The Third Day
Key Verses: “He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, chapter 24, gives an account of the resurrection of Jesus, as well as some of his post-resurrection appearances to his disciples. Verse 4 states that “two men … in shining garments” appeared to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, informing them that Jesus “is risen.” (vs. 6) Before his death, the Master had spoken to his disciples concerning the “Son of man.” “They shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33) At hearing the initial word that Jesus was alive again, Peter and others first doubted the report and questioned whether he had indeed risen from the grave. While the risen Lord appeared to many of his followers before ascending to heaven, he was especially careful to clearly establish the fact of his resurrection to the eleven specially selected apostles. They were being prepared as his chosen witnesses to bear testimony of the truths concerning his life, teachings, character, death, resurrection, and future work.—I Cor. 15:20-26; II Pet. 1:16-19
There is a further lesson to be considered in our study concerning “The Third Day,” which has to do with the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. Hosea prophesied, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”—Hos. 6:1,2
From our studies of the Scriptures we know that the Jews were cast off from God’s favor for a period of time because of their rejection of the Messiah. This is spoken of by Hosea symbolically as “two days,” just as Jesus was literally in the tomb for two days. On the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead by the mighty power of God. As he arose from death early in the morning of the third day, it will be at the beginning of the thousand-year day of Messiah’s reign, the “third day” of Hosea’s prophecy that, as Paul said, “all Israel shall be saved.” The thought from these words of Paul is that Israel will be saved from the blindness which came upon them as a people when they rejected the Messiah, and they will recognize him as their great Deliverer.—Rom. 11:25,26
Verse 3 of Hosea 6 explains further: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” In that “third day,” Israel shall know. They will understand that Christ’s First Coming was for the purpose of providing the redemptive price, and to begin the call to those who would be his saints, Jews and Gentiles alike, providing them with the water of truth—the “former rain.” The Lord’s Second Coming will likewise be understood—that its purpose has been to bring to completion the work of gathering his saints, but also of “reviving” Israel, eventually giving them, and the world of mankind, life through another outpouring of the water of truth—the “latter rain.” How beautifully the prophecy of Hosea harmonizes with the truths associated with Jesus’ resurrection on the third day.