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From Jericho to Pentecost                                     

The last week of Christ’s life was the most important week since man was created.  Nearly twenty five chapters of the Bible are devoted to those seven days alone.  From the Bible we trace Christ's journey from Jericho to Jerusalem where he spent his final days and examine the events that occurred during those days and the seven weeks that followed up until the Day of Pentecost.   What God accomplished during that time impacts greatly on all humanity.

The New Testament Gospels provide four separate eye-witness accounts written in different styles that sometimes parallel and sometimes complement each other.  The comparative passages give authenticity to each account and the complementary passages provide enough detail to compile an accurate sequence of events.  Through this sequence we can view each event in the overall context of the very powerful testimony of God’s word that Christ gave with his very life.  For a summary of events see Appendix I and for alist of comparative passages see Appendix II at the end of this article.

The Jews of Christ’s day were waiting for their Messiah.  According to prophecy he would be of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and a descendant of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) and of King David’s line, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” (Jeremiah 23:5-8).  He was expected to save Judah and gather the scattered people of Israel into their own land from where he would rule over them and all other nations forever, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:7 see also Ezekiel 37:25-28).  Never again would the throne of David be vacant, “For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;” (Jeremiah 33:17).

It had been prophesied that the Messiah, their king would ride into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass bringing their salvation with him, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9). 

The Jews interpreted these prophecies to mean that Messiah was to be a descendant of David who would become the political and military leader ruling from David's throne in Jerusalem and restore Israel to its lands.  During his lifetime he would also establish the Torah as law over all nations bringing about permanent world peace.   The religious leaders of Judah refused to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah.  Even today the Jews do not believe Christ to be the Messiah despite the fact that he fulfilled all that the prophets said of him (Acts 3:12-18).

John Knew Christ was the Messiah

John the Baptist was the voice in the wilderness sent to prepare the way for the Messiah, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3 see also Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1).

God identified Jesus Christ as the Messiah when John baptised him, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17). 

He was the son whom the prophet Isaiah had mentioned, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Significantly John identified Christ as the Lamb of God who will take away the world's sin (John 1:29).   He was the sacrificial lamb of God.

He was a descendant of David’s, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (Isaiah 11:1-2). 

John revealed the true nature of the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who denied that Christ was the Messiah, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 3:7-10).   We shall see the significance of these words when Christ rebukes the religious leaders during the last week of his life.

Great multitudes listened to Christ and witnessed the miracles and healings he performed and many believed that he was the Messiah.  But he did not meet the expectations of the Pharisees and Sadducees who had their own interpretations of prophesy.  According to Isaiah the leaders of Judah lacked knowledge and understanding, “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” (Isaiah 5:13).  Isaiah was instructed to inform them even though they would neither listen, nor understand, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.” (Isaiah 6:9 see also Jeremiah 5:1 and 9:3). 

That is why they were astonished and offended by what Christ taught (Mark 1:22).  How could this mere carpenter's son (Mark 6:2-3) who associates with publicans and sinners (Mark 2:16) restore Israel and rule on David's throne!   They reasoned that this man who spoke blasphemy (Mark 2:7) and who, in their eyes unlawfully contravened the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-24) could not possibly enforce the Torah over Israel let alone the world.  They had so shrouded the law with their own traditions (Mark 7:1-9) and interpreted prophecy to their own understanding that they could not see the truth when it was staring them in the face, “knowing this first: that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” (II Peter 1:20).  Because they did not know God, nor truly understand, Christ did not measure up to their expectations which were based on their own interpretation of the prophecies.  Nor did he comply with the traditions they had added to the law.  They decided that he was not the Messiah and sought to kill him to prove their point.

Christ knew exactly what was in their minds, “For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.  But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.” (Mark 9:31-32).  Little did the Pharisees know that their plot to kill him would fulfill Isaiah's prophecy, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not… …He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” (Isaiah 53:1-8).    

Time to go to Jerusalem

After three and a half years of teaching Christ knew that the time was right for God to announce him as King and enable the promise of salvation to be fulfilled through his sacrifice.  Never in the history of the earth had a king been prepared to sacrifice his own life for the well-being of his subjects.  

Christ told his disciples what to expect, “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,  Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:  And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Mark 10:32-34; see alternative scripture from other Gospels in the list attached as Appendix II).  Christ was referring to the prophecy in Isaiah 53:1-12 that predicted how he would be received and treated by the Jewish religious authorities.  Modern-day Jews claim that the prophecy in Isaiah 53:1-12 refers to the nation of Israel and the way its people have been persecuted over the centuries.  They deny that it refers to the Messiah.  They cannot see that the persecution they have received over the centuries is a direct result of how they treated Christ whom they rejected as the Messiah.   As mentioned in Isaiah 6:9 they did not understand.  

Approaching Jericho - 7 Nisan (Wednesday)

As they approached the gates of Jericho on their way to Jerusalem a blind beggar hailed Christ as the son of David, “And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.  And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Luke 18:35-39).  He was not silenced by rebukes from the crowd, but kept crying out until Christ healed him.  Zechariah had prophesied that the King would come with salvation (Zechariah 9:9) and it was important to the events that followed that both his royal lineage and the salvation he brought were publicly declared.  Later that evening in Jericho at the house of Zacchaeus he confirmed that he was the salvation they were waiting for, “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9-10).  It was through Christ that the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) was to be fulfilled (Galatians 3:14-16).  Christ’s mission was not only to save Judah, but to save mankind i.e. 'that which was lost' by reconciling 'all families of the earth'  to God. 

During the meal in Zacchaeus' house he gave them the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27). This parable was significant because it identified him as the king mentioned by Zechariah and indicated that he would go away to receive his kingdom and then return which is something the Jews did not understand.  They expected the Messiah to take immediate control of Judah, rid them of occupying Roman forces and rule forever.  To the majority of Jews both at that time and today, Christ’s death proved that he was not the Messiah and they are still waiting for the ‘real’ Messiah to appear.  They had no spiritual concept of salvation and did not understand that he had to pay the penalty on behalf of mankind before salvation could take place.  He knew they would reject him as their king and through the parable of the pounds warned them of the consequences their actions would reap.  Each would be accountable for their actions.

Departure from Jericho - 8 Nisan (Thursday)

The next day as he went out through the gates of Jericho another blind beggar (Timaeus) cried out that Christ was the 'son of David' (Mark 10:46-52) and he could not be silenced by the crowd until Christ healed him.  It emphasized once again Christ's royal lineage for those who may have joined the multitude in Jericho.  And as they departed from Jericho two more blind men  hailed him as the 'Son of David' reconfirming the importance of who Christ was (Matthew 20:29-34).

Many claim that Matthew, Mark and Luke all describe the same incident and their accounts are contradictory with regard to how many blind men were involved and where the incident took place. This claim is simply not true and negates the importance of the events.  The Bible is very clear that there are three incidents involving a total of four blind men.  Luke described an encounter with a blind beggar as they came 'nigh' to Jericho (Luke 18:35-39).  Mark described another incident the following day when they met a blind beggar as they 'went out' of Jericho - i. e. as they were going out through the gates of the city where beggars congregated to beg from any travellers leaving the city (Mark 10:46-52).  And Matthew described a separate incident as they 'departed from', or left Jericho behind and encountered two blind men further on 'sitting by the wayside' (Matthew 20:29-34).  The two individual blind beggars at the gates going into and out Jericho, were healed by Christ's word, whereas the two blind men waiting by the wayside outside of Jericho were healed by Christ's touch.   There were three separate incidents involving four blind men.

These encounters with the blind men were extremely important because they established who Christ was and by restoring sight as had been prophesied, “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Isaiah 42:7).  When John the Baptist's disciples asked of him, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3).  Christ said, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:4-5, see also 15:30-31, Mark 8:22-23, Luke 4:18, 7:21-22, John 9:1-7) There was another occasion early in his ministry when Christ healed two other blind men.  They had also confirmed his status, “saying, Thou Son of David” (Matthew 9:27). 

Because they had heard of these earlier healings the blind men waited for Christ at Jericho believing they too would be healed by that same son of David.  That is why they cried out when they heard he was passing and because of their faith (belief) Christ had compassion on them and healed their sight.

Son of David

God promised that He would raise up a descendant of David’s, a Righteous Branch, a root of Jesse - Jeremiah 23:5-6, Isaiah 11:1-10 and Romans 15:12) to sit upon David’s throne, “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.  In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.  For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;” (Jeremiah 33:15-17).  So it was highly significant that not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions as Christ was journeying toward Jerusalem for the last time that four blind men hailed Christ as the 'Son of David'.  And they cried out even louder when the crowd tried to silence them. 

It was God's way of declaring Christ’s heritage (Matthew 1:1-16) and that he was the one to inherit David's throne.  Eventually the cry was taken up by the whole multitude as they made their approach into Jerusalem the following day.  Is it any coincidence that the New Testament begins with the statement that Christ is the 'son of David' (Matthew 1:1).  And ends with Christ saying, “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16).  It was ironic that the blind could 'see' who Christ was by the signs and wonders he performed, but the religious authorities could not, or chose not to see what was unfolded before their very eyes.

What the Jews did not understand was that the nation Israel which had thrived under King David and of which Judah was a remnant, foreshadowed a future spiritual nation that will be the Kingdom of God.  David’s throne in ancient Israel foreshadowed the throne from which Christ now rules God’s Kingdom under his Father (Mark 16:19, I Corinthians 15:24-28).  Since Christ was resurrected we have not wanted for a man to sit on David’s throne because we have Christ as our King and High Priest already sitting on that throne.   

It was known that the Messiah was to be of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), that he would be a descendent of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) and of David’s line (Jeremiah 23:5-6), but despite the fact that Christ met all these criteria the Jews rejected him.   Modern Jews are still in a state of denial!  Christ was of the tribe of Judah, a descendent of Jesse via David’s legal line through Solomon as Joseph’s genealogy in Matthew 1:1-24 confirms and of David’s blood-line through Nathan as Mary’s genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 confirms.  

Six Days Before Passover – 9 Nisan (Friday)

Luke’s account of events moves forward from the time Christ spoke the parable of the pounds while dining with Zachaeus in Jericho (Luke 19:11-27) to the time just before Christ entered Jerusalem.  He continues his account with the phrase 'And it came to pass' (Luke 19:28-29) to indicate there was obviously a passage of time between these two events and leaves it up to the other gospel writers to fill in the detail.  Mark describes an encounter with the blind beggar as they passed through the gates of Jericho the next morning (Mark 10:46).  Matthew adds the incident with the two blind men they met further down the road after leaving Jericho (Matthew 20:29).  And John provides details of their stop in Bethany at the end of the day before continuing on the journey to Jerusalem the next day when the other gospel writers pick up the story again.   

Bethany

Bethany is a small village about twenty kilometers from Jericho and two and a half kilometers from Jerusalem on the south-east slope of the Mount of Olives which was “a Sabbath day’s Journey’ (Acts 1:12) from Jerusalem.  In the afternoon of the sixth day prior to Passover Christ and his disciples arrived from Jericho at the house of their friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary with whom they dined that night, “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.  There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.  Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.  Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.  Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.  But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” (John 12:1-11). 

Some maintain that the suppers recorded by John (John 12:1-11), Mark (Mark 14:1-11) and Matthew (Matthew 26:6-13) were versions of the same supper, but that is simply not the case.  The supper mentioned by John took place six days before Passover (John 12:1) at the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary where Mary anointed Christ's feet (John 12:3) and wiped them with her hair.  The second incident took place two days before Passover (Mark 14:1 and Matthew 26:2) in the house of Simon the leper when a woman who was not named anointed Christ's head rather than his feet.  Both suppers took place in Bethany where Christ returned each night while he was teaching in the temple during the days before Passover.          

Neither of these incidents should be confused with an earlier supper in the house of a Pharisee called Simon when a woman who was a sinner washed Christ's feet with her tears and anointed them (Luke 7:36-50).  Altogether there are three separate occasions recorded when Christ was anointed; once early in his ministry as described by Luke and twice in Bethany during the last week of his earthly ministry, the first of which was described by John and the second described by both Mark  and Matthew.  It was customary in those days for guests to have their feet washed and to be anointed with ointment when they visited someone's home.  It was a way for guests to 'freshen up' especially after a long day’s walk.  This is confirmed when on the earlier occasion mentioned by Luke Christ actually rebuked Simon the Pharisee for neglecting to honour him in the traditional manner with a kiss, water to wash his feet and oil to anoint his head.

Five Days Before Passover – 10 Nisan (Saturday)

Some of those who had travelled with Christ from Jericho may have continued on to their destination in Jerusalem instead of stopping in Bethany as it was only another two and a half kilometers.  Prior to Christ’s arrival in Bethany the Jews who were already in Jerusalem preparing for the Passover did not know whether Christ would turn up, or not (John 11:55-57).  But by the time Christ and his followers started out from Bethany the next morning those in Jerusalem had been informed that he was on the way, “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem” (John 12:12). 

Bethphage

About one and a half kilometers after leaving Bethany the next day they passed the village of Bethphage known as the ‘village of unripe figs’ on the Mount of Olives.  It was less than one kilometre from Jerusalem.  Bethphage was a village where a smaller meeting of the Sanhedrin was held to make decisions on matters that had to be decided 'outside the camp' believed to be based on the principle expounded in Exodus 33:7-11 and Numbers 11:16-17.  The Sanhedrin usually met in the temple in Jerusalem, but it was in Bethphage that according to the Talmud they made decisions concerning measurements, calendar observations and the fate of certain lawbreakers such as blasphemers and Sabbath breakers.  It is significant that Bethphage was located at the eastern extreme of the walls of old Jerusalem and was considered to be the eastern gate which is the main or processional entrance to Jerusalem and the temple.  It was from the eastern gate toward the Mount of Olives that the presence of God left the temple (Ezekiel 10:18-22 and 11:22-24) and it is through this gate that God’s presence in the form of the Messiah was prophesied to return  (Ezekiel 43:1-6 and Zechariah 14:4).  What the Jews didn’t realise was that the Messiah would come first as a man to die for the salvation of mankind and return later as a spirit being to rule (Revelation 19:11-16).  This is why Christ told them the parable of the pounds when they stopped in Jericho.  Modern-day Jews still do not accept this concept.  

On the Colt of an Ass

When Christ and the multitude reached Bethphage he sent two of his disciples to obtain the ass upon which he would ride the rest of the way.   There appears to be a ‘contradiction’ in the gospel accounts that has led to debate as to how many donkeys where involved and which one Christ rode. Although this issue may seem trivial it is worthy of examination to establish the credibility of the gospel writers who were faithful eye-witnesses of Christ’s testimony (see our article entitled ‘Church Doctrine - The Role of the Apostles ’).  

Mark, Luke and John agree that Christ told his disciples to fetch the colt (Mark 11:2-7, Luke 19:29-36 and John 12:12-14). Matthew on the other hand says they were to fetch the colt along with its mother (Matthew 21:2).  This is more in keeping with the prophecy which says he will come riding, “...upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9).  Some consider this to be a contradiction and it has given rise to needless debate as to whether Christ rode the she-ass, the colt or both of them. 

The seat of the problem is in interpretation – the writers of the KJV translation have included the word 'and' in Zechariah 9:9 which does not appear in other versions such as the NKJV, RAV, RSV, NIV, Amplified and Moffatt.  They all use wording similar to, 'riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey' which is consistent with the Jewish Study Bible, Jewish Publication Society, Tanakh Translation which says that the Messiah is to come, 'riding on an ass, On a donkey foaled by a she-ass.”.  The Living Bible puts it more simply by saying 'riding humbly on a donkey's colt'.  The majority opinion among interpreters is that Christ will come riding on the colt of a donkey.

However, although most translations have interpreted Zechariah 9:9 correctly by not adding the word 'and', there are some such as the Amplified and Moffatt versions that have unfortunately added the word 'and' when the prophet is quoted in Matthew 21:5.   Other versions such as the RAV, RSV and NIV may have maintained consistency by not added the word 'and' in Matthew 21:5 but have used the plural pronoun 'them' in Matthew 21:7 indicating that Christ rode boththe mother and the colt. 

Consequently some reason that because the colt was a foal it was unable to bear the weight of a full grown man for the 1km journey to Jerusalem and maintain that Christ had to ride the she-ass for most of the journey and the colt only as they arrived in Jerusalem to fulfil the prophecy.  Their reasoning is not sound.  Just because the colt was foaled by a she-ass does not mean that it is still a foal when Christ rode it.   A colt is a male donkey up to the age of four years and a four year old colt would certainly be strong enough for the journey.  

The confusion as to which donkey Christ rode is not caused by the gospel writers contradicting each other but through inconsistencies that have arisen because of poor translation.   

Zechariah said that Christ would ride into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass and that is exactly what he did as best shown in Living Bible’s translation of Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:5 and confirmed by the Jewish Bible Study Jewish Publication Society translation of the Tanakh of Zechariah 9:9.

Approaching Jerusalem

From Bethphage they continued their approach toward Jerusalem, “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,  And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.  And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.   And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.  And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?  And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.  And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:  Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest (Mark 11:1-10).

The multitude who had earlier rebuked the blind men for crying out that Christ was the ‘Son of David’ had now taken up the cry themselves, “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”  (Matthew 21:9).

In the building excitement as the multitude drew closer to Jerusalem Christ’s followers may not have fully understood what God was inspiring among them, “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.  The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.” (John 12:16-17).  There were those in the crowd who had witnessed Christ’s miracles including the resurrection of Lazarus.  They began rejoicing aloud as they approached the city praising Christ for the healings and miracles they had witnessed.

Notice what Christ replied when some of the Pharisee travelling with them asked him to rebuke the crowd for shouting these things out and hailing him as King, “And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.  And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:37-40).  He replied that had they not praised God and hailed him as King, God Himself would have made the stones they walked on shout these things out!

Christ knew what he had to say to the Jewish leaders when he arrived in Jerusalem.  He also knew how they would react and what the consequences would be for his people and it saddened him as he came close to the city, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44).

According to Matthew it was a very great multitude that accompanied Christ on his approach to Jerusalem (Matthew 21:8).  With their joyous shouting and praise they were acknowledging that Christ came ‘in the name of the Lord’ having the full authority of God as the Messiah and king bringing salvation with him (Zechariah 9:9).  It was a momentous occasion that stirred the whole city with the thunder of their shouting as they entered Jerusalem!

Arriving at Jerusalem

So great was the cry from the multitude that the whole city wanted to know who was approaching, “And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?  And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:10-11).   The multitude replied that he was the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:5 (see also Acts 3:22-23).

According to Mark's account, “...Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:11).  And 'on the morrow' Christ returned to clear the temple of traders and money changers (Mark 11:15-18). 

Some will point out the accounts of Mathew and Luke appear to contradict Mark's account of events because they show that Christ cleared the temple on the same day he rode into Jerusalem (compare Matthew 21:12-13 and Luke 19:45 with Mark 11:15-18).  John does not mention this particular incident at all. There was a clearing of the temple described by John that occurred some three years previously at the beginning of Christ's public ministry when he was speaking in the temple (John 12:2-22).  It was on this earlier occasion that he said, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (verse 19).  Words that would later be used against him by false witnesses at his trial (Mark 14:57-59) and with which they mocked him at his crucifixion (Mark 15:29). 

In his “Harmony of the Gospel” A T Robertson places the temple clearing described in both Matthew and Mark on the morrow after Christ's entry into Jerusalem.  Bullinger (Companion Bible, Ap 153) claims there were two separate grand entrances by Christ into Jerusalem which is highly unlikely. Although this apparent 'contradiction' has been the subject of much conjecture there is no contradiction at all!  It is simple the result of different writing styles.

It is Luke's style to list a series of events each of which is preceded by words such as  'And...' , 'And when...”, 'And it came to pass..' etc.  Although the events he records are listed in chronological order there is often nothing to indicate on which day any of those particular events took place.  This is particularly so throughout Luke 19 where we read that after Christ entered Jerusalem the following events occurred but there is no indication on which day, or days these events took place: “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein...” (Luke 19:45), “And he taught daily in the temple” (Luke 19:47), “And it came to pass, that on one of those days....” (Luke 19:47 and 20:1).  Because Mark seems to be more meticulous in providing the days on which events occurred we can confidently be guided by his account for this information.

When Christ entered the city and some asked who he was, his followers said he was, “Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galiliee”.  It would appear that the verses that followed (Matthew 21:10-17) confirm the temple clearance took place the same day.  However, it is possible Matthew was adding explanatory information for the reader that was not necessarily part of the sequence of events.  John did something similar when explaining who Mary was in John 11:1-3. It is a style that has also been used in Genesis 1 and 2 and was later used in the Book of Revelation.  Matthew does tend to focus on the entirety of an event as he did a few verses further on when describing the fig tree incident (Matthew 21:18-22) while Mark's account follows the chronological sequence (Mark 11:13-23).  

If we accept that Matthews’s account of the temple clearing (Matthew 21:12-13) is an insert then the following verses relating to the multitude and what the Pharisees asked continue on from Matthew 21:11, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.  And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,  And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?  And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.” (Matthew 21:14-17).

At the end of the same day that Christ rode into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass he and his disciples withdrew to Bethany for the night where they lodged, “…and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:11).

From this point Matthew and Luke focus on Christ teaching in the temple over the next three days without defining each individual day.  But from Mark's account it is possible to establish a clear division of days so we will continue to use Mark's account as a basis and analyze the teachings of the other three gospels where they fit into his chronology.

Four Days Before Passover – 11 Nisan (Sunday)

Fig Tree Cursed

Four days before Passover Christ and his disciples return to Jerusalem, “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.  And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;  And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.  And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” (Mark 11:12-18).

The Pharisees sought to kill Christ because of the following he was gathering which included those who had witnessed at first hand the resurrection of Lazarus, “The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.  For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.” (John 12:17-19).

Christ Speaks to the Greeks

It is difficult to say whether John's record of what Christ taught in the temple took place on this day or subsequent days, but this is an appropriate place to discuss what he said because it deals with Christ's purpose and how he dealt with the expectations of the Jews, “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:  The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.  Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.  And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:20-26). 

With the analogy of the wheat grain Christ explained to these Greek Jews that he had to die for the salvation of mankind.  This was something the Jews had not understood.  They believed that Messiah would be a man who would come to rule on David's throne forever.   They had no concept of the Messiah having to die for the salvation of mankind and then returning as a spirit being to rule at a later time.  Four days earlier in Zacchaeus' house in Jericho Christ had used the parable of the pounds to explain why he was not going to rule at that time (Luke 19:11-27); now he was explaining the concept of salvation indicating that his death was necessary and that was why he had come to Jerusalem.

God Confirms

God the Father confirmed this directly to these Jews in a rather spectacular way with a voice from Heaven, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.” (John 12:27-29).  Then Christ told them that, “This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:35-33).

Because they did not understand that the Messiah must die they said, “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?” (John 12:34).  And Christ replied,  “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” (John 12:34-36).

Incredible as it may seem Christ knew that most would not believe what he said even after the miracle of a voice from Heaven thundering out to them, “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?  Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,  He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.  These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” (John 12:37-41).  Even to this day Jews will not admit that the prophecy that Christ quoted from (Isaiah 53:1-12) is about him and the suffering he would experience at their hands.  They maintain that this prophecy is about the nation of Israel of which the Jews are a remnant and that it indicates their suffering since that time.  No wonder they didn't recognize the Messiah when he rode into Jerusalem.  The ironic part of the whole episode is that the blind could see who he was but most of the Jews couldn't.

Some of those in authority knew exactly who Christ was, but capitulated in fear of the Pharisees, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42-43). 

Christ then appealed to them by pointing them to the Father who sent him saying, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.  And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:44-50).

Once again, at the end of the day Christ and his disciples returned to Bethany where they were being accommodated, “And when even was come, he went out of the city.” (Mark 11:19).

Three Days Before Passover – 12 Nisan (Monday)

Fig Tree Withered

On the following day which was the third day before Passover as Christ and his disciples walked back into Jerusalem from Bethany where they had been staying they passed the fig tree that Christ had cursed, “And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.  And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.   And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:20-26).  To which Matthew added, “ And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22). 

It is believed that the fig tree he cursed was near the village of Bethphage which was an important centre where the Sanhedrin would meet to make certain decisions that were required to be made 'outside the camp'.  We can see that the tree symbolized the priesthood and its centre of power when considering the powerful message that Christ delivered to the Sanhedrin through parables he taught in the temple later that same morning.   The great show of leaves gave the impression of  a healthy tree that should be bearing fruit.  But that expectation of fruit was not met on closer inspection.  Just like the priesthood with its fine show of ritual and ceremony with which they maintained their prominence and power in Jewish society, it unfortunately did not bear the spiritual fruit that God expected of it.  

Only three and a half years earlier John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees a 'generation of vipers' likening them to a tree that did not bear fruit which will be cut down and burnt, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10).

By cursing the fig tree Christ was indicating the the time to lay the axe to the root of the trees had arrived.   When he said that 'no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever' (Mark 11:14), he meant that the end of the priesthood was near.  

Christ's Authority Question

When he arrived at the temple the Chief Priests, scribes and elders questioned Christ's authority.  These were the elders of the Sanhedrin (Exodus 24:1, Numbers 11:16, 24-25) whom he in turn silenced with a question of his own, “And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,  And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.  The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.  And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?  But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.  And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mark 11:27-33).

If they had admitted that John baptised on God's authority then they would have to answer to God for rejecting the Son of whom John bore record (John 1:32-36).  And if they said he baptised on the authority of men they would have to answer to the crowd who considered John to be God's prophet.  So they said that they did not know.  Many Pharisees and Sadducees had been present when John had baptised Christ three and a half years earlier (Matthew 3:7) and they too would have  heard the voice from heaven that said of Christ, “This is my beloved Son. In whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  They knew exactly who Christ was and on whose authority he spoke! 

John had not only come to prepare the way for Christ, he had also come to prepare the religious authorities for their fate.  Christ was about to spell it out to the Pharisees, Sadducees and Sanhedrin (elders) in the temple that very day.

Parable of Two Sons

When he arrived at the temple Christ delivered the most compelling message of his entire ministry.  He started by defining two different attitudes among those called to do God's will, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32).   One son set out to do his own will but later repented and did his father's will.  The other said he would do the father's will but failed to fulfill what he promised.

In prophecy the vineyard was often symbolic of Israel (Isaiah 5:7).  Israel was a physical nation called out of the world to foreshadow God's spiritual Kingdom.  Judah was the remnant of Israel to whom  John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for Christ.  The religious authorities in Jerusalem comprised of priests and the Sanhedrin included Pharisees, Sadducees and elders who were supposed to be committed to the God of Israel.  They enjoyed the privileges of the priesthood which gave them status as the elite of Jewish society but they were not prepared to do God's will by teaching the ways of righteousness.  Christ used the parable of the vineyard workers  to show that other lesser members of Jewish society such as publicans and harlots were more willing to believe and repent than the religious leaders and therefore more eligible to enter God's Kingdom.

Parable of Vineyard Owner

Christ went on to show that the religious authorities in whose care the vineyard, or Kingdom of God had been left not only failed to do the Father's will but killed all his prophets and were about to kill His Son, “A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.  And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.  And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.  And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.  Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.  But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.  And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.  What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:  This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.” ( Mark 12:1-12). 

Because they were not willing to do God's will the Kingdom of God that had been left in their care was to be wrenched from their grip and given to those who were willing to do His will, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Matthew 21:43-46). 

Parable of Wedding Feast

With a third powerful parable Christ went on to show who would receive the Kingdom that was to be wrenched from the Jewish leaders, “ And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14).  Those privileged enough to be called by the King to the wedding feast and who for various reasons declined to do the King's bidding were to be destroyed and others from the lower echelons of society were to be given the privilege instead.

The religious authorities in whose care the Kingdom was placed were the ones who declined the King's invitation.  They were destroyed in 70AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and demolished the temple.  They were crushed by the stone they had rejected (Matthew 21:44).  The less privileged members of society such as the fishermen (Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:16), publicans (Matthew 10:3), whores (Luke 7:39) and others from the highways and byways were the ones who repented and went on to become the New Testament Church.  Eventually the invitation was extended to the gentiles.  Christ laid the foundation of the New Testament Church through the Prophets and Apostles and into their hands the Kingdom of God has now been entrusted. 

Although the Kingdom of God was to be wrenched from the hands of Jewish authorities and given to those willing to do God's will there was also a very sober warning in this parable for those to whom the Kingdom of God is to be entrusted.  They must be prepared to take their calling seriously.  If they do not become suitably clothed in righteousness, which is the wedding garment (Revelation 19:7-8), they too will be cast into outer darkness!

Questions and Answers - Herodians

Because the finger was being pointed at the religious authorities for not doing the job they were called to do theybecame even more determined to kill Christ, but were too scared to lay hands on him in public.  Instead they tried to discredit him with loaded questions which he easily countered.  First the Pharisees tried to trap him with a question about giving tribute to Caesar, And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.  And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?   Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.  And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.  And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” (Mark 12:13-17, see also Matthew 22:15-22 and Luke 20:20-26).

Questions and Answers - Sadducees

Then the Sadducees tried unsuccessfully to trip him with a question on the resurrection, “Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,  Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.  Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.  And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.  And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.  In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.  And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?  For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.  And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:18-27, see also Matthew 22:23-33 and Luke 20:27-38).

Questions and Answers - Scribes

Finally one of the scribes asked about the law, “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:  And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.  And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.” (Mark 12:28-34). 

Question and answer - Christ

Having answered their questions in a way that made them marvel Christ then reversed the tables on them.  He knew the Jews believed that the Messiah would be a man whom they maintained would live forever and had reasoned that if they killed Christ then it would prove he was not the Messiah.  So he asked them to explain the words spoken by David in Psalm 110:1 that not only indicated the Messiah pre-existed as a spirit being as David's Lord, but also would be resurrected to spirit in order to sit with the Father on His throne, “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,  Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.  He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,  The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?  If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?  And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:41-46 see also Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44). 

This was a key question and a defining moment because the Pharisees could not explain without admitting that their interpretation of prophecy was wrong.  So they ceased from asking him any more questions.  The people in the temple were then happy to listen to Christ as he warned them about religious leaders who loved their status and would do anything to maintain  their privileged positions, “...And the common people heard him gladly.  And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,  And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:  Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” (Mark 12:37-40 see also Luke 20:45-47). 

Christ Rebukes Pharisees

At this point Christ delivered a stinging rebuke against the Pharisees for their pretentious behaviours, “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,  Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:1-12).

Their hypocritical pretensions were putting a barrier between men and God and hindering believers from salvation, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?  And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?  Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.  And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.  And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.” (Matthew 23:13-22)

Their concerns were focused on physical aspects of religion rather than the more important  spiritual matters,  “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:23-28).

He said that they are in a state of denial and refused to acknowledge that their own sins were worse than their forbears, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:29-38).  Notice how he spoke to them in the first person as the one who was there at the time.  He was the Alpha and Omega, the one who was with God at the beginning and will be with him at the end (John 1:1 and I Corinthians 15:24-28).

He concluded his stinging rebuke by telling them that this would be the last time he would address them in this manner until they changed their ways and accepted him as their saviour, “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:39).   For them that time will be when they are resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment period after the Millennium (Revelation 20:11-15).

Widow's Mite

From that point on his words were reserved for his disciples.  To them he demonstrated that God is not fooled by the great shows of righteousness put on by the religious leaders.  He did this through the example of the widow they saw casting her contribution into the temple collection.  The meagre contribution from her sustenance was far greater in the eyes of God than the great contributions made by the rich from their surpluses, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:41-44).

Private Time with Disciples

After that as Christ was leaving the temple with his disciples one of them said, “...Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:1-2).  He was predicting the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

On an earlier occassion at the beginning of his public in ministry (John 2:12-17) when he drove the money changers from the temple with a whip the Jews said unto him, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?  Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body.  When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” (John 2:18-22).  The Jews did not understand that he was talking about his body being a temple.  During his trial false witnesses unsuccessfully claimed he had said he would rebuild the temple in three days.

Until Christ Returns

Later that day on the Mount of Olives, after they had returned to Bethany, he explained to his disciples privately what would happen in the future and what those who believe would need to do.  He said that there would continue to be wars, earthquakes and famines.  But there would come a time of severe persecution on believers that would result in betrayals and martyrdom.  He said that many will come in his name, some even claiming to be him.  These things do not necessarily signal the end of the age.  When the end comes there will be many false prophets deceiving many.  It will be a time when sin abounds and love has diminished.  But before it comes the gospel will be preached to all the world as a witness.  Those who believe will have to endure these thing to obtain salvation, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:3-14).  The preaching of the gospel to all the world will be done by the two witnesses who precede the return of Christ (Revelation 11:3-12).

Christ then elaborated on the persecution that would come upon the church.  He spoke of a time when those in Judea will have to flee and indeed the early church did have to flee to Pella just before Jerusalem was sacked and the temple destroyed in 70AD.  Many believe that this also applies to a time at the very end just before Christ returns, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:15-26).  

The end-time will come upon a world subject to much tribulation and a great deal of religious deception from false prophets and those claiming to be Christ who may even appear to have miraculous powers.  But when the real Christ returns it will be preceded by heavenly signs.  They will appear after the troubled times he mentioned.  The world will see the power and glory of Christ when those who have been called to salvation in this age along with those who have died in faith will be gathered from the earth as they are raised to eternal life, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:27-31).

He said that no man knows when this event will occur but followers of Christ will be able to discern when the time approaches if they are spiritually prepared and are watching the trends, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,  And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:32-51).

The Holy Spirit

Christ then proceeded to tell his disciples about the sort of preparation required for salvation.   Through the parable of the ten virgins he explained what is expected of those who are given God's Holy Spirit.  Having the Holy spirit is a prerequisite for salvation and each recipient has the responsibility to use this precious gift in preparing as a bride for marriage.  The wedding garment in which they are to be arrayed (Revelation 19:8) is the righteousness of God.  Righteousness is a fruit of God's Spirit (Ephesians 5:9).  Those who are given the Spirit must use it wisely and not let it be quenched, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:1-13).  Being clothed in righteousness not only applied to his disciples at that time but is applicable to every single person if they are to receive eternal life, whether now, in the Millennium or during the White Throne Judgment period.   That includes the Jews who will not receive eternal life until they accept Christ as their saviour, repent and receive God's Holy Spirit  We are all to be part of the Biride of Christ (see our article - 'Bride of Christ'.

Spiritual Gifts

In addition to the Holy Spirit believers are given spiritual gifts, or talents, according to their ability and circumstances with which they are to help others to salvation.  Christ was indicating that God expects the gifts to be used productively, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 2:14-30).

There are similarities between the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:19-27) and the parable of the talents (above) but they were used for different purposes.  The parable of the pounds was used to show that there would be a time lapse between Christ's departure and his return (Luke 19:11) and the parable of the talents was to show believers what they are to do during that time.

Judgment

Christ then talked about the type of judgment that he will administer to mankind when he returns, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:31-46).  All humanity will be subject to the same type of judgment.  Those who have been called by God during this age and have received the Holy Spirit are being judged as they live their daily lives.  Those called during the Millennium after Christ returns and those resurrected to the Great White throne Judgment time will also be judged in a similar fashion when they are given the Holy Spirit to help them prepare for the Kingdom.  Individuals are to be judged on how they develop fruits of the Spirit and how they utilize the spiritual gifts they are given.   

Two Days Before Passover – 13 Nisan (Tuesday)

In the evening two days before the Passover the Chief Priests, scribes and elders were plotting to kill Christ,“And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.  Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,  And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.  But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.” (Matthew 26:1-5).

While this was happening Christ and his disciples were dining in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.  But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?  For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.  When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.  For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.  For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13 see also Mark 14:1-9).  As previously mentioned this supper that took place two days before Passover in the house of Simon the leper and is not to be confused with the supper that took place in Jericho at the house of Christ's friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary four days earlier where Mary anointed Christ's feet.   At Simon the Leper's place in Bethany an unnamed woman anointed Christ's head rather than his feet.

It was during this meal, or soon after that Judas made arrangements to betray Christ, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.  And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16 see also Mark 14:10-11 and Luke 22:1-6).  According to Luke's account Judas, “...sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.” (Luke 22:6).

One  Day Before Passover – 14 Nisan (Wednesday)

The Last Supper

When the sunset that signaled the beginning of the preparation day approached, Christ asked his disciples to make the appropriate arrangements for the Passover.  It was during the preparation day which was often called the first Day of the Unleavened Bread season that the lambs were killed.  They were killed in the afternoon so that they could be eaten at the Passover meal that took place after sunset (see our Article 'The Truth About Passover' for further details), “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?  And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.  And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?  And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.  And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.” (Mark14:12-16).

After preparing the room Christ and his disciples sat down for a supper after the sunset.  This was on the evening of 14 Nisan which was the beginning of the preparation day, “And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.  And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.  And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?  And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.  The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:17-21).  It was not the Passover meal itself which took place twenty four hours later on the evening of 15 Nisan.  John confirms this when he said that the foot washing took place supper had endedwhich was before the Feast of the Passover, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.  And supper being ended...” (John 13:1-2).  Clearly the supper Christ had with his disciples ended before the Feast of the Passover even began.  He was crucified during the daylight hours that followed which was on the preparation day before Passover (John 19:14).  He was committed to the tomb before Passover began (John 19:31 and 42). 

Memorial Established

During the meal Christ established a ceremony for his followers to use as a memorial. He knew that his sacrifice would take place the next day at exactly the same time as the lambs were to be sacrificed for Passover, “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.  And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”(Mark 14:22-25).

He washed their feet and instructed them to wash one another's feet to give them a true perspective of real leadership, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13: 4-17).

While John recorded the instruction relating to the foot washing ceremony, Luke recorded a related discussion about leadership that may have preceded or followed the instruction, “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.  And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.  But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.  For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.   Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.  And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;  That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:24-30).

Peter's Denial Foretold

Christ then predicted Peter's denial, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.   And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.  And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.  For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.  And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” (Luke 22:31-38).

After the meal Judas went out to betray Christ.  His departure was followed by a lengthy discussion that only John recorded.  Because Christ elaborated on some very important spiritual concepts that many of his disciples had previously found hard to understand (John 6:48-66) we will include details of this discussion.

Judas Betrays Christ

Knowing that one of his friends would betray him (Psalm 41:9) Christ said, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.  Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.  When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.  Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.  For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.  He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” (John 13:18-32).

Having introduced the subject of his glorification Christ talked about his death and what they were to do in his absence, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:33-35).  His disciples were reminded of what he had told the scribes only two days previously(Mark 12:28-34) about loving God and neighbour.  He told his disciples that their love for each other would distinguish them from the world.   He also mentioned that just before he returns the love of many will wax cold (Matthew 24:12). 

Peter's Question

Peter asks where he was going and why he could not follow, “Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” (John 13:36-38).

Christ reassured him and explained that he would return eventually to receive them, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4).  Although he had explained this to them earlier (Matthew 24:31) they did not fully comprehend what he told them.  

Thomas's Question

Thomas asked about the way, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7).   Christ explained that the way into God's Kingdom was through him and involved a spiritual conversion so that they would  become like him and his Father.

Philip's Question

Philip wanted to know what the Father was like.  Christ explained that having seen the Son, they have seen the Father because the same Spirit that is the very essence and mind of the Father dwells in him.  What he said and did was what the Father said and did through him.  He told them that when they receive the same Holy Spirit they too will do great works for the Father, “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:8-14)

The Comforter

Christ went on to reassure them that his death did not mean an end to his presence with them. He said that after he died the same spiritual essence and mind of God that is in both the Father and Christ which is the Holy Spirit and eternal life, would be available to them.   He said they must continue to obey the things he commanded and maintain their love for both him and the Father.  In order for them to receive the Spirit Christ had to die, but he promised to manifest himself to them as proof of his resurrection.  He said the Holy Spirit would enable them to understand and teach the spiritual things that had been revealed to them.  He told them not to be afraid, these things must take place as it was the Father's will, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrancewhatsoever I have said unto you.  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.  Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.  But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” (John 14:15-31).  He says very clearly that the comforter they will receive is the Holy Spirit. 

When he said that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance, he was saying that the Spirit would enable them to remember the very words he spoke.  His words were a testimony of what the Father had told him.  Their role was to preach Christ’s testimony.  They were not to let their 'heart be troubled' nor to 'be afraid' but through the power of the Spirit go and preach what they had witnessed fearlessly. 

The Vine

Christ then explained how he is the spiritual vine through whom the Holy Spirit is distributed and that God is the vine dresser who provides everything to ensure the branches bring forth an abundance of fruit.  To flourish and bring forth fruit they must remain connected to the vine by living the way of life Christ had taught them and they would do that by obeying what he had said out of love for Him rather than out of necessity, or fear as a servant would.  Because of this he regarded them as friends.  He said the way of life he had taught them would lead to eternal life, any other way would cut them off from the vine and lead to eternal death, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (John 15:1-17).  

They were commissioned to fulfill their role which is to teach the very words of the Father that Christ had spoken to them by using the spiritual gifts he had promised.  They were to remain firmly attached to Christ by obeying his commandments and maintaining their love for each other.  Christ was proving his love by laying down his life and expected them to lay down their lives for the testimony they had been chosen to preach.  In doing this they would produce much spiritual fruit.

Persecution to be Expected

Because the way of life he taught was alien to the world, he said they should expect to be hated and persecuted when they continued to bear witness of Christ and his testimony, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:18-27).

Christ was telling them these things in advance so they would not be distressed when the persecution came from those who claimed to know God but didn't, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.  But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.”  (John 16:1-4).

They will be Received

He explained that it was necessary for him to depart so the Holy Spirit could be made available to them,   “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?  But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:5-16).

Christ's Departure for Their Benefit

Because some were still confused he further explained that his departure was for their benefit, “Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?  They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.  Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?  Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.  And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:  For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.  His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.  Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.  Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:17-33). 

Christ Prays for His Apostles

When at last they understood and believed what he was saying, Christ's work was finished.  He had completed his testimony about the Father and the plan of salvation for mankind of which they were now witnesses.  He prayed not only for their protection but also for the protection of those who would believe their witness as they spread the words he had given them.  He prayed that they too will be glorified like him when they have completed their work and are resurrected to be with God, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:1-26).

Prayer

Having said these things Christ went out into the Garden of Gethsemane and separated himself from his disciples to pray on his own in preparation for the ordeal that was ahead,“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.  And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.  And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”(Mark 14:32-36).

According to Luke the prayer was very intense, “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.   And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44).

After which, “…he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?  Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.  And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.  And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.  And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.” (Mark 14:37-42).

Christ's Arrest

At that moment Judas returned with a great multitude of armed officers, the captains of the temple, Chief Priests and elders (Sanhedrin), “And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.  And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.  And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.  And they laid their hands on him, and took him.  And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.” (Mark 14:43-47).  According to Luke the disciples were prepared to defend Christ (Luke 22:49).  John said that Peter cut off the ear of Malchus (John 18:10) and Christ when he told Peter to put the sword away (Matthew 26:52-53) then “touched the ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51).

It should be noted that in John's account the men and officers from the Chief Priests and Pharisees carried lanterns and torches indicating that this event took place in the middle of the night (John 18:3).  He also mentioned that the officers were so astonished at his answer that they fell over backwards.  They were astonished that Christ said he was "I AM' which is who the God of the Old Testament said he was (see our article 'Who Spoke').  By adding the word 'he' in italica after "I AM' the translators have diminished the impact of Christ's statement.  There is no other valid reason for them to fall over (John 18:6-9 see also John 8:58).  They were literally knocked over in astonishment at his answer to their question.

Christ then castigated them for coming as if he were a thief rather than out in the open when he had taught in the temple, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?  I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.   And they all forsook him, and fled.  And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:  And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.” (Mark 14:48-52).  It has been speculated that the one who fled may have been Lazarus whom they also wanted to kill. 

Christ is Questioned by Annas

They led Christ, bound, (John 18:12) to Annas a former High Priest who still had great influence over,  and gave counsel to, his son-in-law Caiaphas the official High Priest at the time of Christ's trial, “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.  And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.  But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.  Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.  And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.  Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.  Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.  And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?  Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?  Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.” (John 18:12-24).

Christ's Trial

The trial took place at the palace of the High Priest, where he was taken before an assembly of chief priests, elders (Sanhedrin) and scribes, “And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.  And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.  And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.  For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.  And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,  We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.  (This refers to what he had said earlier - John 2:19) But neither so did their witness agree together.  And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?  But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?  Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.” (Mark 14:53-65).  It was a sham of a trial in which an attempt to use false witnesses failed.   In order  to deliver a predetermined death sentence the High Priest then accused Christ of blasphemy.  Not only was the trial illegal in terms of Jewish laws it was rushed so that the verdict of death could be administered before the Passover which was fast approaching.

Peter's Denial

In the mean time, “And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:  And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.  But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.  And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.  And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.  But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.  And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.” (Mark 14:66-72).  Although it was still dark outside Christ was able to turn and see Peter in the light of the fires in the courtyard and Peter also saw him at the very moment the cock sounded the approach of dawn (Luke 22:60-62).

Jews Beat Christ

Having reached their verdict the Jews began to mock and beat Christ.  When the day began to dawn they led him to Pilate, “And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.  And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?  And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.  And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,  Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:  And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.  Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.  Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.  And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.” (Luke 22:63 to Luke 23:1).

Judas Commits Suicide

It was about this time that Judas realized what he had done and committed suicide, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:  And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.  Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,  Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.  And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.  And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.  And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.  Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;  And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.” (Matthew 27:1-10, Zechariah 11:13).

Christ Before Pilate

It was still early when Christ was brought before Pilate to whom the Jews made their accusations.   Pilate discussed those accusations with Christ, “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.  Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?  They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.  Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:  That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.  Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?  Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?  Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.  Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.” (John 18:28-38 see Luke 23:1-4).

When Pilate said that he found no fault with Christ the Jews responded fiercely, “And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.” (Luke 23:5). 

Christ Before Herod

Realizing that Christ was a Galilean Pilate sent him before Herod who was visiting Jerusalem at that time, “When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.  And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.  And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.  Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.  And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.  And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.  And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” (Luke 23:6-12).  Once again Christ was mocked and the soldiers dressed him in a purple robe before delivering him back to Pilate.

Call for Barabbas' Release

After Christ was returned Pilate addressed the Jews again before passing sentence, “And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,  Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:  No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.  I will therefore chastise him, and release him.  (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)  And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:  (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)  Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.  But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.  And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.  And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.  And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.  And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.” (Luke 23:13-25).   Some of those who only days before had shouted praise and hailed Christ as king  now shouted for his crucifixion.

Barabbas Released

Having made the decision Pilate then released Barabbas according to the custom and as requested by the Jews, Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.  When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.  The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”(Matthew 27:15-26).

Pilate Passes Sentence on Christ

John, who wrote his account after the other gospel writers and filled in the gaps by describing the scourging and gave further details of the discussions between Pilate and Christ, and between Pilate and the Jews, Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.  And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.  Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.  Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!  When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.  The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.  When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.  Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?  Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.  And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.  When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.” (John 19:1-13 see also Matthew 27:27-32).

This happened early as it was becoming light around the sixth hour (6am) according to Roman reckoning.  The Romans count the hours one to twelve from midnight and from midday, whereas the Jews counted the hours one to twelve from sunset and from sunrise.  John reckoned the hours by the Roman method while Matthew, Mark and Luke used the Jewish reckoning, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.” (John 19:14-16).

The Crucifixion

As they led him away to Galgotha many began to wail and weep.  Christ said for them not to weep for him but to weep for Jerusalem and the tribulations that shall befall it as a consequence of what the authorities were doing to him, “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.  And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”(Luke 23:26-31).  His last sentence implies that if the Romans allowed the innocent to be treated like this what will they do when dealing with the guilty.  And indeed when Jerusalem was sacked in 70 AD the Roman soldiers were slaughtered its citizens without restraint.   

It is believed that the Romans gave those being crucified drugged wine to dull the pain.  As predicted in Psalm 69:21 this was offered to Christ.  He refused the drink and remained conscious during the crucifixion, “And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, (Calvary – according to Luke 23:33) that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink” (Matthew 27:33-34). 

Despite protests from the Jews Pilate insisted that an inscription he wrote be placed on the stake, “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.” (John 19:19-22).

It had been foretold that they would pierce Christ's hands and feet (Psalm 22:16) and cast lots for his garments (Psalm 22:18).  Knowing this Christ asked God to have mercy on them, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34).  Then they crucified him, “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.  They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.” (John 19:23-26).

Even in his greatest agony Christ was mindful of the needs of his mother and made provision for her, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:25-27)

His crucifixion began at the third hour after sunrise (Mark 15:25)which was 9am on the preparation day for the Passover.

Two Thieves 

The prophecy that he would be "numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12) was fulfilled when a thief was crucified either side of him, “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.  And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,  And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.  Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,  He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.  He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.  The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” (Matthew 27:38-44)

    Christ spoke to them, “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43).  This did not mean that the thieves would go straight to God's Kingdom that very day.  It meant that the events taking place that day would result in them having the opportunity to enter God's Kingdom at the appropriate time.  By sacrificing his life Christ would “...bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12).  At a later stage they will be resurrected to life and be given the opportunity to repent and be converted along with everyone else.   

    Moment of Death 

    From the 6th hour which was noon by Jewish reckoning, until the ninth hour (3pm) when Christ died the sun was supernaturally darkened, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.  And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.  The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.  Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.  And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:  Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.” (Matthew 27:45-56). 

At the exact moment Christ died some incredible things happened.  As foretold Christ's Spirit was redeemed by his Father (Psalm 35:1).  The veil in the temple was rent in two signifying that the way into the Holy of Holies was now open to all mankind who can,“enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19) so, “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (verse 17)and, “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (verse 20).  This was exactly what he had indicated to the two thieves only three hours earlier.  The process for redemption was established by Christ's death.  At that very time many saints who had previously died were miraculously resurrected to physical life and the walked among them.  

Because Passover was approaching the Jews had sought to hasten Christ's death, but when they checked the soldiers found that he had already died, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:  But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.  And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:31-37).

It was Zechariah who said, “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).  The instruction had been given by God not to break the bones of the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12) and Christ our Passover sacrifice (I Corinthians 5:7) was the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).  His legs were not broken.  The timing of Christ's death could not have been more perfectly planned because 3pm was the exact time the Priests of the Temple sacrificed the Passover lambs for the citizens of Jerusalem.  Christ was the Passover lamb for the family of God.  All those called into that family are protected by the blood of the Lamb of God.  Just as the Old Covenant with Israel was sealed with blood (Exodus 24:6-8) so too the New Covenant was now sealed by the blood, not of bulls but of Christ himself.  

Christ's Body Placed in the Tomb

After he died one of the Sanhedrin who had believed Christ but had been out voted by the others requested his body for burial, “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.  And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.  And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.” (Mark 16:42-45).

Joseph described as a “rich man” (Matthew 27:57) was also “...a good man, and a just:  (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 23:50-51).  And was, “...a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38).

Joseph was accompanied by Nicodemus another member of the Sanhedrin who was described as, “a man of the Pharisees... ...a ruler of the Jews:” (John 3:1).  They brought spices for the burial and took Christ's body to be entombed, “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.” (John 19:39-42).  According to Matthew's account it was Joseph's tomb in which they laid Christ, “..laid it (the body of Christ) in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.  And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.” (Matthew 27:60-61).  Having seen where Christ was laid, “And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.” (Luke 23:55).  The women went home to prepare more spices for when the tomb would opened in three days time, “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56).

A stone was then rolled over the entrance, “And he (Joseph) bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.” (Mark 16:46).

The next day the Chief Priests asked Pilate to place a guard over the tomb, “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,  Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.  Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.  Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.  So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matthew 27:62-66).

Three Days and Three Nights

The Jews reckoned their days from sunset to Sunset.  So the Jews wanted Christ's body to be buried prior sunset on 14 Nisan before they celebrated Passover.  In this particular year 14 Nisan was a Wednesday.  So Christ was buried just before sunset on Wednesday evening.  The following day (Thursday) was an annual Sabbath, the first day of Unleavened Bread, which is a high day, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” (John 19:31).  It was not the weekly Sabbath but an annual Sabbath.  The Jews ate the Passover meal after the sunset that began the First Day of Unleavened Bread (15 Nisan)- [See our article entitled ‘The Truth About Passover’].  The next day (Friday) was the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) that followed.  And it was on this preparation day that the women prepared spices for when the tomb would be opened, “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56).  The three days and three nights in which Christ was to be in the grave extended from sunset Wednesday to sunset Saturday.  The women could not prepare the spices on the first Day of Unleavened Bread (Thursday) which was an annual Sabbath, nor on Saturday which was the weekly Sabbath, so they must prepared them on the Thursday in anticipation of the tomb being opened sometime after sunset on Saturday.  They couldn't do it earlier because there was a watch set and the soldiers wouldn't have allowed them anywhere near the body.

After the Third Day

On the Sunday, the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and other women including Salome (Mark 16:1) and Joanna (Luke 24:10), returned to the tomb in which Christ had been laid, “...bringing the spices which they had prepared,” (Luke 24:1).  It was after the Sabbath had ended, around early dawn on Sunday morning, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.” (Matthew 28:1-8).

According to John, Mary then went to fetch two of the disciples who came to look, “Then she (Mary Magdalene) runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.  Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.  So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.  And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.  Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,  And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.  Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.  For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.  Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.” (John 20:2-10 see also Luke 24:11-12).

Two Angels

Continuing in John's account Mary saw two angels in the tomb after the disciples had departed, “...Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,  And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:11-13). 

John focuses on Mary as if she were alone, but the accounts of Mathew and Luke confirm that there were other women with her.  Luke said that the other women saw the two angels standing beside them.  Mary saw the angels first in the tomb and the others must have seen them minutes later outside the tomb, “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.  And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.  It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.” (Luke 24:4-10).

Mary Encounters Christ

Before they left the vicinity of the tomb Mary turned back and saw Christ, “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” (John 20:14-18 see also Mark 16:9). 

When Mary caught up with the other women Christ appeared to all the women, “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.  Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.” (Matthew 28:9-10).  He reminded them to tell the brethren to go to Galilee where they would also see him.

The disciples apparently did not believe Mary when she reported the incident, “And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.  And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.” (Mark 16:10-11).  According to John they assembled that night behind closed doors because they feared the Jews (John 20:19).  The instruction to go to Galilee was for their own protection.

In the meantime some the soldiers who were guarding the tomb had reported to the Chief Priests who with the sanction of the Sanhedrin bribed them to say the body was stolen, “Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.  And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,  Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.  And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.  So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” (Matthew 28:11-15).

Christ Walks With Two Disciples

After his encounter with Mary Christ was seen by two other disciples.  Their report was not believed either, “After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.  And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.” (Mark 16:12-13). 

Luke indicated that Christ spent a considerable amount of time with these two, “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.” (Luke 24:13-29).

After Christ ate with them they returned to Jerusalem and told the other disciples, “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.  And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” (Luke 24:30-35).  Their statement that Christ had appeared to Peter indicates that either there was a separate unrecorded encounter between Christ and Peter, or that Peter was  Cleopas' companion.  In 1 Corinthians 15:5 Paul also indicates that Christ had been seen by Peter.

Christ Appears to the Disciples

According to John Christ found them hiding behind closed doors in fear of the Jews, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;” and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (John 20:19-23).

Luke provides further details of their encounter with Christ that night, “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.” (Luke 24:36-40).

According to John Thomas was did not believe them when they relayed the details of this encounter, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-25).

Luke continued his account, “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat before them.  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:41-49).

They were instructed to wait in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4, 2:1) until Pentecost when they would receive the 'comforter ' (Holy Spirit) and spiritual gifts that Christ had promised.  The spiritual gifts were to help them accurately preach to all nations the testimony of Christ which they had witnessed.

Mark said that Christ, “...upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” (Mark 16:14).   The rest of Mark's account appears to be a brief summary of Christ's instructions that were delivered over the next few weeks rather than at this particular meal, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”  (Mark 16:15-20).

After the meal they walked with Christ as far as Bethany and then returned to Jerusalem, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:  And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Luke 24:50-53).   

Eight Days Later

Eight days later behind the same closed doors Christ appeared again to the disciples, And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:26-31).  

On the Sea of Tiberias

After meeting twice with the Apostles behind closed doors in Jerusalem, once without Thomas and eight days later with Thomas, Christ next met with them  at the Sea of Tiberias in Galilee where he had instructed them to go (Matthew 28:7, 10), “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.  Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.  But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.  And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.  And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.  As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.  Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.  Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.  Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.  Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.” (John 21:1-14).

It was during this meal at the Sea of Tiberias that Christ also gave them specific instruction to provide spiritual nourishment for those called to salvation, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17).   

He then told Peter that his calling may cost him his life, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” (John 21:18-19).

Peter asked about John, “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:20-25).

Over Five Hundred in Galilee Saw Christ

Obviously these were not the only appearances he made after his resurrection as Paul later confirmed, “...Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”  (I Corinthians 15:3-8).   Acts 1:3 indicates that he showed himself to the Apostles and spoke to them during the course of forty days.  It is also important to note that Paul spent time with the resurrected Christ at a later date during his three years in Arabia (Galatians 1:15-18).

Some of the wider body of disciples who had not seen Christ since his resurrection still had doubts, but when heappeared to them in Galilee and spoke those doubts would have disappeared, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:16-20).   According to Paul (I Corinthians 15:3-8 above) over five hundred at one time saw him and heard him speak during these occasions.  

Paul also indicated that after speaking to the crowd of more than five hundred Christ appeared to his brother James and then all the apostles, “After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.” (I Corinthians 15:7).  His meeting with James his brother who had previously doubted him (John 7:5) was probably of a private and personal nature after which James believed and became a  prominent leader in the Church at Jerusalem (Galatians 1:19, 2:9 and Acts 12:17).

 After meeting with James, Christ, as Paul indicated, met once more with all the Apostles before he departed, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,  Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” (Acts 1:1-14).

After this Peter organised the election of an Apostle from among the 120 disciples to replace Judas who had betrayed Christ (Acts 1:15-26). The lot fell upon Matthias who became the twelfth Apostle.

When the Day of Pentecost arrived they were all gathered together in Jerusalem where Christ had told them to tarry.  The Day of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, is a Holy Day that is determined by counting fifty days starting with the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the seven Days of Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:9-10, Leviticus 23:15-17).  The counting started from the time Christ was resurrected.  He rose immediately after the sunset that ended the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread after spending three nights and three days in the grave.   And it was on the Day of Pentecost that Christ fulfilled his promise to provide his disciples with the comforter (John 14:15-31) and the spiritual gifts (Matthew 25:14-30, I Corinthians 12:1-31) that enabled them to preach the gospel of Christ. 

Gospel Preached to All Nations

Beginning at Jerusalem the gospel (good news) was preached to all nations (Matthew 28:19, Luke 24:47) just as Christ had instructed, And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”  (Acts 2:1-5).

And so began the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.  It was not just a gospel about Jesus Christ himself, but the good news that Christ brought from the Father about salvation and the Kingdom of God.   His testimony was witnessed and faithfully recorded by the twelve Apostles who were with Christ throughout his ministry.  They along with more than five hundred other people saw and heard the resurrected Christ whom they began to preach with signs and wonders (Acts 2:43, 4:33, 5:12).  They fulfilled Joel's prophecy, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:16-21 and Joel 2:28-32).

By compiling the four separate eye witness accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we have traced the journey of Christ and his disciples as they passed through Jericho and on to Jerusalem where he rode into the city on the colt of an ass to prepare the way of the salvation for all humanity.  We have seen how he briefed his Apostles both before and after his resurrection and empowered them with the Spirit to faithfully record and teach the testimony of which they were witnesses.   And in the book of Acts we read how those Apostles began to take the testimony they had witnessed to the world.  Through the prophets and the Apostles Christ established a foundation of teaching (doctrine) that is still as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago.  Christ himself being the chief cornerstone of that foundation.  What an amazing sequence of events!

We now have a better understanding of what was accomplished during the week leading up to the Passover and the seven weeks that followed until Pentecost.  We have seen prophesies were fulfilled (Acts 3:18) to prove beyond doubt that Christ was the Messiah.  He was the one who brought salvation to the world and now sits on the throne of David.  He was the one in whom all families of the earth will be blessed (Acts 3:25-26).  Through his sacrifice he has made it possible for sin to be forgiven so we can be reconciled to God.  The importance of these events cannot be ignored – they have a powerful impact on the lives of all humanity.

End

Further Recommended Reading:

Church Doctrine - The Role of the Apostles  What is an Apostle?  What was the role of an Apostle in the early Church?  Does that role have any relevance for us today?  Does it have anything to do with our salvation? 

The Truth About Passover  Is the Lord’s Supper the same as Passover?  Was Christ restoring the Passover to its correct date, or was he introducing an entirely new ceremony for his followers?  These questions have been debated in religious circles for centuries without agreement.  How can you be sure that you have the truth?   What does your Bible say? 

Marred More Than Any Man  The astonishment Christ's followers experienced when they saw his marred visage and body at the time he was crucified is only a shadow of the astonishment the world will experience when the truth of Isaiah’s prophecy is revealed in its fullness.  

The Sacrifice  While on earth was Christ's sacrifice merely giving up His physical life albeit in a cruel and torturous way? Were His earnest tears and prayers solely for courage to bear a terrible physical death?  What was the Father’s role?  What was the price Christ – and His Father - paid so that we could attain eternal life?

Messenger of the Covenant  He came to them with a message.  They refused to listen and killed the messenger!  The enormity of what they had done was not realised until much later when their city was put under siege and destroyed.  According to one eye witness around 1,100,000 people died in the slaughter.


 Appendix I     

  Chart of Events Over Eleven Days          
 
  ROMAN HEBREW      
  CALENDAR CALENDAR    
           
    8 Nisan      
  THURSDAY     Arrived Jericho - Healed blind beggar at city gate    
    sunset   Supper with Zacchaeus that evening    
  midnight     Left Jericho in morning  - Healed second blind beggar at city gate  
    9 Nisan   Healed two blind men on wayside    
  FRIDAY   Arrived Bethany    
    sunset   Supper with Lazarus, Mary and Martha that evening  
  midnight     [Christ's feet anointed by Mary]    
    10 Nisan   Picked up colt from Bethphage in morning    
  SATURDAY        
    sunset   Triumphant  Entry into Jerusalem    
  midnight     Cursed Fig tree                                                             
    11 Nisan   Cleared Temple (Mark's Account)            
  SUNDAY     Taught in the Temple    
    sunset      
  midnight     Found fig tree withered      
    12 Nisan   Taught in the Temple    
  MONDAY        
    sunset   Supper with Simon the Leper that evening                                  
  midnight     [Christ's Head anointed by unnamed woman]    
    13 Nisan   Taught in the Temple      
  TUESDAY                                       
    sunset          
  midnight Preparation Day   Last Supper with Disciples after which Christ arrested  
    14 Nisan   Trial by Jews - then brought before Pilot and Herod  
  WEDNESDAY     CRUCIFIXION Christ dies at 3pm    
    sunset ------------------------- ------------ Christ buried before sunset    
  midnight Passover     |    
    15 Nisan   |    
  THURSDAY     |    
    sunset   Christ is three days and nights in the grave  
  midnight     |    
    16 Nisan   |    
  FRIDAY     |    
    sunset   |      
  midnight     |    
    17 Nisan   |    
  SATURDAY     |    
    sunset ------------ ------------ CHRIST ROSE AFTER SUNSET  
  midnight   Mary and other women visit tomb    
    18 Nisan    
  SUNDAY      
    sunset    
  midnight                                                                                                                         

_________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                       

             Appendix II 

Harmony of Key Events in the Four Gospels

        MATTHEW

         MARK

       LUKE

JOHN

Christ Prepares Disciples for Jerusalem

Matthew 20:17-19,28

Mark 10:32-34

Luke 18:31-34

-

8 Days Before Passover – 7 Nisan (Wednesday)

Approaching Jericho - Healing First Blind Beggar

-

Mark 10:46-52

Luke 18:35-43

-

Supper with Zaccheaus in Jericho

-

-

Luke  19:1-27

-

7 Days Before Passover – 8 Nisan (Thursday)

Depart from Jericho - Healing Second Blind Beggar

Matthew 20:29

Mark 10:46-52

-

-

Healing Two Blind Men

Matthew 20:30-34

-

-

-

Six Days Before Passover - 9 Nisan (Friday)

Arrive at Bethany

-

-

-

John 12:1-11

Five Days Before Passover – 10 Nisan (Saturday)

Bethphage

Matthew 21:1-7

Mark 11:1-7

Luke 19:28-35

John 12:12-16

Approaching Jerusalem

Matthew 21:8-11

Mark 11:8-10

Luke 19:36-44

-

 Priest and Scribes Upset

Matthew 21:14-16

-

-

John 12:17-19

Return to Bethany

Matthew 21:17

Mark 11:11

-

-

Four Days Before Passover – 11 Nisan (Sunday)

Fig Tree Cursed

Matthew 21:18-19a

Mark 11:12-14

-

-

Temple Cleared

Matthew 21:12-13

Mark 11:15-19

Luke 19:45-48

-

Christ Speaks to Jews from Greece

-

-

-

John 12:20-50

Three Days Before Passover – 12 Nisan (Monday)

Fig Tree Withered

Matthew  21:19b-22

Mark 11:20-26

-

-

Christ’s Authority Questioned

Matthew  21:23-27

Mark 11:27-33

Luke 20:1-8

-

Parable - Two Sons

Matthew  21:28-32

-

-

-

Parable – Vineyard Owner

Matthew  21:33-46

Mark 12:1-12

Luke 20:9-20

-

Parable - Wedding Feast

Matthew  22:1-14

-

-

-

Questions and Answers - Herodians

Matthew  22:15-22

Mark 12:13-17

Luke 20:21-26

-

Questions and Answers -Sadducees

Matthew  22:23-33

Mark !2:18-27

Luke 20:27-40

-

Questions and Answers - Scribes 

Matthew  22:34-40

Mark 12:28-34

-

-

Questions and Answers - Christ

Matthew 22:41-46

Mark 12:35-40

Luke20:41-47

-

Christ Rebukes Pharisees

Matthew  23:1-39

-

-

-

Widow’s Mite

-

Mark 12:41-44

Luke 21:1-4

-

Leaving Temple

Matthew  24:1-2

Mark 13:1-2

Luke 21:5-6

-

Christ Discusses His Return with Disciples on Mount of Olives

Matthew  24:3-51

Mark 13:3-37

Luke 21:7-38

-

Christ Talks Aboutthe Holy Spirit - Ten Virgins

Matthew  25:1-13

-

-

-

Christ Talks AboutSpiritual gifts - Talents

Matthew  25:14-30

-

-

-

Christ Talks About Judgement

Matthew  25:31-46

-

-

-

Two Days Before Passover – 13 Nisan (Tuesday)

Matthew 26:1-2

Mark 14:1

Luke 22:1

-

Priests Plot to Kill Christ

Matthew 26:3-5

Mark  14:1-2

Luke 22:2

-

Supper with Simon the Leper

Matthew 26:6-13

Mark  14:3-9

-

-

Judas Confers with Priests

Matthew 26:14-16

Mark 14:10-11

Luke 22:3-6

-

One Day Before Passover – 14 Nisan (Wednesday)

Room Prepared for the Last Supper

Matthew 26:17-19

Mark 14:12-16

Luke 22:7-13

John 13:1

The Lord’s Supper

Matthew 26:20-33

Mark 14:17-25

Luke 22:14-30

John 13:2-17

Peter's Denial Foretold

Matthew  26:33-35

Mark 14:26-31

Luke 22:31-38

John 13:36-38

 Christ Speaks to Disciples on Spiritual Matters

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John 14:1 to 16:33

 Christ Prays for His Apostles

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John 17:1:26

Garden of Gethsemane - Christ's Prayer

Matthew 26:36-46

Mark 14:32-42

Luke 22:39-46

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Christ Arrested

Matthew 27:1-26

Mark 15:1-14

Luke 22:47-53

John 18:1-12

Christ is Questioned by Annas

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John 18:13-14

Christ Tried by Jews

Matthew 27:57-68

Mark 14:53-65

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John 18:19-27

Peter Denies Christ

Matthew 27:69-75

Mark 14:66-72

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John 18:15-18

Jews Beat Christ

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Luke 22:63-71

John 18:22

Judas Takes His Own Life

Matthew 27:3-10

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Christ Brought Before Pilate

Matthew 27:11-14

Mark 15:1-14

Luke 23:1-6

John 18:28-38

Christ Brought Before Herod

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Luke  23:7-12

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Christ Brought Before Pilate Again

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Luke 23:13-16

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Call for Barabbus' Release

Matthew 27:15-25

Mark 15:10

Luke 23:17-19

John 18:39

Barabbus Released

Matthew 27:26

Mark 15:15

Luke 23:25  

John 18:40

Pilate Passes Sentence - Christ Scourged and Mocked

Matthew 27:27-32

Mark 15:16-20

Luke 23:20-24

John 19:1-13

The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:33-43

Mark 15:21-26

Luke 23:26-31

John 19:14-27

Two Thieves

Matthew 27:38, 44

Mark 15:27-28

Luke 23:32-33

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Christ’s Death

Matthew 27:45-56

Mark 15:29-41

Luke 23:34-49  

John 19:28-37

Christ's Body Interred

Matthew 27:52-66

Mark 15:29-41  

Luke 23:50-56

John 19:38-40

After the Third Day

Matthew 28:1-8

Mark 16:1-9

Luke 24:1-10

John 20:1-10

Three Days and Three Nights in Tomb

Matthew 28:11-15

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Two Angels

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John 20:11-13

Mary Encounters Christ

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Mark 16:9-11

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John 20:14-17

Some of the Disciples Encounter Christ

Matthew 28:9-10

Mark 16:12-13

Luke 24:13-32  

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Christ Appears to Assembled Disciples

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Mark 16:14-20

Luke 24:33-53  

John 20:19-23

Eight Days Later

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John 24:24-31

On the Sea of Tiberias

Matthew 28:16-20

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John 21:1-25

END

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Lost Ten Tribes

Is the identity of the lost ten tribes of Israel relevant?  See our article Children of the Promises 

Do you know

the difference between the law and a covenant?  Or the difference between commandments, statutes and judgments?  If not make sure you read see our Bible Study on God's Law   

Have You Considered

Jesus Christ said that no one has seen or heard his Father.  So who spoke to Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jacob?  To find out make sure you read our article - Who Spoke.

Do you know who the two witnesses will be?   See our article -  The Two Witnesses.

Will you be part of the bride of Christ? - See our article - Bride of Christ.

Points to Ponder

When we take of the wine and bread in rembrance of Christ's sacrifice are we observing Passover, or the Lord's Supper?  Is there a diference between the two?  If so - what is that diference?

Be sure to read our article on 'The Truth About Passover'

As you are preparing to celebrate the Lord's Supper you may also want to read our new article 'Examine Yourself'