Now it was the Preparation of the passover: it was about the sixth hour. And he saith unto the Jews, Behold, your King! (ASV)
John's Gospel (John 19:14) makes it clear that Jesus was crucificed on the preparation of the passover, which is the day before passover. The "Passover" is a Jewish holy day and festival commemorating the Hebrews' escape from enslavement in Egypt. The Passover begins at twilight on the 14th day of the month of Nisan. On the 14th day of the month of Nisan, lambs are slaughtered in order to eat the lambs on the 15th.
An example of lambs being slaughtered on the day of Preparation of the Passover is:
2 Chronicles 35:1: "Josiah celebrated the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month."
On the 15th day, the: "Feast of Unleavened Bread" begins, where for 7 days, the Jews had to eat bread made without yeast. Hence, it was called "Feast of Unleavened Bread," because only bread unleavened could be eaten. (Leviticus 23:5-6). In the Gospels, the preparation of the meal began on: 4th day of the Jewish week (Wednesday in our time). The meal was firstly eaten on 5th day of the Jewish week (Thursday in our time). For 7 days, they had to eat bread without yeast.
In Mark's Gospel, it is clear that Jesus prepares for the passover meal on the 4th Jewish day (Wednesday in Roman time):
Mark 14:12: "On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
He has the passover meal with his disciples on the 5th Jewish day (Thursday in Roman time):
Mark 14:13-21: "So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray meâ€”one who is eating with me." They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?" "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
The day after that (Friday), he is lead out to be crucified.
After the meal, Jesus is arrested (Mark 14:43-52) and spends the night in jail. Then, in Mark 15:1, it in the morning the people reached a decision, and Jesus was lead to be crucified the day after the passover meal, which is the 6th Jewish day (Friday in Roman time). We then read in:
Mark 15:25: "It was the third hour when they crucified him."
So, it is clear Jesus was crucified the day after the passover meal (which was a Friday), according to Mark's Gospel. Let us now read Matthew's Gospel and Luke's Gospel, which show us the following after Jesus' burial:
Matthew 26:17: "On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
Luke 22:7: "Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed."
The "preparation for passover," day in Luke 22:7 and Matthew 26:17 was on the 4th day of Jewish week (Wednesday). According to Mark, Matthew & Luke, Jesus was clearly alive at this point, because it wasn't until the 6th day of Jewish week (Friday) that he was lead out to be crucified. Let us see more proof from the Bible, that it was indeed Friday (the day after Passover meal was eaten) that he was lead out and crucified:
Mark 15:42-43: "It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body."
Luke 23:54: "It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin."
We see it that it was the Preparation for the Sabbath in which he was crucified and the burial began. The Sabbath day is: Saturday, and the day before this is Friday. So, this gives us enough proof from the 3 synoptic Gospels that he was crucified the day after Passover meal was eaten, which was a Friday.
However, John's Gospel deviates away from the synoptic Gospels. In John's Gospel, we are told he is crucified on the day of preparation of the passover meal (before passover):
John 19:14-16: "It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified."
John 19:14: Good News Bible: "It was then almost noon of the day before the Passover. Pilate said to the people, "Here is your king!"
The "day of Preparation of Passover" always began on the 14th Jewish day of the month, which in our time is: Wednesday. This is the 4th day of the Jewish week. The meal was eaten the day after (15th Jewish day of the month) (), according to the law in Exodus 12:14 & Leviticus 23:5-6. In the Jewish week, the meal was eaten on day 5 of the Jewish week. This means in our time, it would be: Thursday, in which the meal begins. In John 19:14, Jesus is lead out on Wednesday to be crucified, BEFORE the Passover meal is eaten, which in the Jewish calender is: 4th day of Jewish week (Wednesday). In all 3 earlier Gospels, Jesus already ate the Passover meal on the 5th day of the Jewish week (Thursday) and is lead out to be crucified on the 6th Jewish day, which in our time, is Friday.
The following problems and questions arise:
1. How could Jesus have eaten the Passover meal on the 5th day of Jewish week (Thursday), if he was crucified & buried a day before (according to John 19)?
2. Did Jesus die on the 4th Jewish day (Wednesday) or the 6th Jewish day (Friday)?
3. Did Jesus die after or before the passover meal?
It was customary to sacrifice the lamb the day before passover. In John's Gospel, we get the impression that Jesus is that "lamb" being sacrificed (i.e. crucified). The author of John tried to prove a theological point that Jesus would be the "sacrificed lamb," for all of us, thus he put his crucifixion a day before the passover meal was eaten. In trying to prove a theological point, the author of John made a massive blunder which completely contradicts the previous 3 Gospels. Moreover, John's Gospel is the least authentic Gospel, because it was the one written the last out of the 4. Let us read Professor Bart D. Ehrman's book: Jesus interrupted, in Chapter 2:
"John is the only Gospel that indicates that Jesus is "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." This is declared by John the Baptist at the very beginning of the narrative (John 1:29) and again six verses later (John 1:35). Why, then, did John - our latest Gospel - change the day and time when Jesus died? It may be because in John's Gospel, Jesus is the Passover Lamb, whose sacrifice brings salvation from sins. Exactly like the Passover Lamb, Jesus has to die on the day (the Day of Preparation) and the time (sometime after noon), when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple.
In other words, John has changed a historical datum in order to make a theological point: Jesus is the sacrificial lamb. And to convey this theological point, John has had to create a discrepancy between his account and the others."
Some Christians may refute back by saying different Jews celebrated the Passover on different days of the week.
Jesus never ate the Passover meal as unorthodox Jews did, since Jesus and his disciples were in Jerusalem, where it was customary to eat the Passover meal on the Thursday (5th Jewish day) which is the day after the Preparation of the meal. Also, let us read Professor Bart D. Ehrman's Book: Jesus interrupted, in Chapter 2:
"This is one of those explanations that sounds plausible until you dig a bit and think a bit more. It is true that some sectarian groups not connected with the Temple in Jerusalem thought that the Temple authorities followed an incorrect calendar. But in both Mark and John, Jesus is not outside Jerusalem with some sectarian group of Jews: he is in Jerusalem, where the lambs are being slaughtered. And in Jerusalem, there was only one day of Passover a year. The Jerusalem priests did not accommodate the calendrical oddities of a few sectarian fringe groups."
Clearly, Jesus wasn't celebrating any unorthodox ways of the Passover. Had he eaten the Passover on any other day than what Mark, Matthew and Luke's Gospel tell us, this would contradict the law given in Exodus 12:14 & Leviticus 23:5-6.
Edit this section if you doubt error.
Edit this section to note miscellaneous facts.