We read of the third day in 48 verses of the Bible. We won’t have time to look at all these passages, but we’ll consider a good selection, for I want you to see that the third day always speaks of the hope of restoration, and ultimately resurrection.
All these references are signposts to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, underlining the fact that Christ’s death and resurrection have been in the mind of God, and bringing hope to His people, from the beginning.
And the evening and the morning were the third day.
In the creation narrative given in the first chapter of our Bibles, we read that the first two days were marked by separation and division: the light from darkness, and the heavens from the earth.
Even at this early stage, before life is seen on earth, we are reading about the language of death, for death is a separation. It reminds us in particular of Christ’s death, when the He who was the Light of the World was rejected and put to death by the powers of darkness. It reminds us of the deep sorrow of the separation of God and man.
But then comes the third day! Oh, what hope it brings.
First, we read of an appearing: let the dry land appear (v9). The dry land was always there, buried under the seas, but now on the third day, the seas are gathered together so that dry land can appear.
This is certainly an image of resurrection, and it is no surprise that this is the first mention of goodness in our Bible: God saw that it was good (v10).
How good of God – knowing that we would sin; knowing that our lives would be one of separation and ultimate death – to give us from the very beginning a hope of resurrection.
But the image of resurrection in this creation passage deepens further, for on this third day life is brought forth, for the first time, from a barren landscape – and life in abundance!
Read verses 11 & 12, and you will see that the emphasis is on the fruitfulness of this life. It is not just that grass, and herbs, and trees are brought forth, but there is a focus on the yield of these plants. In other words, what they produce – their fruit – as a result of the life they now have.
And truly, this is the blessedness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not just that He, Himself, was restored to life having died upon the cross, but that having died for our sins, He is now able to also give to us newness of life , when we come to Him.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, understood the truth of this, and could speak of His approaching death and resurrection as necessary to bringing forth spiritual fruit in our lives.
Verily, verily, I say unto you; except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. [John 12:24]
I pray that you will come to know the risen Saviour, whom to know is life eternal – that this day might be your third day, when old things are passed away and all things are become new, for if any one be in Christ, they are a new creation. [2 Cor 5:17]