Question:

Before last night I was convinced that Thursday was the date of the crucifixion. But after discussing it with another preacher, I'm not so sure. Knowing that you also take the Thursday crucifixion date position (I've seen your articles and charts), I want to inquire of you so I can come to the best understanding possible of the scriptures on this subject.

Now, the Thursday position requires that Friday be the date of the Passover, correct? I'm having a hard time getting that to fit with Luke 22:11-15. "And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" It seems to me that the actual Passover would have had to have been on the same Jewish day as the crucifixion (the day right after this evening mentioned in Luke).

However, if this is true, then it means that Matthew 12:40 cannot be taken literally, which I'm not sure is the most plausible stance to take with that scripture. I'm missing some piece of the puzzle here. I do want to clarify that I'm definitely not trying to be contentious or argumentative. I really just don't know where to stand on this issue and thought it might be possible that you could help clear it up. Thanks for all the help.


Answer:

Let me point that the difficulty that you are having doesn't change whether you think the Passover occurred on Friday or Saturday that year.

The official Passover meal is always eaten on the 14th day of the month. "On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD'S Passover" (Leviticus 23:5). However, Jesus ate the Passover meal on the Preparation Day, that is the 13th day of the month.

Note that both Mark 14:1 and Matthew 26:1-2 both state the events started two days before the Passover.

  • "Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?"" (Mark 14:12).
  • "Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed" (Luke 22:7).

Jesus and his disciples remained until late in the evening and then went to the Garden of Gethsemane. After a period of praying, during which the disciples kept drifting off to sleep, Jesus was arrested by a mob and hauled to Annas’ home (John 18:12-13). Next, he was taken to Caiaphas, the High Priest (John 18:24). It was at Caiaphas’ home that the incident of the roster crowing took place, so we know it was near dawn (John 18:25-27). "Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28). The Passover, which starts at sundown, had not yet taken place officially; it was still the Preparation Day. This is confirmed by "Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"" (John 19:14). The crucifixion had to be completed because the Passover was coming up. "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away" (John 19:31). Joseph asks for the body of Jesus on the Preparation Day (Mark 15:42-43). Passover would have then began at sundown that evening.

It was on the Passover, the day after Preparation Day, that the Jewish leaders came to Pilate to ask that the tomb be secured "On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate ... " (Matthew 27:62-64).

What the gospels say is that Jesus ate the Passover meal, but he ate it on the evening that started the Preparation Day (Jewish days start at sundown).

None of this says what day of the week Passover fell on this particular year.