SO WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?
Matthew 12:40 - "For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Three is the number of completion. There’s a revelation behind the 3. Jesus spoke of many 3’s, “seed, time, harvest”, “Peter, James, John” “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” “Faith, hope, charity” to name a few. Then there are the references to the “third day” in the Old Testament: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back” (11:17–19). It sometimes slips our notice that this “resurrection” of Isaac occurred on the “third day,” yet there it is in Genesis 22:4: “On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.”
So many other events happen specifically on the third day that it’s clear God has set apart this day as different. The plague of darkness in Egypt was lifted on the third day (Exodus 10:22), God visited His people on Sinai on the third day (Exodus 19:11), and a sacrifice was complete on the third day. On the third day, the sacrifice was ended, finished, in the past (Leviticus 19:6–8). God’s people possessed the land on the third day (Joshua 1:11), manna ceased on the third day, and the people ate of the fruit of the promised land (Joshua 5:10–12). David was promised relief from pestilence on the third day (2 Samuel 24:13), the temple was finished and ready for worship on the third day (Ezra 6:15), and Esther was received by the King on the third day, sparing not only her life but the lives of all of God’s people as well (Esther 5:1-2). It seems that the third day was so well known as special that it came to be understood as the day for forgiveness, new life, and acceptance by God (Hosea 6:1–2).
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
THERE IS DEFINITELY A PATTERN HERE OF A PROCESS OF DELIVERANCE. IN OUR LIVES WE CAN SEE THAT WE WALK THROUGH THESE PATTERNS OFTEN AS WE ARE GOING THROUGH OUR OWN DELIVERANCE….Death, burial and then the Resurrection.