The Week of the Cross
Sozo Short Bible Studies – Category #3 – Church History
Jesus, Our Sabbath and Why: This Short Study speaks of the last Passover (not the actual meal); it will show the overview of events which occurred during the Week of the Cross. Drawing from all of the Gospel accounts, we can see the story unfold and understand how Jesus fulfilled Prophecy and therefore, He is our Sabbath today.
By Pastor G. E. Newmyer
Four Accounts in the Gospel: We have four accounts giving us the written Gospel, each adding to the other covering a time period of no more than 34 years, running from the birth of Christ to the Resurrection. We also find a great deal of the ministry of Jesus centered on one week, which was really nine days long; however, it nonetheless becomes one of great importance. The week began with the Anointed being anointing for burial, ending with the Resurrection of Jesus.
Included in The Week: Although one could say that the actual verses for the week are limited to the ending chapters in each Account, we also find during the ministry of Jesus that He pointed to the week and its importance through teachings, parables and statements. The Book of Revelation tells us that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world; thus we also find that the purpose of the birth of Jesus was the Cross of Jesus. The importance can be seen in other ways, there are 1040 verses in Matthew, 678 in Mark, 1151 in Luke, and 879 in John. Out of those, the specific verses found within the time element of the week of the Cross are 389 in Matthew, 253 in Mark, 313 in Luke and 343 in John, or one-third of the entire Gospel. Not counting the many references made before Jesus was Anointed in Bethany, such as Matthew 17:22-23 where Jesus talked about the Cross, or when John said, “Behold the Lamb of God”, which is a direct reference to the Cross, or when Jesus talked about being Born Again, which was presented after the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection is included in the week, as well as many other Parables and verses pertaining to the week of the Cross, not counting the plans of the religious rulers well before the week regarding putting Jesus to death. All of this shows a great majority of the contextual material in the written Gospel pointing to the one week in all man’s history to bring a change beyond the ability of human existence.
Opening the Street to Heaven: All the way back in Genesis we find that God created the earth in six days; and on the seventh, He did rest. But the creation was from evening to morning. The creation which Jesus made possible, is for the Children of the Day, a New Creation so complex and important it would take more than “six days.” Let’s face it, the week of the Cross is very special. Out of all the time of man from Genesis to the end of time, there would not be another week like it, one special week to change all things by opening the Street to heaven for man by bringing a New Creation from God, a Creation no one is worthy of, but one everyone can have, whether Jew or Gentile.
The Author is the Holy Ghost: The one week was so important the Holy Ghost spent much of the Gospel speaking about it, so do you think it would be nice to know what happened? Yes, not only were many Old Testament prophecies fulfilled, but there are other events helping us in our walk as Christians. We as Christians understand that the four accounts are not the opinions of these four men, they are not what they presumed happened, they are not their viewpoints; rather, these four men were merely scribes, while, the Author is still the Holy Ghost, the information contained in the four accounts prove it.
Four Accounts in the Gospel to make the whole: Natural man reads these accounts and presumes that certain events are in conflict; and then man adds to this presumption with the false thought of the accounts being the opinions, or logic of men. We know that the accounts are named after the men; but we also know, it’s not to give the men some special honor, rather it’s to give us a reference. Just as the chapter and verse numbers were added with the King James Version in order to give us references.
Therefore, if we refer to “Matthew” or “John,” one is not saying these men are the authors; rather it’s for reference only. What other evidence do we have of this? We have The Law of Moses; it was given to Moses and even named after him. But the source was not Moses. If the Gospel was merely what these men thought had happened, all of us would be wasting our time. But Praise be to the Lord; it’s not the case! It’s not the case at all! We will find that the events fit like a heavenly glove, with each account contributing to the other, giving us an overall picture. Yet, if each account is left to its own, it would leave gaps, or unanswered questions. The information in these accounts shows that there is no way the natural mind of man could have put this together.
There are some other matters one must consider: first, Jesus never lied and second, man has a tendency to form traditions. If Jesus said He would be in the grave three days and three nights, and raised on the third day, then He was in the grave three days and three nights and raised on the third day. So, how do the three days and nights fit with being raised on the third day? Perfectly! The accounts will prove it.
Traditions are natural concepts held by one generation, taken as fact by the next generation, then as truth by the next generation, finally ending as “doctrine.” The doctrines of men make the Word of God to no avail; therefore, it behooves us to discern and hold unto the Truth.
Beginning in the house of Lazarus: With that, we begin six days before the Passover in John 12:1. The scene opens in a house in Bethany. In the house was a man by the name of Lazarus, a man raised from the dead by Jesus, a fitting place to begin this week, sitting in a house with a man who Jesus raised from the dead while looking to the moment when Jesus would be Resurrected from the dead.
Jesus is the First Resurrected: We don’t want to confuse what happened to Lazarus as being a “resurrection”; his was more of resuscitation, since Lazarus came back to the same life in the flesh. Thus, Jesus is the first Resurrected from the dead.
Counting the Days as a Jew would, with each day beginning at sunset: According to Matthew and John, the house belongs to one “Simon the Leper” who was the father of Judas (Matt 26:6 & Jn 13:2). The time element helps us; and when we count these “six days,” we must do so as a Jew. The day for the Jew begins at sunset and there are no partial days.
Four Watches: They have four watches for the day and four for the night. If a Jew could use “part days”, then they could “keep the Sabbath” in the morning while claiming that the afternoon is another day. This is not so, since their Sabbath day begins at sunset and runs to sunset the next day.
The Weekly Sabbath and the High Sabbath: The sixth day from this date would be the Passover; and the Passover is connected to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, both of which are outlined in detail in the Law of Moses. The weekly Sabbath was always on a Saturday regardless of the date, but the High Sabbaths were connected to Feast days and they took place on a date regardless of the day of the week. The Passover was always on the 14th of Abib; while the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a High Sabbath beginning on the 15th of Abib (Numb 9:5 & Lev 23:6). Accordingly, the High Sabbath began at sun set on the Passover, meaning that the day change for the Jew is sunset, not midnight.
As we know that Passover really began in Egypt just before the children left the bondage of Pharaoh; and it has stood as a reminder of the delivering power of God ever since. The Feast of Unleavened Bread immediately follows; the Passover was the Preparation day for the High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened bread, since it was the day that the lamb was slain. The weekly Preparation day however, was always Friday, with the weekly Sabbath according to the Commandment, taking place on Saturday. Keeping these Sabbaths separated will be the key to understanding the days of this week. All this shows that the weekly Sabbath is by Commandment and the High Sabbath is by commandment as well; but outlined in the Law of Moses, not in the Ten Commandments.
We’re still six days from the Passover; or better, the sixth day from this point will be Passover. It doesn’t mean that we count six days, then the next day is the Passover. That’s also important; we must keep all these things in mind in order to see how the prophecy of three days and three nights was completed to the letter.
The scene is still in the house of Simon, but the focus has changed to Mary, the sister of Lazarus. She had a pound of expensive ointment of spikenard; and she was in the process of anointing Jesus. Whether she really knew what was about to happen (to Jesus) or not, isn’t clear. What is clear, is that the Week of The Cross begins with an anointing of the Anointed One, or “preparation.” We will find that this sixth day, prior to Passover, was a preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, which makes the next day even more important.
The Scriptures not only show that Judas witnessed this anointing; but he thought it to be a waste and he was able to persuade some of the other disciples into thinking that it was a waste (Matt 26:8) as well. We must take into consideration at this point, that these disciples were not Born Again since the Spirit was not yet given as John 7:39 points out. They were still motivated by what they saw; thus the disciples lacked spiritual awareness. Peter had a revelation, many days prior; but it was not “spiritual awareness,” since he had no idea that his revelation came from the Father until Jesus told him so.
Of course the excuse Judas used was to obtain money, with the guise of feeding the poor, but really, he wanted more money in the bag so he could steal more (Jn 12:5-6) . The reasoning of Judas sounded right; after all, they were sent to feed the poor and every Jew on Passover gave to the poor, the idea being that the more they gave, the greater their life for the following year would be. Wow! Sell the anointing oil and give the money to the poor?….This sounds like a solid Jesus teaching and after all, He told the rich man to do just that, so how can He (Jesus) allow this waste? Based on this logic, Judas’ statement seemed right; and often what seems right to a natural mind, is out of order in the spiritual. After the disciples gained the New Birth, their awareness would change; and they would know that Judas was nothing more than someone who loved power while failing to love the Lord. Judas was among those who allowed their lust to control their life; but at this point in time, including the time of the Passover meal, they were still under the impression that Judas was a key member in the ministry as well as being a trusted member and one so trusted, that the Lord Himself allowed the man to keep the entire ministry treasury. Of course, we know that Jesus knew that Judas was a thief and a devil long before this point in time (Jn 6:70).
When Judas made his objection known, he was told by Jesus, “for the poor always you have with you: but Me you have not always” (Jn 12:8). Didn’t Jesus say He wouldn’t leave them? Yes. What can this mean? Are the poor associated with Judas? No; there are some ministries that are beneficial at any time and feeding the poor is one of them. But there are other ministries happening only once. At the moment Judas had his golden opportunity to say, “Ya Lord, You’re right I’m sorry, forgive me”; but all Judas heard was “poor with you.” To this thief, the saying was never going to come to pass because likely thought that he would make sure the Kingdom would be set up on earth, with him as the treasurer. Judas used his “faith,” but in an evil manner. He made a decision to get what he “hoped fo,r” which was a treasury so great , that the city itself couldn’t hold it. Jesus talked about the kingdom, so all Judas thought that all he had to do, was help matters out a little, usher the kingdom in, and then he would be in control of the treasury of a lifetime.
One time ministries and one time ministry events are important, but we don’t want to lose sight of ministry duties either. The ministry of John the Baptist was a one-time event, as was the ministry of Jeremiah, and especially the one of Jesus. The Cross was a one-time event since it had never happened before and it would not happen again. Does this mean that feeding the poor is a lesser ministry? Not at all. Judas could feed the poor the next day, or in a week, or in a month, or he could use the money he had been stealing and feed the poor. However, this one day was set aside in the time of mankind for one event; and the oil was to be used for one thing and one thing only. To sell the oil would be misusing it; and misusing the things of God is always a transgression.
Transgression and Iniquity: Transgression is crossing the line, or doing something we’re not supposed to; but iniquity is a failure to do what we’re supposed to do or by definition then, being “unequal.” Judas did transgress; but more important he was deep into iniquity. He was a “worker of iniquity” since he worked at it. His iniquity was a failure to care for the charge Jesus placed in his hand. He was given a position; and it was not to tempt him, but to give him the opportunity to deny his self-nature in order to be a trusted servant. Judas became a prime example of the “Lord, Lord haven’t we” people (Matt 7:21-23).
In the case of that verse of Scripture, the issue isn’t “what these people would have done, but it’s what they failed to do (the will of the Father – Matt 7:21) which produced the saying, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.” In order for a person to commit iniquity they must have the ability to do the effort, having been commanded to, yet work at not doing what they should do and all this, while doing other things they are required to do, thus making them Unequal.
As this anointing was going on in Bethany, the chief priests were putting together their nefarious plans to kill Jesus. Their envy was also driving them to destroy the evidence of the miracle, Lazarus. Therefore, Lazarus was a walking, talking product of the power of Christ; and because he was visible, many of the Jews believed.
To the religious leaders, the answer was simple; remove Jesus, remove the evidence, and the people will forget. The purpose for Communion is to Remember, because the natural side of man is to forget the good while retaining the bad.
The Next Day: John 12:12 goes to the “next day,” which would be five days before the Passover, making this next day a weekly Sabbath day. This would be the day Jesus would make His entry into Jerusalem; and this event is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, and Luke 19:28-40, as well as in John 12:12-19. Since all four accounts have this one day, it becomes a marker for us in understanding what happened leading up to the Cross during the week. This day being the Sabbath sent the religious rulers into a rage. Here Jesus was allowing all these people to conduct labor; how dare He! The religious rulers told Him, “Do something” which He was about to. Jesus didn’t get the colt; the disciples did. Jesus didn’t get the palm branches; the people did. Jesus didn’t lead them in shouting; they did it on their own, but the religious leaders came to Him. Their very act of coming to Jesus to ask Him to stop the people was in recognition on their part of His leadership; yet they failed to see it. Rather, they felt that they were seeing a violation of the Sabbath day.
All Accounts working together to fill in gaps in the story: John’s account jumps from the entry day to the night of the Passover; but the other accounts fill in the gaps for us. Since the entry is our marker in all accounts, we can go to Matthew 21:1-11 where we find Jesus making entry into Jerusalem. On the same day, (or five days before the Passover) Jesus cleaned out the temple and then said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves” (Matt 21:13). This is interesting since by this time Judas was being drawn to the religious leaders to bring about his plan; thus Judas being a thief, was drawn to the den of thieves. This would be the day after Judas saw the anointing oil, and heard “the poor with you always”.
Four Days before the Passover: The next morning, which would be four days before the Passover, Jesus spoke to the fig tree; then Jesus went into the temple where His authority was questioned by the religious rulers (Matt 21:18-22). The questioning shows that this was the day after He cleaned out temple, helping us keep the days in order.
The Fig Tree: Mark adds to this, as Luke confirms it. But in Mark, the event could be misconstrued in light of all Jesus taught us on Blessing. The Sermon on the Mount contained all Blessing and no cursing; but Moses went up to his mount and came back with a Law containing cursing and blessing. Jesus sees a fig tree, and then makes a statement based on His knowledge as a statement of fact, not a prophecy, or a curse. The fig tree is a metaphoric symbol of the religious order of Israel; and the metaphor connection goes all the way back to the Garden, where Adam used “fig leaves” to cover his flesh after he sinned. Jesus sees the symbol of the religious order as wanton; and then makes a statement of fact. The Fig Tree would not produce fruit again, yet Jesus will talk about the leaves appearing at a later date.
The Fig tree has two types of fruit, the first fruit is not eatable; the second fruit grows over the first making it eatable. The time of the second fruit was not yet; but Jesus was looking at the first corrupt fruit. In order for the leaves to be productive, the first fruit had to be in a position where the second fruit could not appear. If the second fruit covered the prior fruit, both would be corrupt; but the Leaves were used for covering.
Grace and Mercy together: The Olive Tree is connected to us; the olive oil was used by the Jew as fuel for the menorah, but not as a symbol of their religious order. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and gave us the least commandments of Mercy and James tells us to anoint with Olive Oil; thus the symbol relates to Mercy. No one during the earthly ministry said, “Son of David! Have Grace on me.”; but they did say, “Have mercy on me.” Grace is vital, but we can’t discount Mercy, we need both or we end unequal.
The Olives from the Olive Tree cannot be taken directly from the tree and eaten; they must be prepared by soaking them in lye. In order to make oil for burning it takes eight days, but fig oil won’t burn. The Fig tree can be transplanted, which it will be; but if one transplants an olive tree it will not produce olives again. This paradox shows the Fig Tree can again appear in the Night with leaves, but no fruit. However, no one can transplant the Olive tree and expect it to produce.
What structure does a tree have? A tree has a trunk; but what did the religious leaders have? A temple. This even impressed the disciples, but not Jesus. Jesus knew the “trunk” (temple) of the tree would fall based on a corruption of the first fruit; thus Jesus saw something that the naked eye couldn’t see, then used it as a lesson on Faith. Jesus perceived the hidden evidence and then made a factual statement; but Peter saw it differently, which shouldn’t surprise us.
Many days prior, Peter made another statement; and then Jesus told him, “Blessed are you Simon BarJona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven” (Matt 16:17). Peter like the rest of us thought one word from God made him a prophet, thus he also felt he could give Jesus advice. After all, one revelation means all our words are revelations, right? Wrong.
A short time later, Peter made another statement, only this time Jesus tells him, “get you behind Me Satan: you are an offense to Me” (Matt 16:23). One minute, Peter gets a thought from the Father and the next, he gets a thought from the pit of hell; yet the man couldn’t tell one from the other. But Jesus could. This same Peter will see something then make an assumption, but he missed what Jesus was doing. Jesus told us to Bless, Paul said we are to bless and curse not.
Paul also told us that all curses are nailed to the Cross, whether they are contained in the Law or not. Therefore, a Christian is free of curses, meaning they cannot put a curse on anything or anyone, since they are not under a curse. Jesus came to bless us, not curse us; and we can’t give what we don’t have.
Since this tree is representative of the religious order of Israel we can’t, for a second, think that the Son was cursing something that the Father had established. What did happen? The cleaning of the temple proved that the religion came from the Father; but was placed in the hands of men. It was the evil in man, not the religion from God, making the fruit corrupt.
The Church on the Rock: If Jesus “builds the Church” why does He tell many of the seven churches that they have to repent? Because there are “churches many” in the Rock, but there is only One Church “on the Rock.” God wanted the Tabernacle while David wanted the Temple. If someone tossed “strange fire” into the Tabernacle, they died; but it’s obvious that the religious rulers were robbing the people, yet they didn’t die. The temple was given to man by the permission of God; thus those in charge would have to make the change. Jesus pointed out the corruption, He didn’t force change; and the same is true with the churches in the Rock.
The temple was to be called of all nations “a House of prayer,” but they made it a den of thieves, showing that the operation was in the hands of man. Who then had more power to resist Jesus? The devils? Or the religious leaders? The devils always did what Jesus told them; not one devil ever told Jesus, “I’m not coming out, and You can’t make me. So there!” Yet the religious leaders resisted Jesus time and again. When we came to the Cross, the devil, the darkness, and the wiles of the devil couldn’t stop us from doing so. (Heb 2:14) However, even after entry, we as kings, can resist the Lord.
The Fig Tree: Having said that, we can look at Mark 11:21 and the verses following. We have just established that Jesus spoke to the tree four days before the Passover and now Mark gives us the next day or third day before the Passover. Jesus and the disciples were walking along and as they passed the fig tree, Peter makes his statement based on his observation through his astonishment because the day prior, this same tree had leaves( although it wasn’t “time” for the figs, it nonetheless had leaves).
As well as the first fruit which appeared normal, Jesus spoke to it, then one day later…. there it is, dried up from the roots. Like Peter’s statement of “be it far from You Lord”, he makes another, “The fig tree which You cursed” (Mark 11:21). This time Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are you Simon BarJona”; but He did say, “Have faith in God.” What does faith have to do with cursing? Nothing at all; the Law of Moses is not of faith, yet it has the authority to bring a curse. Faith is based on pleasing God, it is a “seen element” based on something not seen, yet projected to a future hope. What then could something of past have to do with faith?
The “Fig Tree” (religious authority) resisted Jesus, mocked Him, accused and tempted Him; and it caused its own drying up. The tree was Dry, meaning, it lacked Water and since Water is a metaphor for Mercy, we find that the religious order was drying up for its lack of Mercy. The rest of Mark 11 defines what happened: Jesus connected the entire event to “when you stand praying, forgive” (Mark 11:24).
There was surely more than enough reasons for the disciples to hold unforgiveness against the religious rulers, but they were told not to. Considering this is a faith issue, the event about to take place makes sense. The disciples were about to face the most horrid of events, yet Jesus tells them it’s a faith issue, they had to forgive, and then believe that God was able to bring the ability for them to forgive.
The issue of “believe you receive” is connected to seeing the mountain go, rather than come to us like a trained dog. They had to believe when they prayed for forgiveness that the Mercy of God would give them the power to forgive. The Faith part was still a future manifestation of what was said. Yet, they had to believe what they said, this issue is seeing the spirit of the world go back to the world, thereby changing our viewpoint; so, rather than see cursing, we will see an opportunity to bless. The tense “used” shows that this mountain is over us; but we’re not over it. Since the mountain was over us, we tended to interpret events by the mountain, as Peter did. Peter, like us, needed to have the mountain removed, and placed back in the Sea (world).
Unbelief and Doubt: Unbelief is the mental concept of God not being able to begin something; while doubt is the mental concept of God not being able to finish what He started. In Mark 11:23 the danger is not unbelief, since we said; but doubt. Is the mountain gone? Doesn’t seem like it; oh well it didn’t work, it never does for me. Faith must believe God is, and then He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. If the mountain doesn’t appear to be gone, we pray the more. It will Go, Jesus said it would.
The fig tree had to have its authority removed; it was established to stand between the people and God, whereas the Olive Tree was established to bring man to God. Jesus was speaking of Olive Tree opportunity, not a Fig Tree separation. The context shows the Fig Tree was no longer effective for those who accept the Cross of Jesus (Col 2:14-15).The entire next day Jesus was challenged by one religious group (the fig tree), then another (fig tree), each time they were causing the roots of their own tree to dry up, which would have been two days prior to the Passover.
Mark’s account then gives us another clue, in Mark 14:1 we find the phrase, “after two days” was the feast of the Passover. This is the “feast” of the Passover, not the Passover; thus, this is speaking about the night of the Passover. That is not confusing when we know the Preparation day and Feast day are two different days. This shows that the plans Judas made with the religious rulers came just before the Passover. From Mark 14:3 it might appear as if Mark puts the anointing at Bethany at this time; but in context we read how the event at Bethany was the element to set Judas to the point of protecting the bag by selling the Lord. This is just another area showing how important it is to keep all the accounts together. Some think John’s account doesn’t fit with the other three; but if one takes the time to study certain key marks they will see John is merely filling in gaps by giving us a time line.
It’s here in Mark were we find the “lust” in each man draws them; the bag which Judas held, was not evil, the money in it wasn’t evil, the anointing by Mary wasn’t evil. But Judas saw it evil, and then he attempted to make it so. The evil was in the heart of Judas, not the bag, money or in the anointing. Natural man thinks things are evil, yet things are things; it’s what we do with them making them either good or evil. If we allow a lust to guide us in using the thing, then the thing will be used for evil; but it doesn’t mean the thing is evil.
If we allow God to guide us, then the same thing is used for Good; therefore, it’s the lust in man making things evil. It’s not money; it’s the love of money that poses the problem.
We can close the eye gate, lock the ear window, slam the nose door shut; but all we’re doing is trapping the lust inside. James tells us God cannot tempt us with evil, simply because God has no evil in Him from which to tempt us, but God can give us a good gift, yet we can twist it into something evil, as Jude points out (Jude 4).
Temptation and lust: It takes two things to make a temptation complete and two different things to make a test. A temptation is complete when the one doing the tempting has a lust and the one being tempted has a lust drawing them to the temptation. Therefore, for a temptation to be complete, both parties, the one presenting and the one being tempted, must have a lust in them. A temptation is not complete when the one doing the tempting attempts to tempt another; yet there is no lust in the one being tempted. That is exactly what we find with Jesus in the wilderness, the Spirit of the Lord took Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but the temptation was never complete, since there was no lust in Jesus.
Three lusts of the devil: There are three main lusts from which the devil operates, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life; thus the devil tempted Jesus in these three areas, yet Jesus did not fall into sin. That alone places Jesus in a special grouping, He could not be tempted unto evil, neither will He tempt us unto evil.
Tests & exposure unto become free: A test is also found when a party without a lust presents us with a suggestion, or command, or event, as God did with Abraham, as God did with the children or as God does with us. If we have a lust in us, we will turn the event into evil; but it doesn’t mean that the thing or event was sent as evil or even as a means to induce evil. If we have no lust in us, then it the event becomes a testing to prove us. If we have a lust and fall into divers temptations, we rejoice (yeah right). No, we rejoice because the lust is exposed; thus exposure is the first step to being free. Any lust gains its power through deception and darkness; so if we remove the deception and darkness, then we are free indeed. All this is important since Jesus will tell the religious leaders that they are tempting Him. If one assumes God cannot be tempted, they would jump to the false conclusion of Jesus not being the Son of God, or God the Son, because He was tempted. Yet we also read where God Himself said He was tempted by the children in the wilderness some forty years (Numb 14:22, Ps 95:9, Heb 3:9, 3:17 et al). A temptation coming toward God and God being taken by the temptation are two completely different things. Any of us can send a temptation toward God, but it doesn’t mean He is tempted. God will send us back a test or exposure to our folly; but in no way, does it mean that we tricked God. The religious leaders will send lust-filled temptations toward Jesus, but they will have no effect on Him. Jesus on the other hand will present them with statements of Truth to set them free, which is the test and exposure to their folly.
To continue on, we find Judas making his deal with the religious leaders. But was Judas tempted by Jesus? After all, Jesus did give him the bag; and Jesus knew that Judas was a devil from the beginning. Some might think that this sounds like Jesus predestinated the man up for failure. After all, didn’t Jesus pray for Peter? Why not Judas? He never did like him, right? No, no, and no! Judas was given more opportunity and knowledge to make the right choice. Peter wanted to do something for Jesus, but found he was weak. Judas on the other hand, wanted to do something to Jesus and these are two completely different things.
Both Mark and Luke will assist us in clearing this up. Luke shows the temple being cleaned (Luke 19:46), then shows Jesus being questioned. Instead of saying the “day following” he uses the term “one of those days.” Nonetheless we see the “fig tree” drying up from the root.
The day before they partake of the feast of unleavened bread is the Preparation day or Passover, thus the Passover is not a sabbath day, it’s a Preparation for the holy sabbath feast day. Mark shows this by saying the Passover was the Preparation Day, with the Sabbath following (Mark 15:42). This would not be the weekly sabbath since Mark connected it to Passover (Mark 15:37). Mark also shows the women were standing afar off at the Cross on the Passover, which becomes important when we add Luke’s comments.
Regardless of the sabbath, there can be no work done. However, Luke shows the women made spices on the Preparation day, then rested on the sabbath according to the Fifth Commandment (Luke 23:54-56). Spices are made by cooking, yet Mark says the women were at the Cross (Mark 15:40), Matthew names some of the women as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome (Matt 27:56). Matthew also shows it was evening as the beginning of the sabbath, leaving no time for the women to cook spices, or anything else.
Three nights and three days: Jesus was discovered raised before sunrise on the first day of the week (Sunday – Matt 26:28 & Luke 24:1). John fills in the gap showing it was early in the morning, but still dark (Jn 20:1). Putting this all together, and keeping the prophetic word of Jesus intact we see that the Cross was on a Wednesday as the Passover, at sunset the High Sabbath for the Feast of Unleavened Bread began, making it the first night. The nest day would be the high sabbath on a Thursday, making it the first day. That night the second night, then Friday the weekly preparation day would be the day the women cooked the spices, making it the second day. Friday night the third night, Saturday the sabbath according to the Fifth Commandment the third day, the same day He was raised, yet the discovery would not be until Sunday morning. Jesus entered the grave at the beginning of high sabbath, was raised on the third day which was the weekly sabbath, making Him our Sabbath. Mark shows the sabbath had passed when Jesus was discovered raised, adding Luke we find the weekly sabbath of Saturday had passed (Mark 16:1 & Luke 23:54). This is why we must keep the sabbaths separated, or we would have the women standing at the Cross cooking spices, which no Scripture supports. With all the days accounted for showing the prophetic phrase “three days and three nights”, as well as “be raised on the third day” were completed as Jesus said. Why would this be important?
If Jesus was in error regarding how long He would be in the earth, then He could be in error in any point. However, the Scriptures show He was not in error, thus what He said came to pass.
Further we find Matthew provides the information regarding the motivation of Judas for making a bargain with the religious leaders was based the anointing at Bethany (Matt 26:26). Judas was the first “anti Anointing”, or as John terms it, “antichrist”. The Pharisees never could touch Jesus, so the breach had to be one from the “same house.” Judas didn’t even need the thirty pieces of silver, yet he took the payment from those who desired to crucify the Lord of Glory.
Matthew 26:17-35 covers the meal, with Matthew 26:36-49 covering the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark 14:12 shows the “first day of unleavened bread” which is Passover, then speaks of the meal until Mark 14:31, with Mark 14:32-42 dealing with the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:1 defines the Passover is the day before the feast of unleavened bread, showing the meal form Luke 22:7 to 22:38, then Jesus going to the Garden from Luke 22:39-46. John spends more time than any of them on the things said at the meal, which begins at John 13:1 until John 17:26, then John 18:1 shows Jesus in the Garden being arrested. These are separate studies giving us the particulars for the meal and Garden. The Meal is for those who believe, the Garden for those who reject the purpose of the Cross after they enter.
Five Trials: Jesus had five trials. First He was taken to the house of the high priest (Caiaphas) where the first trial took place by Annas. There were two priests involved; both were related to each other through marriage. Caiaphas was the high priest, but Annas was his father in law; and Annas was also a priest. Annas was the high priest until the Romans took over the land, when they appointed Caiaphas, but Annas remained as the voice behind the seat. Jesus first appeared before Annas (Jn 18:13), then before Caiaphas (Jn 18:14 et al). Then Jesus was taken to Pilate (Jn 18:28), which would be the third trial. Then He was taken to Herod, while at Herod’s the religious leaders were talking to Pilate, convincing him to crucify Jesus. Herod’s would be the fourth trial, and then back to Pilate for the fifth trial.
Herod was a Jew and a king appointed by the Romans, but he was not a priest. While at Herod’s palace Jesus was beaten, then a Robe was placed on Him. Jesus was also beaten at the hand of Pilate, but the purposes were different. Herod was mad because Jesus didn’t perform for him, Pilate was looking for some reason to pacify the Jews so he could release Jesus.
When Jesus faces Pilate the second time for the fifth trial He asked Pilate, “Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of Me?” (Jn 18:34). Showing while Jesus was before Herod, the Jews were talking to Pilate.
All these trials began around midnight, Mark shows the decision to crucify Jesus was at the “third hour”, but the Cross came at the sixth hour, then at the ninth hour Jesus cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (Mark 15:25 & 15:33-34). Mark and Luke show it was nearing the sabbath, which would be the High Sabbath for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not the weekly sabbath.
Jesus was taken down before sunset on the Passover, placed in the tomb where not dead body has been before. Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus went to Pilate to beg for the body of Jesus, so the body would not hang on the Cross over the high sabbath (Matt 27:57 & Mark 15:42-43). Joseph and Nicodemus used aloes and myrrh to help preserve the body of Jesus until the spices could be applied (Jn 19:38-39). The procedure was to mix the myrrh with the aloes, then pour it over the covered body. The manner of these “spices” is not the same as cooking spices (Jn 19:40). At this time the women saw where Jesus was laid, meaning they were at the tomb at the beginning of the high sabbath (Mark 15:47).
The next day was the feast day, when the religious leaders went to Pilate in fear of someone taking the body of Jesus, then proclaiming He was resurrected (Matt 27:62-66). Pilate places a guard before the tomb, and then the religious leaders engage in their feast day, which would have been a violation of the Law. The Law did have an escape clause, but it was not for the next day, it was for one month later (Numb 9:11).
Luke adds, by telling us that the women made spices on the preparation day for the sabbath according to the Commandment (Luke 23:56). Here is perhaps one of the biggest clues of all, the preparation day for the feast of unleavened bread would be the Passover, the very day Jesus went to the Cross, but in Luke we find the woman were at home on the preparation day, giving us a division in preparation days.
Two Passovers: The Passover day was the preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the weekly sabbath also had a preparation day on Friday. The preparation of spices and ointments for burial involves cooking and time, neither of which could be done on the sabbath for the Feast day, but would be done on the day following the high sabbath feast day. Remember, they didn’t have microwaves. Also we found Joseph and Nicodemus had the aloes; but in Luke 23:55 the women are making spices, thus we have two different events at two different times. On the Passover, which would have been the 14th of Abib, Joseph and Nicodemus placed the aloes on Jesus. Then came the high sabbath, then the weekly preparation day when the women cooked the spices and ointments.
The sabbaths for the feast days are in the Law, but not in the Commandments; there is only one sabbath day according to the Commandment, which is Saturday, thus the preparation of the spices was after the Feast day sabbath, but before the weekly sabbath. Since it was the weekly preparation day connected to the sabbath according to the Commandment it had to be on a Friday. This puts the Passover on a Wednesday, which would give us the right amount of days and nights. However, with this added information we can determine Wednesday night as the 14th of Abib as one night, Thursday as the 15th of Abib was the day the priests went to Pilate making it the first day, then the feast day, or high sabbath; the night would be the second night, the next day would be Friday the 16th of Abib when the women fix the spices making it the second day, Friday night the third night. Then the sabbath day of Saturday the 17th of Abib would be the third day. Since Jesus was raised before sunrise on Sunday, we find the Day of Discovery was Sunday, but He was raised on the third day, pointing to Saturday.
The first day of the week is always Sunday, the last day is Saturday. Since the tomb was empty before dawn’s light on Sunday we can discount Saturday night, giving us three days and three nights, with Jesus being raised on a Sabbath day. Once death takes place, the Law of Moses has completed its purpose, thus we impute ourselves dead on the Cross of Jesus, completing the purpose of the Law of Moses, but opening the purpose for the Law of the Spirit.
So how does Good Friday work into this? The Early Church held three days of gathering, with one day a week spent witnessing to the Jews in temple. Of course the one day for witnessing to the Jews was Saturday, but the day they spent in breaking bread was in accordance with the discovery of the Resurrection, the same day Jesus made Himself known to the disciples, which was Sunday. Paul also called it the “first day of the week” (Matt 28:1, Mark 16:2, Acts 20:7 & I Cor 16:2).
The Early Church also kept Wednesday, which to them was the day of the Cross; even today many local bodies still keep Wednesday as “Bible study night.” The Early Church also kept Friday, but it connected to the Friday of the anointing, not the preparation day for the weekly sabbath. From use of Friday, and the misunderstanding of the various sabbaths, man began a tradition, only this tradition calls Jesus a false prophet. Rather than three days and nights we end with one night and perhaps two days.
The Week: We know the anointing of Jesus by Mary was six days prior to the Passover, the sixth day would be the Passover, making the Passover on a Wednesday, thus the anointing day would be Friday. This gives us Friday for the anointing, Saturday for the entry, Sunday for the fig tree observation, Monday the day Peter saw it, the same day Jesus was challenged in the temple, Tuesday when Judas made his deal with the religious leaders, then Wednesday for the Cross. Thursday the sabbath day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Friday the preparation day for the weekly sabbath, Saturday for the weekly sabbath according to the Commandment, then Sunday the day of the discovery of the empty tomb.
With the information in hand, we find that the morning was when the tomb was discovered empty. Another area where all the accounts play a part; if we read them all, putting them in order to the time and timing we find Mary went to the tomb, she found it empty. She ran back to tell Peter and John, who in turn run to the tomb, where they find the grave clothes, but no Jesus. They return to the house, but Mary stays. Then Jesus appears to her, she runs back to tell Peter, who runs again to the tomb, seeing nothing, he still doesn’t believe, and walks away wondering. This gives us the evidence of Peter having two chances at this point in time to believe without seeing. Jesus appears to two disciples along a road; they run and tell Peter. Again Peter rejects the information, meaning Peter denied the Lord three times, then denied the Lord was raised from the dead three times. Jesus then appears and upbraids them with the unbelief.
Note: For more on this, continue with the Sozo Short Study, “The Commission of Christ.” Selah.
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King James Version (KJV): For a greater understanding of these commentaries, please use the Authorized Version of the King James Bible for confirming the Scripture passages mentioned. Please see the article, “Why KJV” by Ann M. Wolf for information regarding why we use KJV.
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