I was told that under the modern Jewish calendar a feast day cannot fall on a weekly Sabbath. Was it this way in ancient Israel? In ancient Israel could a feast day fall on the weekly Sabbath? It appears that it may have happened the year Jesus died, whatever that year may have been. Jesus died on the preparation day before the weekly Sabbath (Mark 15:42).

Mark 15:42 NASB

When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,

That would be Friday. Jesus also died on the day of the preparation of the first day of the feast of unleavened bread (John 19:14,31).

John 19:14

Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”

John 19:31

Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

That would be the feast beginning with Nisan 15. Is it possible in the 30's C.E. for a feast day to fall on the weekly Sabbath? In the Greek language, John 19:31 doesn't refer to a high day but that the Sabbath was megales, or "great". It seems as though the great sabbath that followed the day of the Crucifixion was a holy convocation that coincided with the weekly Sabbath. What would the ancient Jews do in such a situation? Would they prepare for the Passover meal on Friday before eating it Friday evening after sunset?

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    Where did you get your information from? Even in today's Jewish calendar Passover (or Seder night) can fall on the sabbath, and it happens so every now and then. This is totally false. As for the pascal lamb, it was always prepared on the Eve of Passover, they roasted it during the day in the afternoon and ate it at night in haste.
    – bach
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 2:18
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    In the year 2025 it falls on Saturday, see here almanac.com/content/when-start-passover
    – bach
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 2:19
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    Anything is possible if you ignore, "in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.' Matt 12:40 That's what Jesus said anyway.
    – Steve
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 6:39
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    The phrase weekly Sabbath is redundant like weekly-Saturday. Correct it by removing weekly word
    – Michael16
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 8:11
  • @steveowen Yes, Matthew 12:40 is problematic for the crucifixion being on a Friday. But Mark 15:42 says Jesus was crucified the day before the Sabbath. And Jesus was risen by the time the women reached the tomb on the first of the week. So that is definitely not three days and three nights. Placing the crucifixion on a Wednesday or a Thursday and having Jesus raised from the dead on Saturday at sunset for the former and early Sunday morning for the latter will alleviate the problem. However, Mark and John place the crucifixion on the eve of the Sabbath so that would be Friday. Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 14:40

5 Answers 5


On the contrary, there are many who believe that most feast days always fall on sabbaths. This is the lunar-sabbath approach. In this approach, each new moon resets the weekly cycle. So all holidays are on the same day of the week every year. Things line up in a pretty amazing way with this approach.

We know that the Hebrew calendar was at least based on new moons for the months. That's where we get the term month.

The 1st day is a new moon feast day (Ezekiel 46), days 2-7 are days 1-6 of the work week. The 7th day of the work week is day 8, 15, 22, and 29 of each month.

Passover is the 14th. They're preparing for the 15th, which is always a sabbath. The feast of booths, likewise starts on a sabbath, and ends on a sabbath.

Also, the day begins and ends at sunrise, not sunset. Nehemiah started the practice of shutting things down at sunset, and the rest is history. There is a lot more logic to this issue but that is the summary.


Graphic of 'The Chronology of Jesus Christ's Death, Burial and Resurrection'

You are looking at a picture below of the Passover celebration in 33 AD. April Nisan 14th 33 AD the preparation for the Passover fell on a Wednesday, the weekly Sabbath fell on a Thursday. Then there was a second Sabbath on a Friday. Jesus Christ was crucified at 12:00 p.m. Passover on the 14th he died at 3:00 p.m. when the high freeze killed the sheep at the altar. Three days later he rose from the grave. He was in the ground at 6:00 p.m. Thursday evening and he rose from the grave Saturday at 6:00 p.m.. That's three days and three nights. The women came to the grave on the first day of the second Sabbath because the first day of the week would have been on Friday. But they went to the grave on a Sunday. So Thursday they prepared for the Friday Sabbath. At sunset 6:00 p.m. Thursday, it was not only the weekly Sabbath but it was also the preparation for the second Sabbath the Jewish culture back then was called the little Sabbath but those who could not make it like there was a second Passover were those who were coming from out of town.

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    – agarza
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 16:30
  • From where do you get a Friday Sabbath?
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 21:22
  • Robert, problem is there was only the weekly Sabbath the year Jesus died. There was no annual Sabbath as many have claimed. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/62640/… Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 23:41

As far as I have learned, an annual feast day can fall on a Sabbath (the seventh day of the week). However, in the year Jesus was crucified that didn’t happen. That is, the annual feast day and the Sabbath were on two different days.


Because, if they fell on the same day, there would be a major contradiction in the gospels, as follows:

Mark 16:1

“And the sabbath passing, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices, so that coming they might anoint Him.”

Luke 23:56

"And returning, they prepared spices and ointment. And indeed they rested on the sabbath, according to the commandment.”

Mark says the ladies “bought” spices AFTER the Sabbath was over. This would take some time because they either had to go to the market to buy the spices or arrange them to be supplied. From the Bible, it is clear that the Sabbath ends at sunset. Did they go to market in the night itself or on the following day? Most probably, the latter could be the possible option. Also they need time to “prepare/process the spices and ointment”, (See Luke 23:56).

Whatever it is, they reached at the Tomb only on Sunday morning with the items ready with them.

But Luke says the ladies prepared the spices and ointment (which they had bought earlier) BEFORE the Sabbath.

But one thing we can be sure of: the Sabbath Luke talks about is the week day Sabbath (the seventh day) because he identifies it as the Sabbath “according to the commandment”.

Obviously these cannot be the same Sabbaths. The second Sabbath mentioned by Luke is, without any doubt, the seventh day Sabbath. Then what about the first Sabbath Mark talks about? This must be the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which falls, every year, right after the Passover day. The first day of the UB falls on Nissan 15, sunset to sunset. It is to be a rest day without work; so a shabbath.

Of necessity, there should be at least one day gap between these two Sabbaths. After the first annual Sabbath, the ladies went to or arranged someone to go to market, buy the required spices and other things and prepare them ready for anointing (pounding, grinding, drying in sunlight?).

It is this first Sabbath that followed the Passover day that John calls a “great” day (John 19:31). As far as my knowledge goes, the seventh day Sabbath is never called a great day in the Bible.

It is clear that Jesus was not crucified before the seventh day Sabbath. He was crucified before the UB, that is, exactly on the daytime of the Passover day.

That is why Paul declares: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Yes, the Passover with a lamb “without blemish” in the Old Testament was “a shadow” of the “coming” great Sacrifice of Christ “without sin” in the New Testament!

So viewed in this way, Christ will stand vindicated when He said, “And even as "Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights," so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40).

Jesus said, just as Jonah, He will be in the grave (heart of the earth) three days and three nights. (He didn’t mean the total time of His death but only the time when He will be buried!).

Did Jesus have any notion about the length of a day and night?

“Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9).

Yes, Jesus knew what He was saying when He said three days and three nights and He knew exactly how long these days would be!


Note: I understand that the Jewish days were divided into 12 equal periods. But these varied in length depending on the season.


In the Greek, Matthew (28:1) says " After the Sabbaths" which could mean Nissan 15 and then the weekly Sabbath. If Nissan 14 then fell on a Thursday and not a Friday, Jesus would have been in the grave 3 full nights and 3 days, counting the day He was crusified as the first day.

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