The Third Day (Luke 24:45-47)
Along with pointing to the totality of our Savior, the scriptural significance of the number three also points to the totality of our salvation. Christ’s cry from the cross, “It is finished,” was no a fluke (John 19:30). Instead, it was a divine declaration of the complete salvation wrought for us by Christ on the cross.
How do we know that this is the case? According to the Apostle Paul, “our justification” is proven by the fact that Christ was “raised” from the dead (Romans 4:25). Think about it; the proof of the totality of our redemption is found in the fact that Christ rose from the dead on “the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:4).
Jesus foretold that He would be “perfected” on the third day and pointed to the Old Testament story of Jonah as a foreshadowing of it (Luke 13:32; Matthew 12:39-40). We are also told in the Gospels that He raised three people from the dead during his earthly ministry (Mark 5:22-43; Luke 7:11-16; John 11:1-46). All of this points to the totality of our redemption proven by Christ’s resurrection.
When you add to Christ’s resurrection on the third day the preponderance of threes connected to Christ’s crucifixion, there is no doubt about the totality of our redemption. For instance, consider all of the following:
- It was three times that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44).
- It was at the third hour that Jesus was crucified (Mark 15:25).
- It was three hours—from the sixth to the ninth hour—that darkness shrouded Christ on the cross (Matthew 27:45).
- The inscription on the cross—THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS—was written in three languages (Luke 23:38).
- And there are three heavenly witnesses to the totality of the salvation that God has wrought for us in Christ—“the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).
It has been poignantly pointed out that the difference between the Christian faith and all others is in the spelling of salvation. Whereas all other faiths spell salvation “DO,” Christianity spells it “DONE!” In other faiths, salvation is a matter of our works for God, but in Christianity it is a matter of Christ’s work for us. In other faiths, salvation is earned by those who try, but in Christianity it is given to those who trust.