Summary: The last night that Christ had on this earth before His death where he celebrated a final passover meal with His disciples.

This evening we are going to go through the last night that Christ had on this earth before His death which, which we call Good Friday.


The setting:

In the final week of Jesus’ life before His crucifixion, all of Jerusalem was celebrating the Passover. In terms of the Jewish calendar, PASSOVER WAS THE FIRST FEAST held every year (Nisan 14)

Leviticus 23:5 [5]In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover. (ESV)

• It was then that every family in Israel commemorated the nation’s deliverance from Egypt with the sacrifice of a spotless lamb. The feast was also the oldest of all the Jewish holy days, the first Passover having been celebrated on the eve of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt.

Passover was immediately followed by the feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 12-21)

Leviticus 23:6 [6]And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. (ESV)

• This was a week-long affair, making the entire period of feasting eight days long. The two feasts were so closely associated that the eight-day period was sometimes called “the Passover” and sometimes called “the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” (The New Testament itself sometimes uses the terms interchangeably, echoing the common parlance.)

Please turn to Exodus 12

Four days prior to Passover, (Nisan 10), each family in Israel was to select a spotless sacrificial lamb and separate that lamb from the rest of the herds until Passover, when the lamb was to be slain (Exodus 12:3–6).

Exodus 12:3-6 [3]Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. [4]And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. [5]Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, [6]and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. (ESV)

• During that final week before His crucifixion, Jesus Himself would undoubtedly have done this with His disciples, selecting a lamb on Monday of that week.

• Remember, historical records of Jesus’ time indicate that as many as a quarter-million lambs were slain in a typical Passover season, requiring hundreds of priests to carry out the task.

• Since all the lambs were killed during a two-hour period just before twilight on 14 Nisan (Exodus 12:6), it would have required about six hundred priests, killing an average of four lambs per minute, to accomplish the task in a single evening. Tradition permitted no more than two men to bring a lamb to the temple for sacrifice, and after each lamb was slain, it was to be immediately taken home and roasted. Even so, the temple mount would have been densely crowded while the lambs were being slain, with as many as half a million people moving through the area in a two-hour span.

The Jews of Jesus’ day had two different methods of reckoning the calendar, however, and this helped alleviate the problem. The Pharisees, as well as the Jews from Galilee and the northern districts of Israel, counted their days from sunrise to sunrise. But the Sadducees, and people from Jerusalem and the surrounding districts, calculated days from sundown to sundown. That meant 14 Nisan for a Galilean fell on Thursday, while 14 Nisan for the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell on Friday. And thus the slaughter of the lambs could take place in two two-hour time periods on successive days, thereby easing the work of the priests somewhat. About half the lambs could be killed on Thursday, and the other half were killed on Friday. (That twist in the chronology explains why Jesus and His disciples—all Galileans, except for Judas—ate the Passover meal on Thursday evening in the Upper Room, yet John 18:28 records that the Jewish leaders—all residents of Jerusalem—had not yet celebrated Passover on the following day when Jesus was taken to His trial in the Praetorium. It also explains why John 19:14 indicates that Jesus’ trial and crucifixion took place on the day of Preparation for the Passover.)

Explanation for Tonight: Here to reflect on Christ’s last meal together where we will look at the scriptures that lead up to Christ’s death and explain the significance before our meal with the community tomorrow.


(Hymn on Blood)

The amount of blood resulting from all the Passover sacrifices in Jerusalem was enormous. The blood was permitted to flow off the steep eastern slope of the temple mount and into the Kidron Valley, where it turned the brook bright crimson for a period of several days. It was a graphic reminder of the awful price of sin.

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