Was Christ Raised from the Dead on Sunday?

By Wayne Jackson

“Would you explain Matthew 28:1, ‘In the end of the Sabbath’ (KJV), or ‘Late on the Sabbath’ (ASV)? This seems to say that the women came to the tomb and found it empty on the evening of the Sabbath, which would indicate that Jesus was raised on Saturday, not Sunday.”

No, this does not mean that Jesus was raised from the grave on Saturday. The problem is one of translation from the original Greek language into English.

First, the other Gospel accounts clearly show that this visit occurred upon the first day of the week (Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).

Second, the rendition of Matthew 28:1 should be as follows: “After the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . .” The Sabbath ended at 6:00 the previous evening, and the dawn of Sunday morning was approaching. The Greek of the passage is opse sabbaton, meaning “after the Sabbath” (Arndt and Gingrich 1967, 606). The Revised Standard Version thus correctly translates, “Now after the sabbath . . .” The New American Standard Bible renders the verse in the same way.

Third, it is the universal testimony of both Scripture and church history that the early Christians regarded Sunday as Christ’s resurrection day. The disciples met together on resurrection Sunday (John 20:19), then on Sunday a week later (20:26). The church was established on Pentecost, which always came on Sunday (Leviticus 23:15-16; Acts 2:1). The early Christians, under the leadership of inspired men, worshipped on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). That day was later designated as “the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). To all of this evidence agree the testimonies of the writers in the post-apostolic age, i.e., from A.D. 100 to A.D. 325. Sunday was the resurrection day.

The Lord came forth from the dead not on Saturday, but on Sunday morning.

Sources/Footnotes
  • Arndt, William and F. W. Gingrich. 1967. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.