I’ve mentioned, in my post before last, that I don’t think that the literal third-day resurrection of Jesus was an unambiguous interpretation to draw from Jesus’ own predictions. His predictions about rising “after three days” could have been interpreted, I think, to mean that his resurrection was inevitable, after some deferral. Indeed, it seems that the disciples themselves did not receive Jesus’ words as a plain roadmap of the days ahead.
Furthermore, I think it could be added that from the point of view of the disciples, the resurrection of Jesus on the literal third day after his death was not theologically necessary. There was no precedent or need for God’s Messiah to enter into his glory during the present age. Rather, the default expectation was that God’s righteous one would be raised at the last day.
Thus the chaos and confusion that ensued when the women came and told the other disciples that Jesus had literally been raised on the third day – this was a surprising development, which only made sense in retrospect: God’s Messiah has been raised already – as the firstborn from among the dead! The new age has begun.