In order to prove that Jesus was in the tomb, that is, the heart of the earth, for three days and three nights, we must see the parallel of the Gospels to get the time sequence.
The Biblical Sequence, Three Days and Three Nights:
The days of the week apply to the particular year of Jesus’ crucifixion since the Passover may land on any day of the week depending on the sighting of the first new moon each year.
1. The Evening Prior to the Daytime of the Preparation for the Passover [Tuesday night]:
The Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, the trial before the Sanhedrin
2. The Day of Preparation for the Passover [Wednesday]:
Taken before Pilate, taken to Herod, the beating, the crucifixion and His death, the burial
3. The 1st day of Unleavened Bread, a high day Sabbath [Thursday]:
Pharisees demand a seal of the tomb and a watch of soldiers.
4. The 2nd Day of Unleavened Bread [Friday]:
The women buy and prepare spices.
5. The 3rd Day of Unleavened Bread, a weekly Sabbath day [Saturday]:
The women rested according to the commandment.
6. The 4th Day of Unleavened Bread, the 1st day of the week [Sunday]:
The women bring the prepared spices to the tomb early in the morning while it is yet dark and find He is already risen.
So Jesus must have returned to his fleshly body late Saturday afternoon. By 3 pm, the full three days and three nights prophecy would have been fulfilled.
Discrepancy? Do the Gospel writers disagree?
I would like to clear up an apparent discrepancy in Mark 14:12.
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?
1. We know that the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread is NOT the day on which the Passover lamb was killed.
2. Matt. 27:62 says that the Pharisees asked for a watch of soldiers at the tomb on the next day after the Preparation.
3. Luke 23:54, speaking of Joseph of Arimathaea preparing the body for burial says, “that day was the Preparation and the Sabbath drew on.”
4. John 19:42 says they laid him in a nearby tomb because of the Preparation Day.
5. Finally, Mark himself gives us the answer to this riddle in Mark 15:42-43
And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
So ALL four gospel accounts agree that Jesus died on the Preparation Day. We have to assume that in Mark14:12, Mark meant that the Passover celebration was coming.
The evening prior to the Preparation Day Jesus and His disciples gathered in the upper room to partake of the Last Supper of our Lord. From there they went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray where Jesus was arrested. He was taken to trial, and the next morning, the Day of Preparation for the Passover, He was taken to Pilate.
My booklet The Sign of Jonah the Prophet is available here as a free download.