The Passover is an annual Jewish memorial that commemorates a time when God saved the firstborn of Israel by the killing of the Passover lamb. Moses was sent to Egypt by God to deliver the Israelites from bondage. When Pharaoh refused to release his slaves, God sent a series of 9 plagues but his heart was still hard and he refused to let the people go. Then he sent the last plague in which the firstborn was to die unless the blood of a lamb was applied to the lintel and door posts of the house. That evening, the people ate the lamb they had killed in a feast and the Lord “passed over” the houses that had applied the blood. Because Pharaoh had refused to heed the words which Moses warned him, his own firstborn son was one of the people to die in the final and 10th plague. The next morning Pharaoh relented and freed the slaves from their bondage. The Passover meal is eaten every year as a remembrance of the night the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites, sparing the lives of their own firstborn and freeing them from slavery.
There were three feasts Jewish men were required to attend in Jerusalem every year, one of which was the Passover celebration, commonly referred to together with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First Fruits which all happened in one week. During the last week of Jesus’s life, the preparations and beginnings of these Springtime festivals were taking place. There is much debate about how these feasts line up with our days of the week as the Jewish calendar and our modern calendar differ. The Jewish calendar numbers days using “the first day,” “the second day,” using the lunar cycle, whereas our modern calendar refers to the days as Sunday, Monday, and so on and uses the solar cycle. The Jewish day also begins in the evening at sunset, instead of our calendar that switches days at midnight. There is also disagreement on what type of meal Jesus ate the night he was arrested, just prior to his crucifixion. Several clues are mentioned by the writers of the gospels that we will use to help shed some light on these issues.
On the 10th of the month of Nisan, the High Priest went out of the city of Jerusalem to the nearby hill country to select a Passover Lamb for the feast.1 He had to choose wisely from among the flock since the one he selected had to fulfill the requirements set forth in Exodus 12:5, “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old.” He then brought it across the Kidron Valley, near the Mount of Olives, holding it in his arms as he entered the Temple.2
As part of the annual tradition, a crowd would gather at the gate in order to welcome the High Priest and the sacrifical lamb. The people would wave palm branches during the procession and sing with joy Psalm 118 while they remembered the deliverance from bondage that God granted to the Israelites in Egypt. A portion of which was sung, “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; The righteous will enter through it. I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation… Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” The High Priest then led the lamb to the Temple to be inspected for four days, until the 14th when it would be slaughtered.
Similarly, the people were to select a lamb of similar qualifications for themselves and their households on this day and were to care for it for four days, until the 14th. “On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.”3 It has been estimated that at the time of this particular Passover, there would have been nearly 250,000 animals Passover Lambs in Jerusalem at the time of the feast,4 yet only one was to fulfill the prophecy of Psalm 118 that year.
Jesus was selected to be the Passover Lamb by God, not only for the nation of Israel, but for all the world. The lamb selected to be the Passover Lamb was to be unblemished and thusly we are told in 1 Peter that Jesus fit those requirements “of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”5
This wasn’t the first instance of Jesus being recognized as the Passover Lamb either. John the Baptist declared it at the baptism of Jesus three years prior when he announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”6 The last Old Testament prophet, John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus’ ministry.
On the 10th of Nisan, Jesus and his disciples came and stopped atop the Mount of Olives. He then sent his disciples to a nearby city to find a young donkey, which had not been ridden, tied up there. They were to untie it and bring it back to him. They then laid their coats upon it and Jesus mounted it ready for him triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Whether before or after the procession of the sacrificial lamb by the High Priest, it had to have been a relatively short period of time that Jesus then followed the same route into the city, for the welcoming crowd of the priest’s lamb was present. It is also through the eastern gate, known as the King’s gate, that he was presumed to have entered through.7 Upon seeing him the people spread palm branches and their own coats in the road. Then they began chanting from Psalm 118, the Messiah’s Psalm, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!”8 The city was stirred and some were questioning who this was that was riding in on the donkey and receiving a Messianic acclimation. The crowds answered them “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”9
On this day, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 118. A portion of it reads:
“Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; The righteous will enter through it. I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; We have blessed you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.”10
By doing all these things, Jesus made a parallel between the Passover Lamb sacrificed on behalf of the nation in an annual observance and himself as the all-encompassing, ultimate, and final Passover Lamb. From there Jesus made his way to the Temple where for four days he presented himself for inspection before the chief priests, elders, and people in the Temple.
At the end of his triumphal entry route into Jerusalem, Jesus made his way into the Temple to be inspected by the chief priests and elders on the first day of a four day symbolic inspection process. He saw it was being used as a marketplace, instead of a house of worship and in response overturned their tables and drove out the money changers. In essence, Jesus cleansed the Temple, just as leaven is cleansed from houses prior to the partaking of the Passover celebration and the next day’s Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leaven being represented as sin to the people as it is a symbol of corruption and impurity.11
He then spends the remainder of the day teaching, and healing the blind and lame. Even after all this, there are children in the midst who have been watching him and they cry out to him “Hosanna to the Son of David!”12 This enrages the chief priests and scribes standing there watching all these things happen. Over the next few days, they become even more irrate as he comes back day after day for “inspection,” just as the Passover Lamb stands nearby being inspected as well.
It may seem odd that the story of the fig tree appears here in the last week of Jesus, or even that Jesus gave any consideration to a barren fig tree enough that he would want to curse it as a service to the local farmers. Upon further examination of the story, we will see that Jesus did not curse it out of spite because he was hungry, but he uses the barren fig tree to teach his disciples a lesson about the future of the nation of Israel.
The text in Mark reads:
“On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening…As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.””13
The fig tree was used in the Old Testament as a symbolic reference to the nation of Israel. “A fruitful tree is a sign of blessing and obedience, while a tree without fruit is a sign of Israel’s poor spiritual condition.”14 Matthew relates earlier in his gospel account a statement from John the Baptist, “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”15
While Jesus was still afar off, he saw this fig tree and noticed that it had leaves. Being at a distance, he wouldn’t have been able to see if it had fruit just yet. However, in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, it explains that “various kinds of figs grew in Palestine during the first century. One very important aspect of fig growth has to do with the relationship between the leaf and the fruit… the tiny figs, known to the Arabs as taksh, ‘appear simultaneously in the leaf axils’ (1982, 2:302) This taksh is edible and “is often gathered for sale in the markets” (2:302). Furthermore, the text notes: ‘When the young leaves are appearing in spring, every fertile fig will have some taksh on it…. But if a tree with leaves has no fruit, it will be barren for the entire season.'”16
As Jesus saw the leaves and approached the tree, there was no reason to doubt he would find fruit, but not finding any and knowing it would thus be barren that season, he cursed it, causing it to die from its very roots. The judgement upon Israel had been set in motion.
After the triumphal entry of the Passover Lamb into Jerusalem, it was put on display in the temple from the 10th to the 14th of the month. During this time, the lamb was kept in public view to be inspected by the High Priest and the people to make sure it was without defect, a spotless lamb worthy of sacrifice.
During this same time, Jesus presented himself in the temple courtyard for the scrutiny of the chief priests, elders, and people, in order to also be proved “a lamb unblemished and spotless.”17 He was continually teaching, being questioned, and his authority was also challenged, but even though they tried to entrap him, each time they were astonished at his teaching for his logic was sound and his character impeccable.
At evening he would go up to the Mount of Olives, to Bethany, and return again the next morning to the Temple.18
After being in the Temple all day, Luke tells us that in the evening Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives, to Bethany, for the night. In the morning he would return again to the Temple.19 We can imply from Matthew 26:6 and Mark 14:3 that Jesus was staying at the house of Simon the leper which is located there.
Jesus continues talking to his disciples privately, after they left the Temple, about things that were to come. See the scriptural references above for the accounts.
Another occurrence often overlooked is that of Jesus’ anointing two days before he was to be crucified. What significance was there in placing this story in the gospels? The woman who anointed Jesus with the costly perfume was doing so, perhaps unbeknownst to her, in preparation of his burial. Jesus was buried in haste due to the upcoming Sabbath and it would be three days before the women could get to his grave with spices to anoint him.
His head was anointed 6 days prior to Passover and his feet 2 days prior. The anointing of the head was meant to designate kingship, while the feet designated Jesus being glorified in death.20
It is noted in scripture that the perfume used to do the anointing was not only costly, but was fragrant and its fragrance filled the house. Why is this an important detail? It is said that the sense of smell can be a great kindler of memory. Shortly thereafter, we see Jesus sharing his last supper with his disciples in which he institutes the Lord’s Supper telling them to “do this in remembrance of me.” Neither do we tend to think of Jesus standing before his accusers with the smell of the perfume wafting from him, but even after two days it still would have been noticeable to them. How much we miss from scripture when we can’t see, hear, touch, taste, or smell what took place!
We don’t know the reasoning behind why Judas chose to betray Jesus, but we are told some things about his character which may help to answer the question. Judas never referred to Jesus as the Messiah or Lord, only as Rabbi which simply means teacher. While Peter spoke up many times in scripture with professions of belief and loyalty, Judas remained silent.
It also appears that he had either little or no personal relationship with Jesus. In the listing of the twelve apostles, it appears they are always listed in the same general order, with Peter, James and John always coming first. We see the same correlation in scripture with the closeness of their relationships with Jesus. Judas is always mentioned last. The only time he is mentioned in the gospel writings is when he is rebuked by Jesus at his anointing for what he sees as the apparent waste of costly perfume, and his denial and subsequent betray of Jesus.
Judas was also labeled a thief in John’s gospel as he raided the money box. “He was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.”21 As treasurer for the twelve, he was deceptive in his practices during Jesus’ three year ministry. It is not surprising then that he would betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Just as Zechariah the Prophet:
“I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.”22
Whatever his reasoning, Jesus says of him, “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”23
When we read the gospel accounts of the disciples preparing for the Passover, we might immediately notice a disagreement in the timing between them. Matthew, Mark and Luke seem to imply that Jesus ate the Passover Seder meal before the actual day of Passover, while John’s account clearly states that it had not yet come. Upon closer inspection, we will see that no disagreement exists and that the reason for the misunderstanding is the use of the terms that the writers chose to use. We also need to keep in mind that the Jewish day began at sunset and went to the next sunset.
First, let’s look at the texts that lead to this misunderstanding:
“Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread…” (Matthew 26:17)
“On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed,” (Mark 14:12)
“Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” (Luke 22:7)
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come…” (John 13:1)
Mark’s account has been mistranslated and more accurately should follow the translation of Luke, “when the passover they sacrificed.”24
Now Matthew, Mark, and Luke all call it the “day of Unleavened Bread” and not the “day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” This is an important distinction as according to Exodus, the actual feast began on the 15th.25 The writers also used the terms Passover and Unleavened Bread interchangeably.
Note the following examples:
“Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away;” (Mark 14:1)
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover” (Luke 22:1)
In the law set forth in the Old Testament, Passover preparation began on the 14th at twilight when the lambs were to be slaughtered. This is the day that Matthew, Mark and Luke refer to as the first day of Unleavened Bread. That evening, the 15th (beginning of the Jewish day), was the actual Passover feast, which ran until midnight. The 14th was set aside to prepare for the coming feast and it was the beginning of Unleavened Bread, which was different from the feast that began on the 15th.26 The 15th was the first day of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.27 The two overlapped by six hours. So it’s no surprise that the synoptic gospel writers would mention the 14th as being the first day of Unleavened Bread, that being the preparation day of Passover.
Additionally, Matthew and Mark both note that the Passover was still two days away while Jesus was speaking of the coming crucifixion to his disciples, still one day away on the night they ate the last supper. This chronology does in fact line up with the account in John’s gospel.
John’s gospel, which was written to Gentiles, who may have been unfamiliar with the Jewish feasts and calendar system, clearly states that it was before the Feast of the Passover on the night they ate the last supper.28 Also that while Jesus is standing trial on the day of his crucifixion, the next day, Jesus’ accusers did not want to “enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat of the Passover.”29 He also calls this same day the “day of preparation for the Passover.”30
And again, all four accounts tell of Pilate’s custom of releasing one of the prisoners at the Passover. Had the night before been Passover, Pilate would have been a day late in doing this.
Moreover, during the last supper, Jesus states that he has desired to eat the Passover with them, but will not be able to. “Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'”31
So what were the disciples doing when they prepared for the Passover?
God had told Moses in Exodus that “on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”32 (The first day was the beginning of the 14th, this particular night.) The disciples were at work removing the leaven from the place Jesus told them to prepare. Leaven was seen as equivalent to sin as it puffs up the bread. The Hebrew word for leaven is “chemetz,” meaning decay, corruption, and sour.33
Accordingly, there is no mention of a lamb being slaughtered for the meal this night as it was not yet the Passover meal, but the beginning of the 14th. The lambs were still milling around the city on the last night before their slaughter.
The city would have been very crowded during the feasts. It was then “customary for the residents of Jerusalem to open their houses for guests during this feast.”34 While it is possible that the man who opened his house for them was a disciple the scriptures do not say.
As we saw from the section above, the disciples preparations included obtaining a room and purging it of all leaven before the Passover was to take place. The night of the last supper was the beginning of the evening of the 14th, one evening before the Passover Seder meal was to take place on the 15th. The meal they ate was a meal at Passover time, but not THE Passover Seder meal.
The slaughtering of the lambs didn’t take place until the following afternoon, on the 14th at “twilight.”35 The Hebrew translation of twilight, or beyn ha’arbayim means “between the evenings.” “The last half of the daylight hours (from about noon to 6pm) was further divided into two parts: the minor evening oblation (noon to 3pm) and the major evening oblation (3pm to 6pm). Thus “between the evenings” means between these two periods, or about 3pm.”36 So it wasn’t until nearly 3pm on the 14th that these lambs were to be slaughtered for the meal that evening.
If this last supper was not the Passover Seder meal, what was it? On this particular night, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper which we observe today. There wasn’t a roasted Passover Lamb present for this meal because Jesus presented himself as the Passover Lamb.37 There was no need for another lamb in the room. His disciples “figuratively ate his body (unleavened bread) and drank his blood (red wine) at their final meal together.”38 This was a special meal, a memorial feast of the new covenant.
Jesus said that, “with fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”39 He longed to be there with them to eat the Passover, but it was not in his Father’s plans. He was sent to suffer the next evening to fulfill prophecy. Thus, he could not celebrate the Passover with them until he celebrates it in the coming kingdom.
As a matter of interest, according to the Essene calendar, Nisan 14 and 15 fell one day earlier than the Jewish calendar and so they observed the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread one day earlier than the Jews. This occurance only happened in A.D. 30, while in other years there was a difference of several days. The Essenes were observing the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread on the same night Jesus had his last supper.40
Jesus was crucified the next afternoon, at the same time the other Passover Lambs were sacrificed.
Jesus’s Discussion With His Disciples
Jesus continues talking to his disciples during the last supper. John is the only gospel writer to record this and does not record the Lord’s Supper. He was also the last of the four writers, so he more than likely discussed the things that were not mentioned in the other three gospel records. See the scriptural references above for the account.
Jesus goes up to Gethsemane to pray before his trial and crucifixion. He asks his disciples to stay awake and pray also, but we see that three times they fell asleep, because it says their eyes were heavy and were very tired. Luke, the physician, records that Jesus’ “sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”41 There has been much debate about whether Luke was making an analogy or whether this was an example of the medical condition, Hematidrosis.
All four accounts record the arrest of Jesus, but only John’s names the man who cut off the high priest’s slave’s right ear and whose ear it was. Peter was the one who drew the sword and struck the slave Malchus’ ear. We hear no more about Malchus in history, but it would be interesting to see if Malchus became a Christian following that event, knowing that his ear had just been severed and miraculously repaired.
Only John’s account speaks of Jesus appearing before Annas, the High Priest Caiaphas’ father-in-law. See the scriptural references above for the account.
See the scriptural references above for the accounts.
It is interesting to note that all three of the people accusing Peter of knowing Jesus were slaves.
“Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself…Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, ‘You are not also one of His disciples, are you?’ He denied it, and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with Him?'”42
See the scriptural references above for the account.
See the scriptural references above for the account.
See the scriptural references above for the accounts.
See the scriptural references above for the accounts.
See the scriptural references above for the accounts.
Jesus went before Pilate on the “day of preparation for the Passover,” early on the morning of the 14th.43 An excerpt from the Talmud reads, “On the eve of Passover Yeshu was hanged.”44 The Bible also states that Jesus hung on a tree.45 The Passover Lamb that had been selected by the High Priest on the 10th and that stood through four days of inspection in the Temple was ready to be sacrificed. Pilate had a tradition of releasing one prisoner for Passover. He offered two men to the crowd to choose from, a man named Barabas, whose name meant “son of the father” or Jesus, who was the “son of THE Father.” The people resoundingly chose Barabas.
Jesus was then led away to the Place of a Skull, called Golgotha in Hebrew.46 At the same time, the Passover Lamb was ready to be bound to the altar. The gospel writers were careful to point out the times that these things happened, for Jesus and the Passover Lamb were sacrificed together. This was the third hour of the day, or about 9am. Jesus was pierced through his hands and feet at the same time the High Priest was laid upon the altar.47
During the Passover time, a sign was hung on each lamb’s neck, with the name of his owner. This made recognition possible due to the 200,000+ lambs in Jerusalem during the feast. Pilate also made a sign for Jesus written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek that read “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.”48 Upon reading this, many of the Jews asked that it be changed for the acrostic (or first letter of each word) that what Pilate wrote in Hebrew was YHWH, the Hebrew name of God.49
For six hours, both waited for death. From noon until 3pm, darkness came upon the earth (more on this in the next section). The lamb was to be killed “between the evenings” or at 3pm. At that time, the High Priest ascended the altar, took his knife and slaughtered the lamb. At the same time Jesus gave up the ghost, crying “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”50 The veil of the Temple tore in two and there was a great earthquake. Tombs were opened and the dead rose and appeared to the people in the city.51
None of the Passover Lamb’s bones were to be broken and neither were Jesus’ as he had already died. The two criminals who were crucified with him had their legs broken to speed up their death through suffocation, since the Passover (and High Sabbath) were approaching.
From noon until 3pm there was darkness over the earth. Some have speculated that this would have been an eclipse. However, this would not have been possible as Passover always took place 14 days after the new moon. The moon would have been bright in the night sky and on the far side of the Earth, making a solar eclipse impossible. Additionally, there was three hours of darkness while Jesus was on the cross while a total solar eclipse only lasts a matter of minutes.52
So what caused the darkness? Another cosmic body (large asteroid) whose oblique orbit came between the sun and Earth and blotted out the light and while emerging from its path, scattered enough light to cause the moon to be cast in a red shadow for the remainder of the night? We can only speculate.
Jesus was taken down from the cross soon after his death as the Sabbath was approaching. “Jewish law stated that a dead body could not be on display after sunset, especially not the Sabbath.”53 He died at 3pm, leaving nearly three hours for his burial to occur. At this point, Mark makes it clear that it was “the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath.”54
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, went before Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body, wrapped him in a linen cloth with a mixture of myrrh and aloes and laid him in the tomb.55 A stone was then rolled in front of the entrance. There wasn’t any time to prepare the body with spices before burial as the Sabbath was near. The women standing nearby prepared the spices, but would have to return on Sunday morning after the Sabbath to finish embalming the body.
Jesus then spent three days and three nights in the grave as he prophesied in Matthew 12:40, “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Read more on this and why this places Jesus’ crucifixion on Thursday.
See the scriptural references above for the account.
The night after Jesus died, the Jews observed the Passover meal, what became known at the traditional Seder meal. The disciples, however, had been scattered as Jesus foretold the night before at the last supper. “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”56 They may have observed it individually, but they were no longer together as a group.
The First Day of Unleavened Bread occurred at the same time as Passover with a six hour overlap. Passover generally ended at midnight at the conclusion of the meal. Now there was a seven day feast the Jews were to observe as told in Exodus.57
There has been much debate about the definition of a High Sabbath. The term is only used is John’s gospel and does not appear anywhere else in the Jewish literature of the day. “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.”58
However, when we look at the gospel of Matthew and Luke, we see a reference to a double Sabbath that has been lost in translation. Matthew 28:1 states that Mary and Mary Magdalene came back after the Sabbaths to look at the grave where Jesus was laid.
The Greek in this passage can be literally translated as:
After the sabbaths, at the dawning into one of the sabbaths…
The word “sabbaton” here in this passage is plural.59 This also happens in Luke’s gospel at an earlier time in Jesus’ ministry and is often overlooked in its meaning. Luke states, “Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first…” This implies then that there were two Sabbaths in one week. How would this be possible? If we look back at the Old Testament, the first day and the seventh day of the feast, the Jews were to have a holy assembly, with no work at all to be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person.60
As the Old Testament attests to, these were special Sabbath days that were in connection with the feasts and the day they fell on varied with the year. As a side note, in A.D. 30, the Passover and Day of Unleavened Bread did not fall on Saturday.
The gospel accounts state that Mary and Mary Magdalene came to the grave to finish the embalming of the body with spices, just as day was dawning. Before they had gotten there Jesus had already been raised.
The day that Jesus rose from the dead was the day the Jews celebrated the Day of the Offering of First Fruits, which always ocurred on the first Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread festival. Even so, Jesus was also called the first fruits, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”61 And again, “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.”62
See the scriptural references above for the accounts.
1 Mock, Robert D., Biblesearchers.com, http://www.biblesearchers.com/hebrews/festivals/passover.shtml#PassoverLamb
2 Burgess, Aaron, Sermoncentral.com, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/the-triumphal-entry-aaron-burgess-sermon-on-easter-palm-sunday-133798.asp?page=2
3 Exodus 12:3
4 Burgess, Aaron, Sermoncentral.com, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/the-triumphal-entry-aaron-burgess-sermon-on-easter-palm-sunday-133798.asp?page=2
5 1 Peter 1:19
6 John 1:29
7 1 Chronicles 9:18
8 Mark 11:9-10
9 Matthew 22:11
10 Psalm 118:19-27
11 McGarvey, J.W., The Four-Fold Gospel, http://christianbookshelf.org/mcgarvey/the_four-fold_gospel/cxvii_preparation_for_passover_disciples.htm
12 Matthew 21:14-16
13 Mark 11:12-14, 20-21
14 Pendley, Rob, CCCGNV, Old Testament & Fig Tree, http://cccpastors.blogspot.com/2009/02/old-testament-fig-tree.html
15 Matthew 3:10
16 Butt, Kyle, Apologetics Press, The Barren Fig Tree, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1956
17 1 Peter 1:19
18 Luke 21:37-38
20 JPH, Tekton, On Women Anointing Jesus In The Bible, http://www.tektonics.org/af/femanoint.html
21 John 12:6
22 Zechariah 11:12-13
23 Mark 14:21
24 The Interlinear NASB-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English pg 148.
25 Exodus 12:18
27 Exodus 12:6, Leviticus 23:6, Numbers 28:17
28 John 13:1
29 John 18:28
30 John 19:14
31 Luke 22:15-16
32 Exodus 12:15
33 The Jewish Feasts of the Lord and the Temple Sacrifices, http://richardwaynegarganta.com/Feasts%20and%20Sacrifices.htm
34 McGarvey, J.W., The Four-Fold Gospel, http://christianbookshelf.org/mcgarvey/the_four-fold_gospel/cxvii_preparation_for_passover_disciples.htm
35 Exodus 12:6
36 Montgomery, Ted, Good Thursday, http://www.tedmontgomery.com/bblovrvw/goodthursday/index.html
37 1 Cor 5:7
38 Montgomery, Ted, Good Thursday, http://www.tedmontgomery.com/bblovrvw/goodthursday/index.html
39 Luke 22:15
40 Harmonization of the Passion Week Gospel Accounts, http://star.wind.mystarband.net/bib/passion_week.html
41 Luke 22:44
42 John 18:17-18, 25-26
43 John 19:14
44 Kirby, Peter, Early Christian Writings, Talmud, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/talmud.html
45 Acts 5:30
46 John 19:17
47 Montgomery, Ted, Good Thursday, http://www.tedmontgomery.com/bblovrvw/goodthursday/index.html
48 John 19:19
49 The Jewish Feasts of the Lord and the Temple Sacrifices, http://richardwaynegarganta.com/Feasts%20and%20Sacrifices.htm
50 Luke 23:46
51 Matthew 27:51-53
52 WikiAnsweres, http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_long_does_an_eclipse_last
53 Cooper, James, It Is Finished, http://www.whyeaster.com/story/death.shtml
54 Mark 15:42
55 John 19:39
56 Matthew 26:31-32
57 Exodus 12:14-20
58 John 19:31
59 Gascoigne, Mike, The Resurrection of Yeshua and the Festivals of Firstfruits,
Part II – Jewish Literature and the Greek New Testament, http://www.annomundi.com/bible/firstfruits2.htm
60 Exodus 12:16
61 1 Cor 15:20
62 1 Cor 15:23