It was now Tuesday, as the “first of the unleaveneds” was drawing closer, when the disciples asked Jesus, “Where will we keep the Passover?”
This day was called the “first of the unleaveneds”, because it was the day that people put the last of their leavened bread out of their homes in preparation to keep the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
They knew Jesus always kept the Passover after sunset at the beginning of the 14th Abib as He had done in each of the previous years with His disciples. (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7, John 13:1)
This was the same evening time that Moses and the Israelites had kept Passover as God had commanded them to do in Egypt, to kill and roast the lamb in their homes and not at a central public altar, as the Pharisees would do the following day at the Temple. (Exodus 12:3-14)
The Pharisees followed the custom of Kings Hezekiah and Josiah “by commandment of the king” in keeping the Passover at the Temple on the afternoon of 14th Abib up into the beginning of 15th Abib. This was a Temple Passover custom of those ancient kings, which God originally had never commanded Moses or Joshua and the Israelites to do. (2 Chronicles 30:1, 2 Chronicles 30:12)
Jesus did as the majority of faithful people were still doing at that time. They kept the Passover in their homes or in family gatherings at a catered large room. It was the minority of the people that followed the Pharisees custom of killing the lambs at the Temple on the afternoon of the 14th Abib. They did that in three shifts, at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, because there was not enough space in the Temple area to kill all their lambs at one time. (Josephus)
So, Jesus told Peter and John to go to Jerusalem and they would: “meet a man carrying a pitcher of water, and he will show you the upper guest room that has been prepared for us to eat the Passover tonight.” (Luke 22:7-16)
As Jesus and His 12 disciples reclined around the table that Passover evening, after sunset at the beginning of the 14th Abib, He said: “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you, before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15)
“Can you imagine how our Lord Jesus Christ must have felt that night?” says Nanna. “He knew that this would be the last Passover He would share with his disciples, before He was to suffer terrible torture and crucifixion. He also knew that they really had no idea about what was going to happen all through that night and next day. He knew they didn’t understand He would be dead and in His tomb for the next 3 nights and 3 days before His resurrection to life again, late on Sabbath afternoon.”
So, with the evening dinner meal nearly ended, Jesus rose and took a towel and humbly washed each of His disciples feet. Christ showed his great love for them, because He was even prepared to take on the job that a lowly slave was required to do.
Jesus gave us an example that we follow today, of washing each other’s feet at the Passover ceremony, in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s loving sacrifice of Himself, to pay the eternal death penalty for all of our sins. That is why Jesus is our Saviour. (John 13:4-17)
“Happy are you if you do these things”, said Jesus. (John 13:17)
“Do you know, Jesus even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, who he knew, was going to betray Him that night” says Grandad.
After the foot washing, when they all returned to reclining around the table, Jesus dipped a sop of unleavened bread in the stew mix bowl and gave it to Judas, and told him: “What you are planning to do, do quickly.” Judas looked at Jesus and left the room to go and see the Pharisees about his money and what they wanted him to do to betray Jesus. (John 13:21-30)
Just after this Jesus took some unleavened bread, and He prayed, asking God’s blessing over the bread. Then he broke the bread and gave some of the broken bread to each of his disciples.
Christ said: “Take this bread and eat it. This is my body.” (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-24))
The broken bread Jesus gave to His disciples to eat, was symbolic of the terrible beating that Jesus was going to suffer for us to pay the penalty for all sins, so that we can be healed physically and spiritually.
Next, Jesus Christ took a cup of wine, and prayed a prayer asking God’s blessing upon it and the symbolism of it being like Jesus blood that would be shed in the beatings and death He was about to experience.
He shared this wine with his disciples, telling them: “Drink all of it. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27-29, Mark 14:23-25, Luke 22:17-20, 1 Corinthians 25-29)
After these new symbols of the Passover Ordinance were introduced to the disciples by Jesus, they all sang a hymn, and they left the room and walked to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:30)
Jesus told them: “All of you are going to be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”
Peter boldly replied: “Even though all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended.”
Jesus looked Peter in the eyes and said: “Truly I say to you Peter, that this night before the rooster crows, you will deny me 3 times.” (Matthew 26:31-35)
Then they came into the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus asked Peter, John and John’s brother James to stand watch while Jesus went a little distance away to pray to God His Father.
Jesus prayed a wonderful prayer which is recorded for us in John 17:1-26.
When Jesus finished praying, He found His disciples asleep and woke them up. Then they walked across the Cedron stream where there was a garden area. (Matthew 26:39-44, Mark 14:35-40, Luke 22:41-46)
Judas Iscariot also knew of this area, and by now he was leading a band of armed officers from the Chief Priests and Pharisees. When Jesus saw them He walked towards them, and Judas hugged Jesus with a kiss on His cheek, to show to the armed men, which one was Jesus. (Matthew 26;47-49, Mark 14:43-45, Luke 22:47-48, John 18:1-8)
As they moved forward to grab Jesus, Peter took out his sword and swung it, cutting off the High Priest’s servant Malchus’ ear. Jesus touched the side of his head and miraculously restored his ear to him. (Luke 22:50-51, John 18:1-13)
They took Jesus away to Annas the Priest. Peter and John followed at a distance and went into the courtyard. Annas questioned Jesus and one of the officers beat Jesus on the face, before Annas sent him to his son in law Caiaphas the High Priest. (John 18:13-24)
Caiaphas then questioned Jesus and had a number of false witnesses accuse Jesus. As they were condemning Jesus, spitting on Him and beating Him a young lady noticed Peter outside and asked him about being one of Jesus disciples. But 3 times Peter lied and denied knowing Jesus, and then the rooster crowed. When Peter heard the rooster, he remembered what Jesus had prophesied Peter would do. So, he left and wept very deeply in repentance. (Matthew 26:59-75, Mark 14:55-72, Luke 22:56-62, John 18:17-27)
At daybreak the whole gathering of the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus, and then sent Him for sentencing to death by Pontius Pilate, the Governor. By this time Judas, who had terribly betrayed Jesus, took the bag of 30 silver coins and threw it on the floor of the Temple and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:1-9, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66-71, John 18:28, Acts 1:15-19)
Jesus was accused again before Pilate, but Pilate was scared of what was happening and sent Jesus to Herod the King. Herod questioned Jesus too, and had him mocked and beaten again, before sending him back to Pilate. (Luke 23:2-12, Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:2-5, John 18:29-30)
At this point Pilate had a bowl of water brought to him and washed his hands in it, to symbolically try to show that he was washing his hands of the judgment of death that the Pharisees wanted for Jesus. (Matthew 27:24-25)
Jesus was again brutally beaten with a terrible whip and they jammed a crown of thorns on His head. Bleeding terribly and with all of His bones out of joint, they led him away to be crucified. They called for Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus huge stake (stauros) for Him to Golgotha, the “Place of the Skull”. (Matthew 27:32-33, Mark 15:21-22, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:16-17)
Then they crucified Jesus on the stake at about 9am, nailing his hands above his head and his feet below. They put a sign over his head written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews”. He was crucified between two criminals, who were also crucified at the same time. (John 19:19-22, Mark 15:27-28, Isaiah 53:12)
Darkness began to cover the land from about 12pm mid day to 3pm, just before the Pharisees were preparing to kill the first shift of lambs for their Temple Passover, but they couldn’t see very well in the heavy darkness to be able to kill the lambs. (Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44)
Just before 3pm that momentous Passover day, Jesus was near death, and a soldier came and thrust his spear up into Jesus side. Out flowed blood mixed with water and Jesus died, after He cried out with a loud voice: “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.” (Luke 23:45-46)
At the moment of Jesus death there was a huge earthquake in Jerusalem. Miraculously too, many tombs were opened and many faithful people of God, who had died, were resurrected back to physical life again.
Also, one of the great archangels came and tore the huge thick Temple curtain in front of the Holy of Holies, from the top to the bottom. (Matthew 27:51-53, Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:37-38, John 19:37-38)
Before sunset that day, Jesus uncle, Joseph of Arimathea came with Nicodemus and they took Jesus down from the stake. They wrapped Him gently in linen cloths and laid Him in the tomb, that Joseph had prepared for himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. They rolled a huge stone in front of the door of the tomb and left just before sunset, so they could keep the first Holy Day Sabbath of the 7 Days of Unleavened Bread. (John 19:38-42)
Pilate placed an armed guard of his best centurion soldiers in front of the tomb to guard it. (Matthew 27:62-66)
To be continued in Chapter 21…