Thursday, March 9, 2017

Celebrating the Passover

Mark 14:12-21

“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?” (Mark 14:12)

Matthew and John were originally written in Hebrew, according to Pappias, and were translated into Greek around 70-80 AD,.  Because no copies in Hebrew have survived, and the style of the Greek used in the translation, many scholars have assumed the date of translation was the date they were written.   Mark and Luke were originally written in Greek around 50-55 AD.   

The Hebrew word translated Passover refers specifically to the Passover meal, while the Greek word refers to both the Passover meal and the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Writing in Greek, Mark made a special point to specify that this was the day when the Jews celebrated the Passover, killing and eating the Passover at sundown.   Contrary to what some have taught, Jesus did not partake of the Passover early, according to Mark.   

“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 show 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.” (Mark 14:13-16)

During the day Wednesday, Jesus sent two of the disciples to find a place where they could partake of the Passover feast.  The Jews had specified that he was not to be arrested that day to prevent a riot and the spoiling of the Passover, which was the most sacred of their holidays.  As a result Jesus and his disciples were free to move about the city on Wednesday.  Jesus gave the two specific instructions as to what they would find.  Everything turned out just as he described, and by late afternoon they had obtained everything they needed to celebrate the Passover.

Note:  Because of the way Passover was set we can readily determine what day Passover fell in any given year.  If as indicated, Passover fell on Wednesday, this had to be either April 28, 28 AD, or April 25, 31 AD.     If it fell on Thursday as Tradition says, it could only have been April 22, 34 AD.

“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)

At sundown Wednesday evening, the Passover officially began, and Jesus met with his disciples for the meal.  The disciples had worked together for about two years.  They thought they knew each other, and Jesus’ statement that one of them would betray him was bombshell.   Judas was the treasurer and they trusted him implicitly.  They were more concerned that they might betray him than that Judas would.  Even when jesus specifically told them it was the one he was giving a piece of bread to, and told Judas to go do what he was going to do, they did not suspect him. 

It would have been better for Judas to have never been born than to be cast into lake of fire  for eternity because he rejected and betrayed the Lord.   Judas’ decision to betray the Lord was not a spur of the moment decision.  Jesus had known all along that Judas would betray him , according to John 6:64.  “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”  In John 6:70-71 he warned them all that one of them was not really a believer.  “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”  Being rebuked for his attitude toward the women who sought to honor Christ was just the trigger that caused Judas to act at that time.   He would die without making things right with the Lord.  


  1. Bengel remarks: "How very near to Jesus was Judas on this occasion! But in
    a short time after, by what a wide gulf did glory separate Jesus from
    Judas, and destruction separate Judas from Jesus."

    1. It makes one think when they realize how completely Judas had fooled the other disciples. How easy it is for false teachers and unbelievers to slip in unawares, like those Paul mentions in Galatians 2:4.