“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth … and the evening and the morning were the third day” (Gen 1:11,13).
On the third day of creation, God revealed His desire for the creation work of His hands, that of bearing fruit. We could be excused for thinking that fertility only has the reproduction of the species in view, but in the life of the Lord Jesus, four times we read of the “third day.” On each of these occasions, we see Him bringing forth precious fruit of which we are the beneficiaries.
The “Third Day” in the Life of The Lord Jesus
1. His Perception in Nazareth
“And it came to pass that after three days, they found him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors … And He said unto them, “How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:46, 49).
Luke is the evangelist that gives us the first spoken words of Christ in the New Testament. What joy these words spoken by this Child would have given to His heavenly Father. From then on, we know nothing of His life until the age of thirty, except for the short statement in verse 52 of the same chapter: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
As the trees bore fruit the third day of creation, so the Son of God bore the exquisite fruit of obedience, perception, and intelligence this “third day” in Jerusalem. Are we “about the Father’s business” or are we so taken up with the things of the world that we have no time for the things of God? Those few words spoken by the Savior reveal the distinction between His family ties and those linking Him with Heaven. This did not mean that He broke all ties with them for the text tells us that He remained “subject to them.” But henceforth they would understand that His chief preoccupation would be that of doing the Father’s will. Eighteen years later this is confirmed at the marriage feast of Cana: “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.”
2. His Power at Cana
“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee … this beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory.” (John 2:1, 11)
The “ordinary” character of this first miracle comes as a surprise, for we would have expected something more striking, such as a healing, a resurrection, or the delivering of a demon-possessed person. To the contrary, the Son of God is pleased to demonstrate His power at the wedding feast of Cana in a quite unexpected manner. This miracle met no essential need; it relieved no pain, and crushed no evil power.
To understand the meaning of this miracle, we should take note of certain details. Firstly, the Lord waits until all resources are exhausted. He only acted when, in the words of Mary, “They have no wine.” Secondly, what the Lord did was a work of the hand of the Creator, for what He did was totally impossible for any mortal to accomplish. When a doctor speaks of a miracle, normally he is referring to a case where a person gets better despite the fact that no hope of amelioration seemed possible. He is not necessarily implying that the sick person was the object of divine, miraculous intervention, but simply honestly acknowledging his ignorance as to how the person recovered.
We must not fail to take note of the third detail. Who saw the miracle? Not the disciples but the servants who drew the water. Did these servants believe on the Lord? Nothing indicates this idea. But the disciples, who had seen nothing believed on Him. This miracle introduces the principle of faith, and nothing but faith. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is an act of faith. “By grace are ye saved through faith.”
3. His Perseverance in the way
“Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:32).
The only place where this verb “to be made perfect” is found, as applied to the Lord Jesus Christ, is in the epistle to the Hebrews (2:10, 5:9, 7:28). For no mere earthly potentate, such as Herod, could decide on the death of Christ. His death and resurrection were according to the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” This passage refers to the moment of the complete fulfilment of the work of redemption in all its dignity and fullness. Nothing could deter the Savior from the pathway He was pursuing, whether it was the threats of “that fox” Herod or the effort of His own disciple (Matt 16:22). This holy determination speaks to us. Do we show the same purpose of heart in the pursuit of our testimony for Christ in this scene?
But we must differentiate between perseverance and stubbornness. Stubbornness is carnal, for the individual will listen to no one and will submit to no one. He is determined to act, whatever the outcome. In the realm of faith, perseverance is characterized by humility and faithfulness to the Word of God, and a desire to follow the path that God marks out for the believer.
4. His Proclamation of victory in the world
“Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations” (Luke 24:46-47).
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul declares: “And if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17). Our salvation rests on the victory of the Savior over sin and death. In raising Him from the dead, God declared His satisfaction and pleasure in the work of His Son. The empty tomb fills the heart of the believer with joy. This event was so important that it was none less than an angel who announced to the women: “He is not here: for He is risen as He said.” The Man of sorrows, once crowned with thorns is now crowned with glory and honor.
Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord.
Death cannot keep his prey,
Jesus my Savior,
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord.