The Third Day


Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 9 April 2021


Sermon synopsis: Paul writes concerning Jesus:
1 Cor 15:3-4 (NIV) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

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The Third Day


Paul writes concerning Jesus:

1 Cor 15:3-4 (NIV) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

Remember that when Paul wrote this, the New Testament was still being written and “the Scriptures” refers to the Old Testament.

Why then would Paul make this statement when there is no explicit prediction in the OT about the Messiah dying and rising on the third day?

Paul had Luke as a travel companion on his second and third missionary journey. Luke authored both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts.

Luke recorded in his gospel that Jesus said something similar to Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 15:3-4 when speaking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24:45-46 (NIV) Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day

Again Jesus had previously said something similar to the Twelve in Luke 18:31-33.

We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again. (NIV)


So the passages in Luke are possibly the source of Paul’s statement, most likely provided to Paul by Luke himself.

1 Corinthians was written around AD 55. Luke’s gospel was probably completed between AD 50-60. In any event, as fellow travel companions, Paul would have been privy to information contained in material that Luke was collating for his gospel (Luke 1:3).


When Paul wrote to Timothy around AD 56-57 he already quotes a passage from Luke’s gospel as Scripture.

1 Tim 5:18 (NIV) For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

While the first verse is from Deut 25:4, the second is not found in the OT and is a quotation from Luke 10:7 where Jesus says, “for the worker deserves his wages.” In fact, Paul uses the identical Greek words as Luke. So (not surprisingly) it seems that Paul knew of Luke’s gospel at this time and considered it Scripture on the same level as the writings of Moses.

But it still doesn’t answer the question as to what Jesus was referring to. Where is it written in the Old Testament that the Messiah would rise on the third day? There is no passage which literally predicts this, so Jesus must have been referring to prophetic “types” in Scripture.

On the road to Emmaus Luke records that Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” so it appears that he wasn’t simply quoting verses but expanding and interpreting them. This is the way typology is handled.

Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32, NIV)


We’ll find that there are many other references to the third day in Scripture. Note the first three days of creation:

On the first day light appeared in the darkness. Jesus is the light of the world – who appeared to expel the darkness and show the way to God.

Matt 4:16 (NIV) “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”


On the second day the waters below were separated from the waters above. This speaks of the separation between God (above) and man (below) because of our sin.

Isaiah 59:2 (NIV) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.


On the third day of Creation, we see the emergence of dry land which speaks of the resurrection of Jesus. The land which is “buried” under the water emerges and brings forth life.


The land is prepared as a place for man to live. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 NASB)

The plants and trees are created as provision and sustenance for life. The resurrected Jesus is our “living water” and the “bread of life” i.e. our spiritual sustenance.


After having no water in the desert, on the third day Moses turned the bitter water at Marah into sweet refreshing water.

Ex 15:22-25 (NIV) … For three days they travelled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter… Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

The resurrected Jesus forever quenches our spiritual thirst by giving us living water to drink (John 4:13).

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. (NIV)

It was on the third day of the week that Jesus attended a wedding in Cana and supplied a shortage by turning water into wine.

John 2:1 (NIV) On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee…

When he rose, Jesus supplied our shortage - by making a way of salvation for those who had no resources of their own.

Fill the jars with water… Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.


Jesus fed the hungry multitude on the third day.

Our spiritual hunger is satisfied in Jesus.

Matt 5:6 (NIV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way. (Matt 15:32, NIV)


David gives food and water to a dying, mistreated slave on the third day.

1 Sam 30:11-13 (NIV) They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat… He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights … He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.”

Badly treated by our former master, we too were restored and revived by the events of the third day.


Hezekiah is healed from his fatal disease and gives thanks in the temple on the third day. We were healed of our disease (of sin) on the third day.

This is what the LORD… says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD.

And the type continues after Jesus’ resurrection. Saul (Paul) has his sight restored on the third day.

Acts 9:8-18 (NIV) Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind… Then

Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus… has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again…


When we were unsaved we were spiritually blind:

2 Cor 4:4 (NIV) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers…

But Jesus came to open our eyes:

John 9:39 (NIV) Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see…”

Luke 4:18 (NIV) “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has … sent me to proclaim … recovery of sight for the blind…”


It was on the third day’s journey from Sinai that the Israelites found a place of rest in the desert.

Num 10:33 (NIV) So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and travelled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.


By his death and resurrection on the third day, Jesus gave us rest from our futile efforts to be saved by works.

Heb 4:3-10 (NIV) Now we who have believed enter that rest… There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

And Jesus offers rest to our souls:

Matt 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


Ezra rested for three days in Jerusalem.

Ezra 8:31-32 (NIV) The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.

Jesus “rested” in the tomb in Jerusalem for three days.


On the third day after his dream, the chief cupbearer was released from prison by Pharaoh and saved him from a death sentence.

Gen 40:20-21 (NIV) Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday… He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand…

So too on the third day Jesus was restored to his position and released from a death sentence.

And as the cupbearer was pardoned by the king, so we are pardoned by Jesus’ death and justified by his resurrection.

Rom 4:25 (NIV) He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Note that there is a technical difference between pardon and justification.

Pardon: you are guilty - but are shown mercy.

Justification: you are not guilty, you’re innocent – and so the charges are dropped.

And as the cupbearer was spared the death penalty, so in the resurrection we have the promise of eternal life:

1 Cor 6:14 (NIV) By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.


On the third day Joseph’s brothers are freed from prison.

Gen 42:17-19 (NIV) And he put them all in custody for three days. On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live…”

Likewise, Jesus was freed from the ‘prison’ of death on the third day.

Acts 2:24 (NIV) But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.


On the third day of travel, David discovers the plight of the inhabitants of Ziklag who had been taken captive..

1 Sam 30:1-18 (NIV) David… reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites… had attacked Ziklag and burned it and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it… David recovered everything…



Those in Hades were rescued by Jesus on the third day.

Eph 4:8 (ESV) … “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives…”

Rev 1:18 (NIV) I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.


Jonah was in the belly of the whale but was delivered on the third day.

Matt 12:40 (KJV) 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.

Jesus himself showed in this passage that the ordeal of Jonah was typical of his death and resurrection.


Using a prearranged signal involving arrows, on the third day of hiding, David is saved by Jonathan from the wrath of his father (Saul).

1 Sam 20:5 (ESV) David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening…


After his resurrection on the third day, Jesus saved us from the wrath of his Father.

Rom 5:9-10 (NIV) Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!


The two Israelite spies emerge from hiding on the third day to return to the safety of their camp and the protection of their commander in chief, Joshua.

Josh 2:22-23 (NIV) When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. Then the two men started back. They … forded the river and came to Joshua…


After the third day (of resurrection) we can go to our place of safety and the protection of our commander in chief, Jesus. Jesus (Yeshua) and Joshua (Yehoshua) both mean “Yahweh is my salvation” in Hebrew.

2 Thess 3:3 (NIV) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

On the third day Nehemiah sets out to examine the walls of Jerusalem, with the intention of rebuilding them.

Neh 2:11-12 (NIV) I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.

The walls Nehemiah would build offered the inhabitants protection from their enemies.

Like Nehemiah’s walls, Jesus’ work of redemption offers us protection from Satan and our enemies.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name… (John 17:11, NIV)


Jacob leaves without informing Laban and on the third day Laban learns what has happened.

Gen 31:22 (NIV) On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled.

Contemplating harming Jacob, Laban is warned by God to show restraint:

I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ (Gen 31:26-29)


So on the third day Jacob is protected from Laban’s wrath, defended by God as he upholds his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We too are defended by our resurrected Lord:

Rom 8:34 (NIV) Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.


After arriving in Ziklag, David receives news on the third day that his enemy Saul is dead. Saul had often tried to kill David.

2 Sam 1:2 (NIV) On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head …

On the third day the news broke that Jesus had risen from the grave and vanquished man’s greatest enemy – death!

1 Cor 15:25-26 (NIV) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

The Israelites discover the deception of the Gibeonites on the third day.

Josh 9:16 (NIV) Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbours, living near them.

We too were deceived until Jesus gave us the truth.

Titus 3:3 (NIV) At one time we too were … deceived…

John 14:6a (NIV) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth…”


The plague of darkness in Egypt ended on the third day.

Exodus 10:22 (NIV) So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.

On the third day Jesus’ resurrection allowed those in spiritual darkness to see the light.

Col 1:13-14 (NIV) For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


After being in contact with the dead, the Israelites were ceremonially unclean. On the third day and seventh day they had to purify themselves with water.

Num 19:11-12 (NIV) “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days. They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean.”

Matthew Henry writes: “Why did the law make a corpse a defiling thing? Because death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it, and reigns by the power of it.” *

* Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 19:11-22


The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states, “The necessity of applying the water on the third day is inexplicable on any natural or moral ground; and, therefore, the regulation has been generally supposed to have had a typical reference to the resurrection, on that day, of Christ, by whom His people are sanctified; while the process of ceremonial purification being extended over seven days, was intended to show that sanctification is progressive and incomplete till the arrival of the eternal Sabbath.”

Jesus’ death and resurrection on the third day provided purification for our sins.

Heb 1:3b (NIV) After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.



On the third day the wicked sin that occurred in the territory of Benjamin was dealt with.

Judg 20:30 (NIV) They went up against the Benjamites on the third day…

Our sin was dealt with by Jesus’ death and resurrection:

Acts 5:30-31 (NIV) “The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”

When Israel came under God’s judgement for taking a census there was “three days of plague in the land”(2 Sam 24:13). it was on the third day that David made a sacrifice and the judgement ceased.

2 Sam 24:25 (NIV) David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

David’s sacrifice is typical of the sacrifice for sin made by the Son of David (Jesus) which saved us from God’s judgement.



The Israelites request Pharaoh’s permission to make a journey into the desert, in order to offer a sacrifice on the third day.

The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God… (Ex 5:33, NIV)


After his resurrection he tells Mary, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” (John 20:17). And his purpose for going to the Father on the third day was to present himself as a sin sacrifice.

Heb 9:24-26 (NIV) For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary … he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence… But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.


When God tests Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son, we read that “On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.” (Gen 22:4)

“The place” was Mount Moriah and Abraham was headed there to offer his son Isaac as an offering to God. Yet in faith he assures his companions, “We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Gen 22:5)

But before Isaac can be killed, a substitute sacrifice is provided by God in the form of a ram. (Gen 22:12-13)

Just as the ram died in the place of Isaac, so Jesus died in our place and was offered as a sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:10 (NIV) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Rom 3:23-25 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.

And just as Isaac returned alive from the place of sacrifice, so too Jesus was resurrected after his sacrifice.


The rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem was completed on the third day of Adar.

Ezra 6:15 (NIV) The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

The rebuilding a fallen structure (in particular the temple) was used by Jesus as an analogy of his resurrection.

John 2:18-19 (NIV) Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.

Jesus’ disciples only realised the implication of Jesus’ words here after his resurrection.

John 2:20-22 (NIV) But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?

But the rebuilt temple was also the place where the people met with God. Again this is symbolic of how Jesus’ death and resurrection allows us to have fellowship with God.

Heb 10: 19-22 (NIV) Therefore, brothers and sisters,

since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…


At Mount Sinai, it was on the third day that God revealed himself to Israel and made a covenant with them.

Ex 19:16-19 (NIV) On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain… Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God…


Years later near Mount Calvary, on the third day God revealed himself to mankind and made a new covenant with them.

Heb 9:15 (NIV) For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.


And so, on arriving in Rome it was on the third day that Paul presented the gospel of the New Covenant to the leaders of the Jews.

Acts 28:16-20 (NIV) When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.

It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.


Saul’s lost property was found on the third day.

As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. (1 Sam 9:20, NIV)


As a boy, Jesus’ searching parents found him on the third day:

Luke 2:46 (NIV) After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Likewise, Jesus’ search and rescue mission which culminated in his death and resurrection enabled the Father’s lost children to be found.

Luke 19:10 (NIV) “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. (Luke 15:24)


Hosea prophesies the restoration of the relationship between God and his people.

Hosea 6:1-2 (NIV) Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.


Likewise, Jesus’ death and resurrection are responsible for the restoration of our relationship with God.

Col 1:21-22 (NIV) Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

After the return of the spies, the Israelites cross the Jordan river on the third day - to possess the land that God had given them.

Josh 1:10-11 (NIV) So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’”



After the resurrection of Jesus, we can fight to possess the land that God has given us with the victory we have in Jesus.

1 Tim 6:12 (NIV) Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


Esther came before the king’s throne on the third day! and found favour with the king.

Est 5:1-2 (NIV) On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold sceptre that was in his hand …


The third day points to the ultimate fulfilment in the resurrection of Jesus.

Esther says, “if I perish I perish” and then on the third day puts her very life in jeopardy by going before the king. But the king extends his sceptre indicating that she is granted life and favour on the third day.

Jesus says to the Father, “not my will but yours be done” and then faces death on the cross. On the third day he is granted life and favour by his resurrection! He also goes before the king of heaven – his Father.


And so, in line with these many types, Jesus repeatedly predicted that he would die and be raised on the third day.

Matt 12:40 (NIV) … so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matt 16:21 (NIV) From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Matt 17:22-23 (NIV) When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Yet Jesus’ enemies remembered his words:

Matt 26:59-61 (NIV) The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.”

Matt 27:39-40 (NIV) And while he was on the cross, those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

And the day after Jesus’ crucifixion the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate with a request.

Matt 27:62-65 (NIV) “Sir, we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.”


While Jesus enemies remembered his words, the angel had to remind the believers about them.

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” (Luke 24:5-8, NIV)

The two days leading up to the third day are a time of barrenness, imprisonment, awaiting a death sentence, hunger and thirst, darkness, hard labour, awaiting the verdict of God, being unclean, having no land, loss of property, hiding from danger, living in deception, captivity, ill-treatment, facing enemies, shortage of supplies, judgement, disease, fasting, estrangement, insecurity, blindness, being lost, DEATH AND BURIAL.

The third day is one of fruitfulness, liberation, pardon, refreshment, light, rest, covenanting with God, cleansing, taking possession of the land, restoration of lost property, return to safety, enlightenment and truth, freedom, compassion, enemies removed, abundance, cessation of judgement, healing, fellowship, security, restoration of sight, being found, LIFE AND RESURRECTION.

The third day is the transition and moment of release from death – and the emergence of new life and hope.