Jesus Christ Our Passover
THE TENTH OF NISAN
Mark 11 shows us that late on Friday afternoon which was the 9th of Nisan, Jesus Christ returned to his friends and followers in Bethany. On Saturday, the 10th of Nisan, he left for Jerusalem again with his disciples.
Mark 11: 12 and 13 – And on the morrow, when they were come from [apo – away 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.
In verse 12, we see the words "on the morrow" which tells us that this record was on the day after the events that were previously recorded in Mark 11: 1 to 11, which recorded the events of Jesus Christ’s first entry into Jerusalem on Friday, the 9th. Let’s sum up some of the events from the 8th, 9th, and 10th.
In the last teaching, we recorded the events of the eighth of Nisan which was a Thursday. We also documented Christ’s 1st entry into Jerusalem on the ninth of Nisan. Now we are about to document Jesus Christ’s 2nd entry into Jerusalem which occurred on the tenth of Nisan, a Saturday. This day was also the weekly Sabbath and was the day of the selection of the Passover lamb.
Mark 11: 12 shows us that time has moved ahead one day to the 10th of Nisan. An orientalism needs to be understood to understand Mark 11: 13. In these times, the fig tree was known as the "people’s tree" which meant that any person was permitted to eat from any fig tree. In late spring, the fig tree normally had blossoms and sweet edible buds. This is what Jesus Christ intended to eat. Later on these buds would develop into figs. On this particular tree which Jesus Christ passed by, there were leaves, but no buds -- "he found nothing but leaves." . . . . . . . "the time of figs was not yet" meaning that it was still spring.
Mark 11: 14 – And Jesus answered and said unto it [the tree], No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
Because Jesus Christ knew there were no buds, he knew there would later be no fruit. The fig tree symbolized Israel and is often associated with Israel’s status with God. Although the tree, from a distance, seemed to be flourishing, it was, in reality, unfruitful. This symbolized God being forced to cut off His special blessing to Israel because the nation Israel had rejected God’s only begotten Son. This occurred on Saturday morning, the 10th of Nisan. The next gospel following in chronological order is in Matthew 21. Here Christ and some of his disciples stopped at the village of Bethphage on their way to Jerusalem.
Matthew 21: 1 and 2 – And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
Saying unto them, Go into the village [Bethphage] over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
How many animals did Jesus Christ ask for? He asked for two – an ass and a colt. This record is different from the previous one on the ninth of Nisan when he asked for one animal. Why? Because the Word of God teaches, when rightly divided, that Jesus Christ was about to make a second entry into Jerusalem. For years, people and tradition have tried to make the accounts of the 9th and 10th of Nisan identical. This, in spite of the fact that there is only one colt in the former, where there is a mother ass and a colt in the latter. The Book of Zechariah tells us why Jesus Christ made a second entry into Jerusalem in this manner.
Zechariah 9: 9 – 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.
Here a King is prophesied to come into Jerusalem who "is just, and having salvation." Zechariah specifically prophesies of Christ’s second entry – an entry of blessing. In II Samuel 16, there is a record of David with two asses and their cargo indicating blessing and abundance. When Jesus Christ made his second entry into Jerusalem, he specifically asked for an ass and her colt. He repeated the instructions given the day before. He wanted the animal keepers told that the Lord had need of them.
Matthew 21: 4 to 7 – All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they sat him thereon.
The prophecy of Zechariah 9: 9 was being fulfilled with this action. During the 1st entry recorded in John 12: 15, this verse was only partially quoted: "thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt." But at the time of this 2nd entry, in Matthew 21, the full reference, including the two animals is quoted. The following is a record of the 2nd entry which should be compared to the 1st entry.
Matthew 21: 8 to 11 – And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
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 is the highest.
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.
The 1st entry of the previous day involved the rejoicing of the disciples and the multitude of bystanders attracted by the news that the man who raised Lazarus from the dead was coming. In this 2nd entry, the entire city responded and questioned, "Who is this?" Matthew 21: 10 says "all the city was moved." Unknowingly, the onlookers in Jerusalem were witnessing God’s selection of Jesus Christ as the final Passover lamb. And take notice that this was the 10th of Nisan, the day that was designated to select the Passover lamb. The accuracy of God’s Word is astounding. Israel was seeing the perfect lamb – without spot and without blemish. You must always remember that God’s timetable is always perfect. He does things at the exact right time.
On this 2nd visit, Christ also went to the Temple, but he did not just look around and then go back to Bethany. He overthrew the merchant’s tables and taught the people God’s Word.
Matthew 21: 12 and 13 – And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
See Mark 11: 15 to 17
Here the 2nd entry is noted without details, but the incident with the moneychangers is documented.
The Scriptures which reflect the 10th of Nisan are obviously different as compared to the events recorded the previous day when Christ simply entered Jerusalem on an ass’s colt, went into the Temple, and looked around. You should know that the gospels need to be studied utilizing the principle of narrative development. Similar incidents in two different gospels DOES NOT mean these incidents are identical. However, two incidents recorded in two different gospels may be recording the same incident and will compliment one another. The Word of God needs to be worked and studied and God expects that of us in order to stand approved before Him. Do you want to stand approved before God?
II Timothy 2: 15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.
Getting back to this record of the moneychangers, this is another key (mentioned previously) in determining that the entry described in Matthew 21: 1 to 11 occurred the day after the 1st entry. In Mark 11: 12 the words "on the morrow" clearly separate the events of Mark 11: 11 and Mark 11: 15 to 17. This makes the reality absolute that there were two (2) distinct and uniquely significant entries into Jerusalem. In this situation, the gospels compliment each other and allows one to see the great accuracy of God’s perfect Word.
When Jesus Christ went into the Temple on his 2nd entry, he was completely familiar with the tradition of the market. It was located in the outer courts of the Temple. Merchants sold, wine, salt, oil and other necessities used by the worshippers. It was a lucrative business for both the merchants and the religious leaders of the Temple. Jesus Christ did not specifically object to this – it was the selling of second-rate goods at first-rate prices. There was corruption and hypocrisy involved and the market had become dishonest, a den of thieves. Jesus Christ was not cruel or physically abusive to these men, but told them to get out. Although he did not touch any of the merchants, he did overthrow their tables and seats. The Temple had become a center for dishonest business dealings selling second-rate merchandise all in the name of religion. This was in complete contradiction to the Word of God. Here is a similar situation in Malachi:
Malachi 1: 7 and 8 – Ye offer polluted bread upon mine alter; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.
Because of these dishonest activities, Jesus Christ came in and cleansed the Temple. It was essential for the Temple to be properly prepared and cleansed for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The record continues in Matthew 21:
Matthew 21: 14 to 16 – And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
And when the chief priests and the 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?
Out of the mouths of those who are humble enough to believe, God had perfected praise to Himself and His Son. Jesus Christ healed the lame and the blind after cleansing the Temple and this agitated and aggravated the religious leaders. When you teach the rightly divided Word of God, you too will agitate the religious leaders. There is no difference today. You have got to learn how to counter the adversary’s moves – God will teach you how to be one step ahead IF you listen and APPLY God’s Word in your everyday life and KEEP GOD FIRST. You have free will.
Mark 11: 18 and 19 – And the scribes and the chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
And when even was come, he went out of the city.
Matthew 21: 17 – And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
Jesus Christ, designated by God to be the Passover lamb finally left Jerusalem around sunset on Saturday and returned to Bethany.
Let’s summarize the events that took place on Saturday – the tenth [10th] of Nisan, which terminated at sunset:
-- First, Jesus Christ cursed a fig tree that would bear no fruit.
-- Then he entered into Jerusalem with two animals to indicate the blessing he was bringing to Israel. With the masses of Jerusalem looking on, Christ was selected as Gods’ consummate Passover lamb.
-- Jesus Christ cleansed the Temple, healed the sick, and taught the Word of God. As a result, the religious leaders were irate and frustrated by Jesus Christ’s show of power and boldness and again vowed to destroy him.
-- Finally, Jesus Christ returned to Bethany to lodge with the family of Lazarus who loved him.
Thus, Saturday, the TENTH OF NISAN, drew to a close.