Jesus Christ Our Passover
THE TWELFTH OF NISAN
As the twelfth [12th] of Nisan was beginning at sunset on our Sunday, Jesus Christ returned from the Mount of Olives to Bethany to eat supper at the house of Simon the leper.† [This supper is recorded in Matthew 26: 6 to 13, and Mark 14: 3 to 9.]
The Word of God says very little about Simon as an individual. Even though Jesus Christ had previously healed him of his leprosy, the epithet "leper" still lingered with his name: "Simon the leper." Lepers were considered cursed and defiled in the East, and this stigma followed Simon even after his healing.
This always reminded me of people who have mental disabilities in this present age. There is still a negative stigma attached to these people, even though many canít help their problem and the cause is not their fault. When I worked in a State Mental Hospital, some of the patients were the nicest people I ever met! It was many staff members who were dangerous. Simon had a stigma attached to him EVEN THOUGH HE WAS HEALED. Many people who were (past tense) healed of mental disabilities, STILL HAVE A STIGMA ATTACHED TO THEM. Even though fully recovered, people, out of insecurity and plain evil in their heart, still refer to these people as mentally ill!! No difference today as in Biblical times, is there? The adversary simply adjusts his tactics and methods and devices to modern-day situations.
Allow me to interject with this true story. One time when I was involved in the mental health field, I happened to be in a meeting with a supposed top-of-the-line psychiatrist and a very excellent psychiatric charge nurse who assisted this doctor. I couldnít help but speak up as the doctor assumed that if a person who had a mood disorder had all of a sudden changed his or her behavior, that the natural assumption was that something was wrong with patient AND THE PATIENTíS MEDICINE NEEDED TO BE ADJUSTED. You see it was never ever assumed that the person could be getting better! JUST NEVER! I interjected and said "Gee, what if the patient was getting better Ė healed - and the reason for their change in their mental state was because THEY NO LONGER NEEDED SO MUCH MEDICINE and maybe it should be cut back and closely monitored?" This angered the doctor and he argued with me while the nurse held her peace. For the first real time in my life, I felt just like Jesus Christ. I stuck them dead in their words - they couldnít speak. I said to the doctor "Then what youíre saying is that a person CANNOT get better. Because if they are healing, you immediately assume they are getting worse . . . BECAUSE their behavior changed!!!!!!!!!!!!! So how can a mentally ill person get better??!! The room went silent and the nurse politely excused herself and left the room. The meeting fell apart. A number of years later, the largest and first state hospital where I previously worked which was established by Dorothea Dix closed down. One believer standing on Godís Word can make a major difference. Donít you forget it.
In this account, in the evening, supper began the twelfth of Nisan, and we find Jesus dining at the house of this man who was not well respected by society. Jesus Christ, as always, was a humble man who wanted to be where he could meet needs and fellowship with close disciples.
The first recorded supper of Jesus Christís last week was on our Thursday evening, six days before Passover, according to John 12: 1 to 11. The second recorded supper was this one at Simonís on our Sunday evening, three days later. Once again the events are similar but not identical. We will study the record in Matthew 26.
Matthew 26: 6 to 13 -- Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box [Estrangelo Aramaic says "vase"] 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 [Estrangelo Aramaic: mshka] †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.
In contrast to the supper of John 12, the woman here is unnamed. In John 12, only Judas had complained that the precious ointment was wasted. Now, three days later "his disciples" (plural) were upset and perhaps Judas had influenced them. They had either forgotten or ignored the reproof that Jesus Christ had given Judas recorded in John 12.
The ointment was kept in a sealed alabaster container. The disciplesí complaint was that the costly ointment which the woman poured on Jesus Christís head could have been sold and the money from it given to the poor. Since such ointment could be used for many purposes, among which was the anointing of corpses for burial, Jesus related this anointing with his burial because he knew that his death and burial were at hand. What love he showed in defending the woman while all the disciples criticized her. Thatís why Godís Word says we will all sin at one point or another. We sin in the flesh and not in the spirit. Thatís why the book of I John, chapter one, was written. It was written for those who are walking on the Word of God so that they can stay in fellowship with God even after they sin. Very many times, itís Godly action THAT MATTERS, not "How much does it cost?"
Notice that in this anointing, the unnamed woman anointed his head, whereas in John 12 Mary had anointed his feet. On this occasion the woman treated Jesus as a king being anointed. She brought a small tapering vase of alabaster full of mshka,† ointment, and anointed his head with it. The Aramaic word mshka† comes from the same root as mshika,† from which we derive the English word "Messiah" meaning "the Anointed One".
Jesus Christ, after explaining the importance of the womanís actions, made the statement that her act would be remembered wherever Godís Word is held forth. Think how joyful Jesus Christís statement must have made her feel. Words of blessing and comfort come from the true God while hurtful statements made or implied come from the god of his world. Little did she know that Godís Son would hold her act of love in such great esteem.
Matthew 26: 7 says this anointing took place "as he sat at meat."† In Eastern culture, meals were eaten with the diners sitting cross-legged upon the floor, sometimes leaning on pillows and cushions. A low table or cloth would be set before them with the food upon it.
Twice Jesus Christ had been anointed with oil, once on his feet and once on his head - a complete anointing for a complete savior, from head to foot. The account in John 12 of the anointing of Jesus Christís feet emphasizes service to Jesus as the lord. In Matthew 26 and Mark 14, Christís kingship as the Anointed One, the Christ, is stressed. Yet, the woman who did the final anointing was never named. Who she was is not emphasized here, but the love she manifested is worthy of being memorialized forever. What a remarkable truth from God's wonderful Word.
Luke 21: 37 to 38 -- And in the day time [Greek says "daytimes," plural] he was teaching in the temple; and at night [Greek says "nighttimes," again plural] he went out, and abode in the mount [Bethany was on the east side of the Mount of Olives] that is called the mount †of Olives.
And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
These two verses from Luke 21 are a parenthetical statement which is a figure of speech that explains and summarize his customary actions during the final days before his crucifixion. In the context of Luke, Jesus had just finished his discourse in the Temple and on the Mount of Olives on Sunday, the eleventh. Luke does not record the supper at Simon's house in Bethany.
On Sunday evening beginning the twelfth of Nisan, after eating supper at Simonís, Judas Iscariot left the group. He went to the chief priests to collaborate with them for the capture of Jesus Christ.
Luke 22: 1 to 3 -- Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
This clearly states that Judas acted under the influence of Satan. According to Matthew 26 and Mark 14, Judas left sometime after the supper at Simonís, our Sunday night.
Judas, having seen his argument against wastefulness reproved a second time, allowed his pride to turn him against Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Jesus Christís actions simply did not line up with what he had expected in the Messiah. Because of impulsive emotions, Judas left to make arrangements to betray Jesus Christ soon after Simonís supper. With resentment at Jesus Christís reproof of him, Judas tried to force Jesusí hand. Second-guessing Christís actions and intentions, Judas left to secretly arrange a direct confrontation between Jesus Christ and the religious leaders.
Angry, frustrated, desperate, and uncertain, Judas left to betray the Son of God. It was a time of great personal confusion, anger, and distress for Judas. His internal confusion manifested itself in his actions. He had allowed Satan to manipulate his mind and life into this precarious dilemma. If you deny Godís Word and refuse to do Godís Word, it can happen to you or anybody. Do your best for God, keep Him first, and this will never happen.
From Simonís house in Bethany, Judas went to the palace of the high priest where the religious leaders were planning their capture of Jesus Christ. They had been making their plans ever since the discourse in the Temple that afternoon.† [See Matthew 26: 1 to 5]
Luke 22: 4 to 6 Ė And he [Judas] went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
Here, at the beginning of the twelfth of Nisan, Judas made his decision to betray Jesus Christ. Verse 5 says the chief priests and captains were glad when Judas conspired with them. They had been frantically trying to frame Jesus and condemn him to death ever since he had stirred up the people by the raising of Lazarus from the dead. But day after day they were disarmed as Jesus boldly challenged them and frustrated their efforts with flawless wisdom and timing. Finally, when Jesus had rebuked and embarrassed them so in the Temple with piercing words in front of a multitude of people, their anger knew no bounds. They understood that time was of essence if they were to arrest and execute Jesus Christ before the Feast. Opportunely, Judas arrived at the palace of the high priest and offered the conspirators a means by which to implement their plans. One of Christís own apostles was volunteering to begin the sequence of actions for them. Can you imagine that? It is no wonder that the chief priests were "glad." This record is also found in Mark 14 and Matthew 26.
You should know that this can happen to you. I shared my heart with a girl who I was led to believe was a very true friend of mine. She was recently divorced and even worse, her mother is an alcoholic. I was trying to help her with Godís Word by getting her to come to a fellowship in our home. Before the first meeting, I noticed clearly that her attitude became one of high-mindedness and not humility. I tried to help her realize that she needed to be humble (teachable) to Godís Word rightly divided which she knew very little about. [You can never let spectators run your performance.] She misinterpreted my message and became somewhat furious and angry with me. It was pride and I still love this person very much. BUT WHO WAS SHE REALLY REJECTING? God. You must remember that so that you donít get hurt. And itís tough not to get hurt. Needless to say, this woman never came to fellowship and seemed to only want to hurt me !! Satan can enter into a personís mind at almost any time if they are not willing to humble themselves to Godís Word. Indirectly, she had to humble herself to me since I would be teaching her. She could not live with that Ė simply too much pride, which in itís least common denominator, is fear. I never saw this pride in her before. Light makes manifest darkness Ė I didnít write the book. I pray often for her and believe for the best for her. The devil is a master of misunderstanding and he can tear two people apart over words. Iíll never see or speak to her anymore, more than likely. Pride is a strong thing Ė itís how the devil himself fell. I tried more than once to make her understand that my intentions were of God, but she refused to believe me and only believed what she wanted to believe. People blow hot and blow cold. Be sharp. This is how the destroyer destroys people. Itís a spirit he uses called a Ďcharmerí. Just remember, you only get hurt when you Ďallowí yourself to be hurt.
Mark 14: 10 and 11 -- And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
And when they heard it,† they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.
Matthew 26: 14 to 16 -- 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.
The word "covenanted" here in Matthew 26: 15 literally means that the men placed the silver for Judas on the balance to be weighed, an act indicating that they were standing together in their plans to capture Jesus Christ. Judas, as treasurer of the apostles, was probably considered a capable businessman. Yet he settled with Jesus Christís religious enemies for a mere thirty pieces of silver. In the Old Testament, according to Exodus 21: 32, thirty pieces of silver was the fine to be paid when a manís ox gored another manís servant. It recompensed the injury to that servant. Only thirty pieces of silver, the lowest price of a slave, was the price paid for the betrayal of the savior of the world.
Did Judas fully realize what would be the consequences of his act? Was he misled by the priests? It is interesting to note that after the arrest, when the chief priestsí and eldersí intent to kill Jesus became clear to him, Judas deeply regretted the consequences of his betrayal of Jesus Christ.
[Read the record of Judas in Matthew 27: 1 to 5.]
Perhaps Judas originally thought that Jesus Christ would be arrested and then cleared. More likely he wanted to force Jesus to miraculously overthrow the power structure and institute his own kingdom. Whatever his motives and intentions, Judas allowed himself to be influenced by Satan and possessed as a result of the great pride in his heart and he paid dearly for it.
The thirty pieces of silver that were paid Judas were taken from the Temple treasury by the religious leaders. The treasury monies came from the tithes of the people. Among other things, money from this treasury was to be used in the purchase of sacrifices and offerings. Ironically, the priests purchased Israelís ultimate sacrifice - Jesus Christ the Passover lamb - with thirty pieces of silver given by the people.
The twelfth of Nisan developed the quickening pace leading to Calvary on the fourteenth. Around sunset beginning the twelfth, Jesus ate supper at Simon the leperís. He reproved his disciples for their objections to his anointing by the unnamed woman. Then Judas left Simonís house and met with the religious leaders to plan the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. The next recorded event is also on the twelfth of Nisan, sometime Monday morning or afternoon. Jesus was outside Jerusalem when he gave instructions to Peter and John.
Luke 22: 7 to 13 -- Then came the day [time] of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
And he [Jesus] sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
His instruction concerning "when ye are entered into the city" indicates that Jesus was outside Jerusalem. More than likely he was in Bethany which was where he had consistently gone to eat and abide with friends and disciples.
In verse 7 of Luke 22 the word "day" is yoma† in Aramaic and in this context must be translated "time." The Greek word hemera† used here can also be translated "time", meaning a period of time, not a single day.
It was the time† of unleavened bread when all the preparations were being made for the seven-day Feast. The lamb was never killed on the day of unleavened bread, as this verse implies in the King James Version. It would be killed on the fourteenth during the afternoon, before the Feast ever began. Also, it was a seven-day feast, not a one-day feast as this verse implies when read in the King James Version. These facts should have caught our attention immediately.
A great key to understanding this verse 7 of Luke 22 is comprehending the word "killed." "Killed" is the Greek word thuo† which basically means "to sacrifice." Thuo† is different from other words which are also translated "to kill." It is more than the actual slaying of the animal. It includes all the preparation leading up to the slaying. The Passover lamb was being prepared from the time it was selected on the tenth of Nisan. The twelfth of Nisan, the day we are presently studying, is during the time, preparation time, of unleavened bread. Verse 7 should read, "Then came the time of unleavened bread when the Passover must be sacrificed." This verse does not state that verses 7 through 13 occur on the fourteenth of Nisan or during the seven-day Feast. Rather, it is a general reference to time indicating that the Passover sacrifice and the Feast are near. It was the time for arrangements and preparations to be made for the slaying and eating of the lamb. The actions recorded in the following verses further substantiate this. Misunderstanding this scripture has caused tremendous confusion among those trying to fit the Gospel records of the week before the crucifixion.
Luke 22: 8 -- And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
The word "prepare" is hetoimazo† and means to "make ready" or "prepare in advance". This is further proof that the time of these actions is during the preparation stage of the Feast. Jesus was making arrangements to eat the Passover meal. According to Matthew 26: 2, Jesus already knew that he would be betrayed and crucified around Passover time. However, he did not yet know the exact time of his death. He was not yet certain whether or not he would live to eat the Passover meal. If he had been God, he would have known this and would never have made arrangements for it. But not having complete knowledge, Jesus desired to eat the Passover with his disciples before his death if at all possible. Continuing faithfully to fulfill the Old Testament law and wishing to be with his loved ones to the end, Jesus Christ sent Peter and John into Jerusalem to secure and prepare a room for the meal to be eaten three nights later on the fifteenth.
Luke 22: 9 and 10 -- And they [Peter and John] said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher [Estrangelo Aramaic: grba, a goatskin] of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
By divine revelation, Jesus Christ described how Peter and John would find a room for the Passover meal and told them what to do and say. The word "pitcher" is actually "goatskin" in Aramaic. It would be a humiliation and disgrace for a man in Biblical culture to carry a clay pitcher of water, for that was traditionally womenís work. But for a male to carry water in a goatskin on his back was perfectly acceptable. So Peter and John followed this man with a goatskin water bag into a house and then met the goodman of that house. The word "goodman" means "master." With the master they made arrangements for the room.
Luke 22: 11 to 13 -- [Jesus is speaking]† And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall [might] eat the passover with my disciples?
And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
The word for "make ready" is once again hetoimazo.† This guest chamber would be for short-term use. It was a place where privacy was available and a special meal like the Passover could be conveniently eaten. The "goodman" would have already had his guest chamber prepared in a general way for guests. However, the disciples had to prepare it specifically for the Passover meal. This account is also found in Matthew 26 and Mark 14.
Matthew 26: 17 to 19 -- Now the first day† of the feast of† unleavened bread [omit the italicized words; the passage reads "the first of the unleavened bread" meaning, the preparation period] the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
And he said, Go into the city to such a man [the goodman of the house], and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will ["I desire to" is the text] keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
Mark 14: 12 to 16 -- And the first day [again "first day" is the "first time," referring to the first part of the Feast which is the preparation period] of unleavened bread, when they killed [the Greek word is thuo, which includes the preparation of the sacrifice for killing; this passage is a general reference to time indicating Passover is near] 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 [Estrangelo Aramaic: mana, meaning "vessel"] 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 ["might eat" is the text] 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.
Peter and John secured and began to prepare this guestchamber on our Monday, the twelfth of Nisan. The Passover that Jesus desired to eat in the guestchamber would not be until the first part of the fifteenth, after sunset on our Wednesday evening. Jerusalem was very crowded at the Feast time so arrangements would have to be made at least a few days ahead of time in order to find an adequate place and prepare it for this special occasion. The crowds were already swelling the city so that it took Jesusí specific instructions to find an available place. With great detail and accuracy, Jesus told Peter and John when and how to make provisions. They dutifully obeyed.
Over and over again, Jesus expressed his desire to eat this Passover with his disciples before his suffering. Therefore, he saw to it that the necessary arrangements were made for what seemingly could have been his last meal. However, this intention of Jesus did not materialize. Between the time Jesus sent Peter and John into Jerusalem to prepare the guest chamber and the time he ate supper that very same night, Jesus Christ learned by revelation exactly when he would die. He knew then that he would not be at that Passover meal after all. Instead, his last supper would be that night, on our Monday, which was the beginning of the thirteenth of Nisan. On that day, the thirteenth of Nisan, began to unfold the most harrowing hours of human experience.