If Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation, why had He already eaten the Passover meal?
QuestionAnswer The Day of Preparation, according to all four Gospels, was the day on which Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14, 31, 42). The gospels of Mark, Luke, and John all mention that the next day was the Sabbath day. When it comes to John’s story, he uses the following phrase: “It was the day of preparation for Passover” (John 19:14). The issue then arises as to why, given that Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation, He had previously observed the Passover with His followers (Matthew 26:17–29; Mark 14:12–25; Luke 22:7–22; John 13:1–30) before his death.
Consider the possibility that all four Gospel writers made mistakes in their chronology.
What if Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all forgot what they had written from one chapter to the next?
No, there has to be a more compelling explanation for why Jesus consumed the Passover meal before the Day of Preparation was observed.
Every week, preparations for the Sabbath had to be made—food had to be prepared in advance of the day’s festivities.
This is made apparent in Mark 15:42.
If John was just referring to the fact that this specific Friday occurred during Passover week, we may interpret his remarks as follows: “It was the day of Preparation, which happened to fall on a Friday that happened to fall during the season of Passover.” As a result, the purpose of the Day of Preparation was to prepare for the Sabbath rather than the Passover.
The Law of Moses must be assumed to have been followed by Jesus, who observed Passover at the allotted time (see Galatians 4:4).
As a matter of course, the Sabbath (Saturday) followed, and then came Sunday, the first day of the week, which was the third day following Jesus’ crucifixion and the day on which he rose from the dead.
By this time, it was early in the morning, and they did not enter the palace in order to prevent ritual uncleanness, since they wanted to be able to enjoy the Passover.” Initially, it appears that, while Jesus had consumed the Passover the night before, the Jewish authorities had not yet consumed the Passover—they “wanted to be able to consume” it after Jesus was arrested—as a result of his arrest.
- We must keep in mind the following in order to harmonize this verse with the Synoptic narratives: Passover was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasted a week.
- The first day of Unleavened Bread fell on the same day as the Jewish holiday of Passover.
- The two holidays were (and continue to be) treated as though they were one festival.
- Although the Jewish authorities had already eaten the Passover seder, there were still more sacrifices to be done and meals to be consumed before the holiday was complete.
- Identifying the precise timing of Jesus’ arrest, trial, execution, and resurrection presents further challenges.
- The lamb is slaughtered, and the Passover dinner is served in the upper room by Jesus and His disciples.
- Jesus is tried and sentenced to death (although never convicted).
Saturday is considered to be the weekly Sabbath. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) In order for Jesus to have been killed on the Day of Preparation, He must have eaten the Passover feast beforehand.
Subscribe to the
Get our Question of the Week emailed to your inbox every weekday morning! Got Questions Ministries is a trademark of Got Questions Ministries, Inc., registered in the state of California in the year 2002. All intellectual property rights are retained. Policy Regarding Personal Information The information on this page was last updated on January 4, 2022.
Gospel Timeline of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
|We have historically celebrated Jesus’ death on Friday because the Gospels placed it the day before a Sabbath. But did you know that Jews celebrated Special ‘Sabbaths’ that did not take place on Saturday?Figuring out when Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples and which day he died on the cross is not easy. Why? First of all, Jews started new days each evening! Our days (in the Gregorian calendar) begin and end in the middle of the night and consider daylight the middle of the day. Jewish days began at dusk with the first half of a day being the dark night and the second half of the day being the daylight. That’s why Genesis 1 says, “there was evening and morning on day one.” That’s also why we get confused about the timeline of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the Gospels.If Jesus actually died on Friday afternoon when we celebrate ‘Good Friday,’ then he would have only been in the grave for 2 nights. But Jesus said he would be in the grave for 3 nights. So either Jesus is wrong (see matthew 12:40), or our holiday is wrong. It’s worth investigating.
Review the visual timeline below that reconciles Jewish days with our Gregorian calendar. Then read the facts that support this timeline for Jesus’ final days. We must explore ancient Jewish expressions, Passover customs, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread to see a clearer picture of when Jesus died and was buried. I’m going to keep it brief so pay attention to every detail and re-read each point as necessary.10 Facts to Get the Timing of Jesus’ DeathResurrection Right
- Preparing for the Jewish holiday of Passover. When did Jesus and his followers share the ‘Last Supper’ together? It is mentioned in Mark 14:12–16, Matthew 26:17–19, and Luke 22:7–13 as occurring on the evening of “the First Day of Unleavened Bread” before the festival of Passover. That does not relate to the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which takes place on Nisan 15-21 in the Jewish calendar, or to Passover, which takes place on Nisan 14 in the Jewish calendar. Rather, the “First Day” was the day before the 8 days of celebration (and before Passover, the 7-day Feast), when Jews abstained from eating any unleavened bread for the duration of the festival. According to the Jewish calendar, it would be Nisan 13 the day before the day of Passover on Nisan 14
- Passover in Jewish Homes. According to Philo of Alexandria’s book on Special Laws (Philo, Special Laws2.148) and Josephus’ book on the Jewish Wars, Jews honored the Passover in two distinct ways during Jesus’ time. The majority of people commemorated Passover in their homes on Wednesday evening, when the Jewish calendar day of Nisan 14 began to be observed. Priests, on the other hand, commemorated Passover by sacrificing theKorban Pesachin in the Temple on Thursday afternoon, when the month of Nisan 14 came to a conclusion with the sunset. When it comes to Passover, Josephus estimates that 250,000 lambs were slain throughout the city of Jerusalem, with just a few thousand lambs being sacrificed in the Temple (see Josephus’ Jewish Wars, Book VI, Chapter 9, Section 3)
- Jesus Ate and Died on Passover The Passover meal was eaten by Jesus and the majority of the people in Jerusalem on Wednesday night (modern calendar) or the first day of Nisan 14 (remember that Jewish calendar days begin at sunset!) before the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Breadon Nisan 15-21, which was also known as Passover Week at the time, began. So it occurred that on one evening, Jesus ate the Passover with his followers, and on the following afternoon, when the major Passover lamb (known as the ‘Korban Pesach’) was slain in the Temple, Jesus was murdered
- Jesus died on Thursday. When the main Passover Lamb in the Temple was slaughtered on Nisan 14 before the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread began with a special Sabbath (Leviticus 23:6-7) on Nisan 15 (Thursday evening on our modern calendars), Jesus was killed on Thursday afternoon (modern time)
- The Gospels Use Different Clocks. The Synoptic Gospels place Jesus’ crucifixion ‘at the sixth hour’ (Matt 27:45
- Mark 15:33
- Luke 23:34), yet the Gospel of John places Jesus before Pilate ‘at the sixth hour’ (John 18:1). (John 19:14). There is no conflict since John used Roman time for his audience in Roman Asia Minor (which meant 6 a.m. for the trial-the 6th hour after midnight), but the Synoptic Gospels all used Jewish time (which means 6 a.m. for the trial-the 6th hour after midnight) (thereby meaning Jesus was crucified at noon-the 6th hour after sunrise). Remember that the Gospels changed the contents of each tale to suit the needs of different audiences
- There were special Sabbaths. The week in which Jesus died included two Sabbaths, as well as a special ‘high sabbath’ on Friday. As stated in Leviticus 23, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which happened on Nisan 15, was a particularly high Sabbath, regardless of what day of the week it fell on. Consequently, both Friday (Nisan 15) and Saturday (Nisan 16) were Sabbath days during the week in which Christ died. The first holy Sabbath of the week Jesus died began in the evening, immediately following Jesus’ hasty burial in the garden tomb of Joseph of Arimethea, which took place the next day (Thursday evening in modern calendars, or the beginning of Nisan 15 in Jewish calendars which would be a Jewish Friday). The “special Sabbath” that took place on Friday following Jesus’ burial is described in detail in John 19:31. Burial Prior to the Observance of the Holy Day. The Jewish rulers wanted Jesus tried, murdered, and buried before this unique high Sabbath described in John 19:14, 31:42, and elsewhere in the New Testament (see also Matthew 26:62). “The Day of Preparation,” or better translated “Sabbath Eve,” is mentioned in both Luke 23:54 and Mark 15:42, which would be Thursday afternoon in our calendars before the unique Friday Sabbath, which began at sundown on Thursday evening (in our Gregorian calendars). Resurrection Following both Sabbaths. Women found the empty tomb on Sunday morning, just after the 2nd Sabbath had come to a close. The Sabbath was observed on Saturday night and day, which corresponded to the 16th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. Jesus’ death on Thursday afternoon and resurrection on Sunday morning were separated by three nights, which is referred to as the “Three Nights in the Grave.” Matthew 28:1 uses the plural “Sabbaths” to make it clear that the special Friday Sabbath and normal Saturday Sabbath had occurred during the three nights between Jesus’ death on Thursday afternoon and resurrection on Sunday morning. It is consistent with Jesus’ prophesy that he would die on Thursday afternoon (modern time) or at the end of Nisan 14 (on the Jewish calendar) and rise on Sunday morning: In the same way that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, according to Jesus (Matthew 12:40)
- Resurrection on the Feast of the Firstfruits. The Sadducees who dominated the Temple in Jesus’ day celebrated the Festival of the Firstfruits on Sunday following the customary weekly Saturday Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So Jesus resurrected on the day of the Firstfruits, and Paul explains the theological implications in 1 Corinthians 15. Jesus was the first of many such resurrections to follow
Passover preparations are underway. The ‘Last Supper’ was eaten by Jesus and his followers on what day and at what location? It is mentioned in Mark 14:12–16, Matthew 26:17–19, and Luke 22:7–13 as occurring on the evening of “the First Day of Unleavened Bread” before Passover, according to the Bible. That does not relate to the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which takes place on Nisan 15-21 in the Jewish calendar, or to Passover, which takes place on Nisan 14 in the Christian calendar.
According to the Jewish calendar, it would be Nisan 13 the day before Passover on Nisan 14; Passover in Jewish Homes.
A large number of individuals commemorated Passover in their homes on Wednesday evening, as the Jewish calendar day of Nisan 14 got underway.
On Passover, Josephus estimates that 250,000 lambs were slain in the city of Jerusalem, with just a few thousand being sacrificed in the Temple (seeJosephus, Jewish Wars, Book VI, Chapter 9, Section 3); Jesus Ate And Died On Passover At the time of Jesus’ death, most of the people in Jerusalem ate the Passover meal on Wednesday night (modern calendar) or the first day of Nisan 14 (remember that Jewish calendar days begin at sunset!) before the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Breadon Nisan 15-21, which was also known as Passover Week at that time.
- So it occurred that on one evening, Jesus ate the Passover with his followers, and on the following afternoon, when the major Passover lamb (known as the ‘Korban Pesach’) was slain in the Temple, Jesus was murdered; he died on Thursday.
- (John 19:14).
- for the trial, which was the 6th hour after midnight), but the Synoptic Gospels all used Jewish time (which means 6 a.m.
- Remember that the Gospels changed the contents of each tale to suit the needs of different audiences; they also observed special days.
- Because the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread happened on Nisan 15, according to Leviticus 23, the entire day was a particularly high Sabbath, regardless of whatever day of the week it fell on.
- During the week that Jesus died, the first holy Sabbath began in the evening, immediately following Jesus’ hasty burial in the garden tomb of Joseph of Arimethea (Thursday evening in modern calendars, or the beginning of Nisan 15 in Jewish calendars which would be a Jewish Friday).
- Before the Special Sabbath, a burial service is held John 19:14, 31 and 42 state that the Jewish rulers wanted Jesus tried, crucified, and buried before this holy high Sabbath (see also Matthew 26:62).
- Resurrection The following day after both Sabbaths Sunday morning, after the 2nd Sabbath had finished, a group of women came across the empty tomb and reported it.
Matthew 28:1 employs the plural “Sabbaths” to make it clear that the special Friday Sabbath and the regular Saturday Sabbath took place during the three nights between Jesus’ death on Thursday afternoon and resurrection on Sunday morning; the three nights in the grave were referred to as the “Three Nights in the Grave.” It is consistent with Jesus’ prophesy that he would die on Thursday afternoon (today time) or at the end of Nisan 14 (on the Jewish calendar) and rise on Sunday morning.
According to Jesus, “For just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” (Matthew 12:40); Resurrection on the Feast of the Firstfruits.
As a result, Jesus resurrected from the dead on the Feast of the Firstfruits, and the apostle Paul discusses the theological implications of this event in 1 Corinthians 15. Jesus’ resurrection was the first of many more to come in the future.
Leave a Reply.
In our book, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, Justin Taylor and I make an educated guess as to the date of Jesus’ crucifixion, but we do not argue for or against it. For a variety of factors, virtually all academics think that Jesus was executed in the spring of either AD 30 or AD 33, with the majority preferring the former. As a result of the astronomical data, the alternatives are reduced to AD 27, 30, 33, or 34). However, we would want to present our case for the date of Friday, April 3, AD 33, as the precise day on which Christ died in our place as atonement for our sins.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of understanding or importance.
No one makes this argument more forcefully than Luke, the Gentile physician who became a historian and inspired recorder of early Christianity.
The Year John the Baptist’s Ministry Began
In Luke’s account, John the Baptist began his public ministry soon before Jesus did, and the author provides us with a historical reference point for when the Baptist’s ministry began: “in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign.” (See Luke 3:16). It is known from ancient Roman history that Tiberius succeeded Augustus as emperor on August 19, AD 14 and was approved by the Roman Senate on the same day. He reigned until the year AD 37. “The fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign” appears to be a straightforward date, but there are some ambiguities, beginning with when one begins the calculation.
Most likely, Tiberius’ reign was measured from the day he assumed office in AD 14 or from the first day of January of the following year, AD 15 (whichever came first).
So John the Baptist’s ministry began anywhere between the middle of AD 28 and the beginning of AD 29.
The Year Jesus’s Ministry Began
In Luke’s account, John the Baptist began his public ministry soon before Jesus did, and the author provides us with a historical reference point for when the Baptist’s ministry began: “In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.,” he writes. In the book of Luke, the author says, It is known from ancient Roman history that Tiberius succeeded Augustus as emperor on August 19, AD 14 and was ratified by the Roman Senate a few days later. A.D. 37 was the last year of his reign. There are some uncertainties in what seems to be a basic date, beginning with when one begins the calculation.
Depending on who you ask, Tiberius’ rule was most likely counted from the day he assumed office in AD 14 or from January 1 the following year, AD 15.
The ministry of John the Baptist might have started somewhere between the middle of AD 28 and the beginning of AD 29, depending on the source.
The Length of Jesus’s Ministry
To determine how long Jesus’ public ministry lasted, we must first determine how long Jesus’ public ministry lasted. If Jesus’ public ministry lasted two or more years, it appears that the spring of AD 30 cannot be considered as a plausible date for the crucifixion. The Gospel of John records that Jesus attended at least three (perhaps four) Passovers, which were held once a year in the spring and were as follows:
- In Jerusalem, at the beginning of his public ministry (John 2:13–23)
- In Galilee, during the midpoint of his public career (John 6:4)
- And in Bethlehem, at the end of his public ministry (John 6:4). In Jerusalem, at the conclusion of his public ministry, that is, at the time of his crucifixion (John 11:55
- 12:1), there was a final Passover celebration. And it’s possible that Jesus attended another Passover that wasn’t reported in the Gospel of John, but was documented in one or more of the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, and Luke)
In Jerusalem, at the beginning of his public ministry (John 2:13–23); in Galilee, during the midpoint of his public career (John 6:4); and in Bethlehem, at the end of his public ministry (John 6:7). During Jesus’ public career, at the time of his execution (John 11:55; 12:1), the city of Jerusalem celebrated a final Passover. In addition, Jesus may have participated in one or more other Passovers that are not documented in the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, and Luke), but are reported in one or more of the other Synoptic Gospels.
|Nisan 15||AD 30||John 2:13|
|Nisan 15||AD 31||Either the unnamed feast in John 5:1 or else a Passover that John does not mention (but that may be implied in the Synoptics)|
|Nisan 15||AD 32||John 6:4|
|Nisan 15||AD 33||John 11:55, the Passover at which Jesus was crucified|
Jesus Was Crucified on the Day of Preparation for the Passover
It is also mentioned by the apostle John that Jesus was crucified on “the day of Preparation” (John 19:31), which corresponds to the Friday before the Sabbath of the Passover week (Mark 15:42). Earlier in the day, on Thursday evening, Jesus had a Passover meal with the Twelve (Mark 14:12), which is referred to as his “Last Supper.” Passover always falls on the fifteenth day of Nisan (Exodus 12:6), according to the Pharisaic-rabbinic calendar that was generally used in Jesus’ day. According to this calendar, Passover begins on Thursday after sundown and finishes on Friday after nightfall.
33, the year in which the crucifixion is most likely to have occurred, the most likely date for Jesus’ crucifixion is April 3 in the year a.d.
Accordingly, we created the following chart in The Final Days of Jesus to indicate the dates for Jesus’ final week in the year a.d.
|April 2||Nissan 14||Thursday (Wednesday nightfall to Thursday nightfall)||Day of Passover preparation||Last Supper|
|April 3||Nissan 15||Friday (Thursday nightfall to Friday nightfall)||Passover; Feast of Unleavened Bread, begins||Crucifixion|
|April 4||Nissan 16||Saturday (Friday nightfall to Saturday nightfall)||Sabbath|
|April 5||Nissan 17||Sunday (Saturday nightfall to Sunday nightfall)||First day of the week||Resurrection|
The computations in the preceding section may look difficult, but in a nutshell, the reasoning goes as follows:
|Beginning of Tiberius’s reign||AD 14|
|Fifteenth year of Tiberius’s reign:Beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry||AD 28|
|A few months later:Beginning of Jesus’s ministry||AD 29|
|Minimum three-year duration of Jesus’ ministry:Most likely date of Jesus’s crucifixion||AD 33 (April 3)|
While this is, in our opinion, the most plausible scenario, it should be noted that many people think Jesus was killed in the year AD 30, rather than the year AD 33, as we have said. If, on the other hand, the beginning of Tiberius’ rule is set at the year AD 14, it becomes nearly difficult to fit fifteen years of Tiberius’ reign and three years of Jesus’ ministry between AD 14 and AD 30, as is the case. As a result, some have speculated that Tiberius and Augustus shared co-regency (combined rule) during the last few years of Augustus’ reign.
As a result, we believe that Jesus was most likely crucified on April 3, AD 33, as previously stated.
Because of this, when we celebrate Easter and walk with Jesus every day of the year, we may be certain that our faith is founded not just on subjective personal confidence, but also on solid historical evidence, which makes our faith a perfectly rational faith.
Crossway’s executive vice president and publisher for books, Justin Taylor, holds this position. Andreas Köstenberger and he have written a book together called The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week in the Life of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Crossway, 2014).
Question:Do you have any comments on the seeming conflict between John’s account of Jesus being crucified on the eve of Passover and the other gospels’ accounts of Jesus being crucified on Passover itself? Answer:This is a difficult question to answer completely. There can be no question that Jesus was killed on the eve of the Passover, as John informs us in his gospel. In addition, it was the day before a Sabbath. The Jews observed different Sabbaths than the rest of the world (note the wording in Colossians 2:16 where he says “a” Sabbath, not “the” Sabbath, because there were different Sabbaths).
- This is the source of any conceivable misunderstanding.
- I feel that all of the evidence points to Jesus being crucified on the day before the Passover, and I believe that this is correct.
- Some people interpret the language to mean that Jesus was killed on a Thursday rather than a Friday, which is incorrect.
- Although the crucifixion would still take place on the eve of the Jewish New Year, it would take place on the day before a Sabbath, rather than on a Saturday Sabbath.
- Important for type/antitype reasons is that Jesus was crucified on the eve of Passover, and that the dinner that was celebrated, which we now know as the Last Supper, was really the Jewish seder/preparation meal for the holiday.
- The year Jesus was crucified would be determined by whether the crucifixion took place on a Thursday or a Friday.
- Christian doctrine does not require that we know the year or whatever day of the week it is, and so the question of when it is is unimportant.
- To be quite honest, I’m not sure if I’m expected to convey my thoughts on whether it was Thursday or Friday.
The tradition dates back long enough in time that I am inclined to believe that the early church was correct in its assessment. If this is correct, it would appear that Jesus was crucified about the year AD 30. John Oakes is a writer and poet.
Timing of Jesus’ Death
There is a plethora of evidence, both in Scripture and in Jewish religious customs, indicating God meticulously orchestrated the date of Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross. Listed below are only a few examples of God’s meticulous planning: Prophecies When Jesus died, the prophecies that had been made hundreds of years before his birth were exactly realized. Lamb for the Passover Seder The ritual of the high priest of slaughtering the Passover lamb had been in place for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years at this point.
- At the same time, Jesus, the Lamb of God, died in order to bear the punishment for our sins on his own shoulders.
- In the year that Jesus died, Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, was also the day on which the Jews observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was observed on the first day of the month of Nissan.
- Consider some of the striking connections that exist between this feast and Jesus’ death.
- To be able to complete his ministry and be raised to new life, Jesus also had to be killed and buried before he could be raised to new life.
- The Feast of the Firstfruits is celebrated every year on November 1.
- The Israelites returned to God the “first portion” of all they had been given in order to express their gratitude for the harvest, their acceptance that God had provided them with the gifts, and their confidence that God would continue to care for them in the future (Num.
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)
At approximately the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, yielding His spirit to the Father. — Matthew 27:46, and Matthew 27:50 Certain issues occur on a frequent basis among the established teachings of the church of God, questions that, if not addressed correctly, might lead individuals away from God and away from the rest of the Body of Christ. One of the most often asked issues is when the holiday of Passover should be celebrated. According to tradition, the church of God observes the Passover right after sunset on the 14th day of Abib, which corresponds to the time specified in Exodus 12:1-14.
According to scripture, however, Jesus Christ was not sacrificed at that time—His trial and crucifixion took place during the daylight portion of the 14th, and He died at 3:00 pm on the preparation day for the first day of Unleavened Bread on the 15th (Matthew 27:45-50;Mark 15:33-37;Luke 23:44-46;John 19:30-31).
- Should His death, on the other hand, serve as a model for how to interpret the commandments provided to Israel?
- In honoring Passover, which of His deeds should we follow as a guideline: the time when He observededit or the time when He died?
- Whenever the moment of Jesus’ death is prioritized above all else, the outcome is typically a shift in the timing of the Passover celebration from the beginning of the 14 thday of Abib, just after sunset, to the afternoon of the 14 thor even into the 15th.
- Considering that the moment of Christ’s death corresponds with the proper period for observing the Passover, what is the significance of His sharing the bread, wine, and footwashing with the disciples the night before?
In Matthew 26:17-19, for example, there is a discussion between Jesus and His followers concerning where they should keep the Passover: The disciples came to Jesus on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and asked Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He told them, “Go into the city to a particular man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with My followers.”‘” And they did.
- As a result, the disciples carried out Jesus’ instructions and prepared for the Passover meal.
- Our article, “Is Passover on the First Day of Unleavened Bread?” explains how to overcome this dilemma.
- That particular man’s home was where the Son of Man intended to spend the Passover with His disciples, according to His proclaimed intention and plan.
- At the time of His crucifixion, however, He was not at any man’s house, nor was He with His disciples—they had all fled!—so it seems unlikely that He or they observed the Passover at that time.
- The Messiah’s words have meaning for us, and we may be certain that His desire was carried out and that the supper He shared with His followers, which included the bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-29), was the Passover.
Tell the lord of the house whenever he enters, “The Teacher has asked, “Where is the guest room in which I may enjoy the Passover with My disciples?”‘ He will then show you a spacious upstairs room that has been equipped and arranged; there, make preparations for us.” So His disciples went out and entered the city, where they discovered everything exactly as He had described it to them; and they prepared the Passover.
- He arrived in the evening with the other twelve.
- Mark, on the other hand, emphasizes the fact that He intended to enjoy the Passover with His followers on the same date, rather than merely making preparations.
- Was our Messiah serious when He stated what He said?
- Jesus’ inability to follow through on his words suggests that either the sovereign God’s will has been frustrated or that He has deceived the public by saying one thing while wanting to do another.
Peter and John were dispatched by the Lord, who instructed them to “go and prepare the Passover for us so that we may eat.” As a result, they approached Him and said, “Where do You want us to prepare?” Moreover, He instructed them as follows: “Behold, when you approach the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; proceed with him to the home into which he enters.” It is your responsibility to inform your host, “The Teacher has instructed you to locate the guest room where I may dine with My followers during the Passover celebration.” Then he will lead you to a huge, well-furnished top room, where you should make yourself comfortable.” As a result, they went and found everything just as He had instructed them, and they prepared for the Passover meal.
- When the time had arrived, He and the twelve apostles took their places at the table.
- Toward the end of verse 15, He expresses how much He want to have that Passover meal with them.
- In his speech, he focused on what He was doing at the time, rather than what He would be doing later on the 14th.
- At “the third hour” (Mark 15:25), which was about nine o’clock the next morning, his crucifixion started, and it finished after “the ninth hour” (Mark 15:26).
- Jesus was well aware of the upcoming Passover celebration and “with intense desiredesired” to have the meal with His disciples before He was crucified.
- After the 14th had begun, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that He did indeed eat the Passover with his followers that evening, prior to his arrest later that night and the beginning of His harrowing ordeal the next morning.
- Hebrews provides clarification.
In order to see how this is possible, we must read the following passage from Hebrews 9:19-26 (Phillips’ Translation): After all, when Moses had finished telling the people about every commandment of the Law, he took calves’ and goats’ blood, mixed it with water and scarlet wool, and sprinkled it over both the book and the people, declaring, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commands you.” Moses also sprinkled blood on the tent itself, as well as on all of the sacred utensils in the camp.
And you will discover that, according to the Law, practically all purification is accomplished by the spilling of blood—as the popular adage goes, “No shedding of blood, no remission of sin.” It was essential for the earthly replicas of heavenly realities to be purified via such means, but the genuine heavenly things could only be rendered pure in God’s eyes through greater sacrifices than those required for the purification of the earthly reproductions.
- As a result, Christ did not enter any holy sanctuaries constructed by human hands (although accurately they may portray heavenly realities), but rather he entered Heaven itself to appear before God in the capacity of High Priest on our behalf.
- For if he did, it would imply that he would have to die every time he visited Heaven, starting from the beginning of time!
- This passage contains a couple of points that will be beneficial to us.
- While the instructions given in the Pentateuch regarding these things are unquestionably significant in their own right (particularly the Passover instructions), they also lead to something far more substantial than they are in themselves.
- As a second point, Jesus properly fulfilled all of the spiritual criteria that formed the foundation for these bodily rites.
- The Father and the Son determined what had to take place in order to fulfill the spiritual prerequisites.
- Everything in the sacrificial system that was important to God’s design and His sense of justice has been completed in accordance with His will.
Among other things, the Israelites were required to offer a morning sacrifice and a nighttime sacrifice.
The fact remains that He was not crucified in the morning or in the evening, when those offerings were intended to be offered up.
He was also not executed on the first of the month, when other exceptional sacrifices were performed.
Only after that was the high priest permitted to enter the Holy of Holies.
However, Christ’s sacrifice is represented in the verse above using imagery associated with the Day of Atonement rather than the Passover.
None of the altars, least of all the Mercy Seat, ever had his blood sprinkled on them.
He entered the celestial Temple, but if He did so when He ascended to the Father, He did not do so even on the Day of Atonement, indicating that He did not do so then.
Rather, the instructions He gave them were just prototypes of the things He would eventually accomplish via His life, crucifixion, and death on the cross.
He shared the meal with His followers on the 14th day of the first month, at the start of the first month’s 14th day.
The act of washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17) served as a model of humble service as well as forgiveness for others, because cleansing is a symbol of forgiveness.
In spite of this, some of the original Passover instructions were not followed to the letter!
However, rather than being roasted in the fire as our Passover Lamb, Jesus was crucified on the cross (Exodus 12:8).
His blood had not been collected in a basin, nor had it been smeared on any doorpost (see verse 7).
So, did Jesus satisfy the requirements of the Passover?
However, He completed it in accordance with requirements that were distinct from those He provided to a carnal people.
In the middle of the night on the 14th, He instructed His followers to partake of the bread and wine “in memory of Me.” The Corinthians are instructed to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” as a result of Paul’s reflections on that night (I Corinthians 11:26).
The death of the Lamb was foreordained from the beginning of time, according to Scripture (Revelation 13:8).
Only once did Jesus die in order to satisfy all of the sacrificial requirements, including those for the Passover, the Day of Atonement, and the other holy days offerings, the Sabbath, and the New Moon—His one sacrifice met all of the requirements.
So, what was it about that specific day and hour that our heavenly Father and His firstborn Son chose? The answer will be revealed in Part Two of this article.
Time of Jesus’ crucifixion in relation to the Passover
At about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, releasing His spirit from the tomb. — Matthew 27:46, and Matthew 50:20 Certain questions arise frequently among the established doctrines of the church of God, questions that, if not answered correctly, can lead people away from God and away from the rest of the Body of Christ. Another question that comes up time and time again is about the proper timing of Passover celebrations in Israel. Historical practice has been to observe the Passover just after sunset on the 14th day of Abib, as instructed in Exodus 12:1-14, as the 14th day of Abib officially begins (see alsoLeviticus 23:4-5;Numbers 9:2-5).
As our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7), why did His death not take place at the time that Passover lambs were supposed to be slaughtered—at the start of the 14th day of the week?
To further complicate matters, the gospel accounts depict Jesus and His disciples celebrating the Passover at the start of the 14th month.
Moreover, why are those events taking place at different times of the year?
” I Will Keep the Passover” Those who make this change will also have to come up with a different explanation for why the Israelites slaughtered the lambs and later fled Egypt, which will almost always entail drawing on Jewish tradition for support—for those Jewish sects that adhere to Talmudic traditions encourage this divergent viewpoint.
- Some believe that it was a sort of pre-memorial dinner rather than the actual Passover meal, but the gospel accounts contradict this theory completely.
- It is our intention to use italics throughout.) (Verse 17 states that this occurred “on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,” which can be difficult to understand.) Both Mark’s and Luke’s versions of the story use similar language.
- In Jesus’ words, there is no room for ambivalence.
- The fact that He was aware of the fact that he would be betrayed and crucified did not prevent God in the flesh from announcing with complete certainty that He would be celebrating the Passover with His disciples in that house.
- Isaiah 55:11 asks whether Jesus’ words came back to him empty.
- Several noteworthy additions are made to Matthew’s testimony in Mark’s account, which includes: “Where do You want us to go and prepare so that You can eat the Passover?” His disciples asked Him on the first day of Unleavened Bread, after they had killed the Passover lamb.
- So His disciples went out and entered the city, where they discovered everything exactly as He had described it to them; and they prepared the Passover meal for the people.
(See Mark 14:12-17 for more information).
On the other hand, Mark points out that He intended to eat the Passover with His disciples on the same occasion, rather than simply making preparations.
Were the words spoken by our Messiah truly sincere?
Jesus’ inability to follow through on his words means that either the sovereign God’s will has been frustrated or that He has deceived the people by saying one thing while intending to do another.
A third eyewitness to this occurrence is provided by Luke: Finally, it came to Passover, which meant that the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed on the Day of Unleavened Bread.
Moreover, He instructed them as follows: “Behold, when you enter the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; proceed with him to the house into which he enters.
In order to prepare the Passover, they went out and found it exactly as He had told them to.
When He finished speaking, He said to them, “I have longed to share this Passover with you before I go to the cross; for I tell you, I will not eat of this Passover until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Jesus’ teachings on the subject are found in Luke 22:7-16.
Toward the end of verse 15, He expresses how much He wished to share that Passover meal with the disciples.
In his remarks, he focused on what He was doing at the time, rather than what He would be doing later on the 14th.
At “the third hour” (Mark 15:25), which was approximately nine o’clock the following morning, his crucifixion began, and it concluded after “the ninth hour” (Mark 15:26).
In all likelihood, Jesus was aware of the upcoming Passover celebration and “with fervent desiredesired” to share the meal with His disciples before He was betrayed and executed.
After the 14th had begun, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that He did indeed eat the Passover with his disciples that evening, prior to his arrest later that night and the beginning of His harrowing ordeal the next morning.
Hebrews offers clarification.
We must consider the following passages from Hebrews 9:19-26 (Phillips’ Translation) in order to comprehend how this could be the case.
And you will see that practically all cleaning in the Law is accomplished via the spilling of blood—as the popular phrase goes, “No shedding of blood, no remission of sin.” The purification of earthly replicas of heavenly realities was necessitated by such techniques, but the purification of heavenly realities in God’s eyes could only be accomplished via greater sacrifices than those required for earthly replicas.
- As a result, Christ did not enter any holy sanctuaries constructed by human hands (although accurately they may portray heavenly realities), but rather he entered Heaven itself to appear before God in the capacity of High Priest on our behalf.
- For if he did, it would imply that he would have to die every time he reached Heaven, starting from the beginning of time.
- Several important points are contained inside this text.
- While the instructions given in the Pentateuch regarding these things are unquestionably significant in their own right (particularly the Passover instructions), they also lead to something far more substantial than they are themselves.
- As a second point, Jesus properly met all of the spiritual prerequisites that formed the foundation for these bodily rites.
- The Father and the Son determined what had to take place in order to satisfy the spiritual prerequisites.
- God’s design and sense of justice had been realized in every aspect of the sacrifice system that had any significance.
Among other things, the Israelites were expected to offer a dawn sacrifice and a night time sacrifice.
When it came to the time of the offerings, He was crucified neither in the morning nor in the evening, as was customary.
Furthermore, He was not murdered on the first of the month, when other special sacrifices were offered.
The high priest could only enter the Holy of Holies after this.
However, Christ’s sacrifice is represented in the text above using imagery associated with the Day of Atonement rather than with the Passover feast day.
None of the altars, let alone the Mercy Seat, had his blood sprinkled on them.
When He ascended to the Father, He entered the celestial Temple, but He did not do so on the Day of Atonement, even though He done so on the previous day.
Rather, the instructions He gave them were just prototypes for the things He would eventually accomplish via His life, crucifixion, and death on the cross.
His followers and He had a meal at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month, marking the beginning of the Passover.
The act of washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17) served as a model of humble service as well as forgiveness toward others, because cleanliness is a metaphor of forgiveness.
In spite of this, several of the original Passover instructions were not carried out to the letter.
However, rather than being roasted in the fire as our Passover lamb, Jesus was crucified on the cross (Exodus 12:8).
Neither a basin of blood nor a smear of blood on any doorpost could be seen on his body (see verse 7).
Is it true that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Passover?
However, He completed it in accordance with conditions that were distinct from those He provided to a carnal society.
“In remembrance of Me” was what He said as He instructed people to partake of the bread and wine on the 14th.
Although He served as the Passover Lamb, His killing did not take place until the next afternoon, and the time of His death was significant for far more than this.
Not by chance, but on purpose, the timing called our attention to a significant event in the world.
However, the date and hour of His crucifixion do not coincide with any religious holiday or with any sacrifice that God had ordered Israel to offer up.
Consequently, what led to the choice of that particular day and hour by our heavenly Father and His firstborn Son remains unclear. The solution will be revealed in the second part of this article.
When Was the Last Supper? The Moon May Have the Answer
On October 27, 2004, a lunar eclipse was photographed near Niles, Michigan, by Craig Lent of South Bend, Indiana. written by Sean Connolly Photographs courtesy of Craig Lent THE DAY OF PREPARATION FOR THE PASSOVER HAD COME, AND IT WAS AROUND NOON.” (See also John 19:14.) His disciples asked him, on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was slain, “Where do you want us to go and make the arrangements for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” (Matthew 14:12) Reading the four Gospels and paying close attention to the sequence of events during the week of Jesus’ crucifixion may lead you to a solution to the mystery.
- Although the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all imply that the Last Supper was a Passover supper, the gospel of John claims that Jesus was crucified the day before the Passover.
- Colin Humphreys, a physicist and metallurgist at the University of Cambridge, explores this mystery in his book, The Mystery of the Last Supper: A Scientific Investigation (2011).
- His book is a quick read that reads a little like a detective novel.
- PINPOINTING THE DATE OF JESUS’ DEATH, WITH THE DAY, THE MONTH, AND THE YEAR AS PART OF HUMPHREYS’ STARTING POINT Because Jesus died on a Friday, according to all four Gospels, the day is rather simple.
- So, according to John, Jesus died on the eve of Passover, on Nisan 14, the day before his resurrection.
- (Remember that Jewish days run from sunset to sunset, thus the Last Supper and the crucifixion may have occurred on the same day if they occurred after sundown.) Getting the year started on the right foot is more difficult.
- He goes to astronomy in order to narrow his focus even further.
“The priests of the temple in Jerusalem had a squad of men who, once a month, went out in search of the new crescent moon,” Humphreys explains.
Is it conceivable to turn the lunar clock backward and estimate when Nisan 14 or Nisan 15 would have occurred within the desired era, given that Jewish dates are established by the moon?
The sighting of the crescent moon signaled the beginning of a Jewish month.
In 1981, Humphreys collaborated with Oxford astronomer Graeme Waddington to investigate whether they could include these observable elements into computer simulations of astronomical phenomena.
“These calculations are consistent with over one thousand documented sightings of new moons and provide the correct answer every time,” Humphreys claims.
Through the use of data from the Gospels and evidence from Roman historians, Humphreys is able to rule out the years 27 and 34 from consideration.
This leaves just the year 33 as an option.
Humphreys then goes on to affirm the date in a different manner than before.
the sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood.” On the day of Pentecost, some historians believe that rather than forecasting future events, Peter was asserting that these signs had actually occurred at the time of the event.
Bruce writes, “ittle more than seven weeks earlier, the people of Jerusalem had indeed witnessed the darkening of the sun, which occurred during the early afternoon of Good Friday; and later in the afternoon, the paschal full moon may well have appeared blood red in the sky as a result of that preternatural gloom.” The expression “blood moon” was used in the ancient world to describe a sort of lunar eclipse that happens when the moon is in the shadow of the earth, causing the moon to seem a deep, bloodlike crimson.
- If you were paying attention, you might have spotted the “blood moon” that emerged in the sky around Passover in 2014.
- In the end, only one date was returned by Waddington: Friday, April 3, AD 33!
- The implications of these conclusions are intriguing, but Humphreys will have to provide further explanation.
- Humphreys proposes his primary hypothesis, which is that John was writing his Gospels on a different calendar than the other Gospel writers.
- Few people realize that Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to determine when Christmas and Easter fall, whereas Western Christians use the more commonly used Gregorian calendar.
- The names of the Jewish months, as well as the day that runs from sunset to sunset, are derived from the Babylonian calendar.
- This is a tough topic to answer historically, but there is a hint in Exodus 12:1-2, where God instructs Moses on when the new year should begin to be observed.
The Egyptian lunar calendar counted its days from dawn to sunrise, and it had a total of 365 days.
Pre-exilic calendars would have dictated that the Jews would have slaughtered the Passover lamb and had the Passover meal on the same day, Nisan 14.
As might be expected, a significant alteration in the calendar would have sparked considerable debate, and Humphreys cites some Jewish writers who argued that the official Jewish calendar was incorrect concerning when the important feasts should be observed.
ENTER SAMARITANS, a group that, according to many experts, resided in Israel before the exile, a community that continues to observe an old calendar that they claim dates back to Moses, and a group that is still active today.
This is the exact same method used by the ancient Egyptians to determine the beginning of their months.
If this assumption is correct, it would imply that the Samaritan calendar and the preexilic Jewish calendar would have been identical in terms of dates and times.
Was Jesus adhering to a calendar that was different from the norm?
According to Mark, the Passover lamb was sacrificed on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which coincided with the celebration of the Passover holiday.
In contrast, if Jesus was celebrating the Passover on Nisan 14, and was using a calendar that runs from sunrise to sunrise, then Mark’s sentence makes sense to me.
Humphreys notices another concealed hint in the “guy carrying a jar of water” who was supposed to accompany the disciples to the upper room, and he deduces that the man was Jesus (Lk.
The majority of Jewish males did not carry water jars, but the Essene men did.
The official calendar has Nisan 14 falling on a Friday in the year 33, however according to the preexilic calendar, Nisan 14 would have fallen on a Saturday in the year 33.
As a matter of fact, there is no clear mention in the Gospels of Jesus and his followers eating the Last Supper on a Thursday night.
For centuries, scholars have pondered how Jesus was able to eat the Last Supper on Thursday night, pray in the Garden, be arrested, appear for questioning before Annas, appear before Caiphas and the Sanhedrin for a lengthy trial, appear before Pilate, appear before Herod, and again appear before Pilate all by Friday morning, the day before he was executed on the cross.
In order to conclude his book, HUMPHREYS points out the symbolism that is in play if his conclusions are correct: In keeping with the preexilic calendar, Jesus celebrated his Last Supper as a true Passover feast on the precise date of the first Passover, as stated in the book of Exodus, so distinguishing himself as a new Moses, creating a new covenant, and bringing God’s people out of slavery.” According to the traditional Jewish calendar, Jesus died at around 3 p.m.
on Nisan 14, during the time when Passover lambs were sacrificed, and therefore became associated with the Passover sacrifice.” I’m curious what other academics think of Humphreys’s conclusions.
Bond writes in a 2013 article for the University of Edinburgh, while accepting the astronomical calculations of Humphreys and Waddington, she does not believe that Jesus had to die on either Nisan 14 or 15, and as a result, she comes up with a different, less precise date for his death.
The conclusion that the Last Supper took place on a Wednesday is accepted by King, but the historian points out that Humphreys does not provide any evidence for some of his other conclusions, which are based solely on circumstantial evidence.
Wright argues in his bookJesus and the Victory of God(1997) that the Last Supper was not a traditional Passover dinner eaten with a lamb, but rather a highly symbolic “quasi-Passover.” As a result, he believes that Jesus and his followers celebrated the Passover before the date on the official calendar, which is compatible with the conclusions reached by Humphreys.
The president did not go so far as to urge that Christians shift their Holy Thursday festivities forward by a day, as others have suggested.
Is that anything that will ever happen? Only time will tell, but in the meanwhile, you may read Humphreys’s book and come to your own conclusions on the situation.