There are two statements in respect to the events surrounding the crucifixion
of Christ which provide insight into the understanding of when the day ended.
First Day of Unleavened Bread
The family Passover was observed on the same day as the prior daylight
Mark 14:12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread,
when they killed the Passover lamb, His
disciples said to Him, "Where do You want
us to go and prepare that You may eat the
Matt 26:17 Now on the first day of the Feast of the
Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus,
saying to Him, "Where do You want us to
prepare for You to eat the Passover?"
Luke 22:7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when
the Passover must be killed.
:8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and
prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat."
:9 So they said to Him, "Where do You want us to
[ NB: A number of translations of Matt 26:17, Mark 14:12 and Luke 22:7
incorrectly capitalise the words 'unleavened bread' (or add the
words 'the Feast of'), and by this incorrectly imply these verses
are referring to the 'Feast of Unleavened Bread'. (Note, the
Feast of Unleavened Bread did not begin until the day following
the death of Jesus Christ.)
Scripture in these verses is referring to the first time in the
new year that unleavened bread would be eaten, ie with the
Passover lamb meal (Exod 12:8). ]
The disciples asked their question during the daylight hours prior to the
celebration of the family Passover. That very same day the disciples would
later be eating unleavened bread with the Passover lamb.
The Passover lamb was killed after sunset, roasted over a fire, and when
cooked eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread before midnight.
Burial of Jesus Christ
Christ was buried after sunset, but before the day ended!
Mark 15:42 Now when evening had come, because it was
the Preparation Day, that is, the day before
:43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council
member, who was himself waiting for the
kingdom of God, coming and taking courage,
went into Pilate and asked for the body of
Notice, 'evening had come' before Joseph had even
asked for the body of Christ. (Refer also Matthew
27:57-58.) The first evening (ie, sunset) had
From the gospel of John we learn the disciples placed the body in a nearby
tomb because that day, the Preparation Day, was drawing to an end (and a
sabbath day followed).
John 19:41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a
garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one
had yet been laid.
:42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews'
Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
John 19:38 also tells us why Joseph of Arimathea waited until after
evening, ie after sunset.
John 19:38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple
of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate that he might take away the body of
Joseph was afraid of the Jewish hierarchy. However, he knew that after
sunset they would be preoccupied in their observance of the temple Passover
referred to in John 18:28.
The day did not end shortly after sunset, because the ladies after having
observed where His body was laid in the tomb still had time to return to
their residence and prepare spices and fragrant oils.
Luke 23:55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee
followed after, and they observed the tomb and how
His body was laid.
:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant
oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to
From these two crucifixion examples we can confirm,
A) The prior daylight hours were considered to fall within
the same day as the first portion of the night.
B) The second evening, and not the first, ended the day.