bit more. He told me that if Christ had been crucified on Friday, and if He arose on Sunday, then He was liar. He told me to study out what constituted a "day" to the Jews, and to simply "study the entire thing out" a little better. He was very gracious and I thanked him and took his advice. What follows is a "not so organized" summary of what I found in my study some years ago. This probably isn't big news to any who will read this, but since most of you still have to work today, you probably won't have time to read it anyway! Now, I don't claim originality for all of this information. Honestly, I don't really recall where all the information below came from. I looked at many sources (more than 50 articles, sermons, etc. as I recall - both pro and con) and took notes. I then somewhat "organized" them when my study was completed. I trust it makes sense and helps toward the understanding of a difficult subject.
To my knowledge, there is very little dispute over the fact that Christ rose on Sunday - at least amongst those of us who believe in the Resurrection. However, the day of His Crucifixion is a matter that is debated. In Matthew 12:40 Christ claimed that he would be buried for three days and three nights - if He was crucified on Friday, how could this be? Now, a common explanation, albeit an ill-conceived one, is a view that makes the claim that any part of a day is counted as a whole in Judaism. If this were true, than Christ could have been crucified and buried on Friday, and risen sometime on Sunday and still get "three days and three nights" in. But it must be noted that the Jews didn't view time in that manner.
The Jewish day ran from sunrise to sundown (6am - 6pm). Their regular Sabbath Day began at sundown on Friday and ended at Sundown on Saturday. The term "day" refers to a literal 24 hour unit of measure. If Christ was crucified on Friday and rose anytime after 6pm Saturday (the point where the Jewish Sunday would have began) He could not have been in the earth for three full days and nights. If you count backwards (According to the way the Jews counted a day) from Saturday at 6pm, we find that Christ had to buried by Wednesday at 6pm. But then we have an apparent conflict, don't we? Mark 15:42 tells us that the evening had come and it was the day of the preparation for the Sabbath - i.e., the day before the sabbath. So that begs the question, "How on earth could Wednesday be the day before the Sabbath?"
The answer to this very important fact lies in the fact that the Jews celebrated more Sabbaths than just the weekly Sabbath. In fact, they had a number of feast days that were "High Sabbaths," or high days. In John 19:31 we read, "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 Jews observed several "high" Sabbaths during the year. Leviticus 23:3-6; "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread."
The first Jewish month (Nisan or Abib) is our April. The Feast of the Passover (a high Sabbath) and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (another high Sabbath) were celebrated on April 14th and 15th respectively. The day Jesus died was the preparation day (Wednesday) of the Passover celebration on Thursday (John 19:14, 31: "And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he (meaning Pilate) saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!" This was the morning of the crucifixion day. Verse 31 states, "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."
Therefore, Passover (Nisan 14) was on Thursday, that year. The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on Friday (seven day feast last to Nisan 21), and the regular weekday Sabbath was on Saturday. Jesus was crucified in the morning on Wednesday and placed in the tomb before 6 P.M. He arose from the grave sometime after 6 P.M. on Saturday, which would be early Sunday morning, the first day of the week, according to Jewish time-keeping. This explanation fits Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 12:40 that He would be "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
If Jesus was born in 5 BC (The Bible Almanac, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1980) and if He died about at 33 years of age, that would fix his death around 29 AD. The first Roman calendar was off four (4) years. Today's calendar is a product of the Julian & Gregorian calendars. There was a 1 BC and a 1 AD but there was no "0" between BC and AD. Counting 33 years forward from His birth in 5 BC would fix his death in 29 AD. Those special Sabbaths, Feast of the Passover and Feast of the Unleavened Bread, occurred on the 14th and 15th of the first month of the Jewish calendar (about our April). Leviticus 23:5, 6 states, "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread."
According to Encyclopedia Britannica the 14th day of Nisan corresponding to parts of March and April in the year of Christ's crucifixion was the same as our April 7 on our calendar. ( Julian and Gregorian calendars) The Perpetual Calendar [also from Encyclopedia Britannica] shows that the 14th day of Nisan, 29 AD (Passover), fell on Thursday. Hence, it would be followed by the Feast of the Unleavened Bread on the 15th (Friday), and the regular weekday Sabbath (Saturday). Jesus would have therefore been crucified on Wednesday the 13th. For more information on these Sabbaths, see the following passages: Exodus 23:15, 34:18, Deuteronomy 16:1, Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 9:5, 28:16, Joshua 5:10, 2 Chronicles 35:1.
To conclude this brief overview, this seems to be the view that would fit with the biblical account most accurately. Christ was crucified on Wednesday and buried between 3pm and 6pm of that day. The Jewish day began at 6pm which was the Passover (Nissan 14). So this Passover - and high Sabbath - began after 6pm on Wednesday which was, according to the way the Jews reckoned time - Thursday. The women brought the spices on Friday, rested on Saturday and went on Sunday morning after 6:00 AM and found the Lord was resurrected. This would correlate with Christ's words that He would spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. I believe that this view is in accordance with both biblical evidence, as well as historical data.