Jesus Was Crucified on a Wednesday!

22 Apr

Unless I am missing something, a Wednesday crucifixion is the only day that can be reconciled with the Scriptures. The events noted in my previous five posts would fall in this order:

Nisan 9

Six day before the Passover (John 12:1),[1] Jesus came from Jericho and entered Jerusalem on a colt amid cries of “Hosanna to the Son of David…” The city was moved and wondered who Jesus was (Matthew 21:10). He entered the Temple area and cast out all those who bought and sold (Matthew 21:12-13). He healed the blind and the lame and then, because it is evening, he left for Bethany (Matthew 21:1-17) to lodge with his friend, Lazarus. Nisan 9 occurred on Friday, the week prior to the Crucifixion. By the way, Jericho is about 15-17 miles from Jerusalem; folks today have walked the distance in about eight hours. Jesus and the disciples may have covered the distance in the same time or even less, since they walked wherever they went and were used to traveling long distances by foot.

Nisan 10

The Great Sabbath, which according to Unger’s Bible Dictionary, “is the Sabbath immediately preceding the Passover, and is so called in the calendar, because, according to tradition, the 10th of Nisan (Exodus 12:1-3, 6), when the paschal lamb was to be selected, originally fell on the Sabbath.”[2] This is five days before the Passover Feast, and we find Jesus at the home of Lazarus, where many came to see him and his friend, whom Jesus had raised from the dead (John 12:9-10). Nisan 10 occurred on Saturday, the Sabbath before Passover.

It is also important to note that the colt upon which Jesus rode was tied up at a specific place when Jesus came to Jerusalem from Jericho (Matthew 21:2; Mark 11:2-3; Luke 19:30-32). Yet, in John 12:14 it is Jesus who “found” the colt, indicating that it was no longer tied up at a specific location. The word “found” is heurisko (G2147) and means according to Thayer “to come upon by searching…” (or by chance), or “to find by inquiry, thought or examination…” Thus, the colt was set free in honor of the Sabbath!

Nisan 11

Four days before the Passover Feast is what we term the Triumphant Entry, coming from Bethany and occurs on what we call Palm Sunday. On this day the people who met with Jesus on the Sabbath in the home of Lazarus went before him to Jerusalem, thus alerting the multitudes that he was coming. They also told those at Jerusalem of his raising Lazarus from the dead. The multitudes, therefore, went out to meet Jesus shouting “Hosanna…” (John 12:12-13). Jesus came to them riding on a colt and being hungry looked for some fruit on a fig tree (perhaps Bethphage on Mt. Olivet). Finding none, he cursed the tree. He entered Jerusalem and the Temple area and again cast out those who bought and sold. Neither would he allow anyone with merchandise to pass through the Temple area (Mark 11:12-16). He taught in the Temple and the chief priests and scribes feared him and wanted to kill him. At evening, he departed out of the city. Nisan 11 occurred on Palm Sunday during the week of the Passover Festival.

Nisan 12

Three days before the Passover Sabbath Jesus came to Jerusalem a third time. Passing the fig tree that he cursed the day before, the disciples marveled that it withered so soon (cp. Mark 11:12-15 with Matthew 21:17-20). Jesus would not have wept during his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. But he did curse the fig tree on that day. It is thought that the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) was a fig tree in view of the fact that Adam and Eve made aprons of fig leaves to cover their bodies (Genesis 3:7). If this is so, Jesus’ cursing the fig tree shows that he is bringing that rebellion to an end. His curse announces that the rebellion of man against God would end or die out, in that no one would partake of its “forbidden” fruit forever (Mark 11:14).

On Nisan 12 we are told Jesus wept over the city (Luke 19:41), as he drew near to Jerusalem. Why did he weep? It was because the people didn’t come out to meet their Messiah, as they had done on the day before. It was at this time that the disciples noticed the tree was withered (Matthew 21:19-20). On the day of Jesus’ triumphant entry it is recorded in Mark only that they heard what he said (Mark 11:12-14).

Jesus entered the city and for a third time cast out all who bought and sold (Luke 19:45-48). Upon this day as he taught in the Temple, the chief priests and scribes challenged his authority. All the authorities – the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Herodians – tried to trip up Jesus in his words, but he silenced all of them. He publicly accused them of hypocrisy and predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Then he left Jerusalem and taught the disciples on Mount Olivet about the prophecy. Nisan 12 occurred on Monday and just prior to the beginning of the Passover Festival that year.

Nisan 13

Two days before the Passover Holy Day Jesus spent the day in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3). Here he is anointed the second time, and Judas complained about the waste again and was rebuked once more. He then went out to agree with the chief priest to betray Jesus for money. Nisan 13 is Tuesday, occurring in the same week of, but just prior to the Passover.

Nisan 14

This is the Preparation day, also called Passover Day in that it was the day that the Passover lamb was killed. Jesus prepared to eat a final meal with his disciples just after sunset on Tuesday. Remember the days in Scripture begin at sunset and run to the following sunset. Jesus taught the disciples some final matters and went to Gethsemane to pray. It was there that he was betrayed by Judas and taken to be tried by the Sanhedrin and finally condemned to death. In the morning he was handed over to Pilate and then crucified. Nisan 14 occurred on Wednesday that year and was the day Jesus was crucified.

Conclusion and Summary

This is the only set of circumstances that agree completely with the Scriptures and leaves nothing to ambiguity. Every day is noted in our Lord’s final week on this earth. The next day, Nisan 15, was the Feast Day and a Sabbath Holy Day. Upon this day the chief priests asked Pilate to post a guard at the tomb (Matthew 27:62-68). On the day following this, Nisan 16, the women bought sweet spices to use for cleaning and preparing Jesus’ body for burial (Mark 16:1). On the day following the day the women bought and prepared spices, Nisan 17, they rested, because it was the weekly Sabbath (Luke 23:55-56), but before they could do so, Jesus rose from the dead, exactly three days and three nights after he was crucified and as the Scriptures claim (Matthew 12:40). Therefore, Jesus had to have been crucified on Wednesday and not Friday as is traditionally held.

[1]Remember all days begin on the sunset of the evening before. If Nisan 9 occurred on what we call Friday, it actually began after sunset on what we call Thursday.

[2] Unger’s Bible Dictionary, see under “Festivals,” The Feast of Unleavened Bread, (a) The Great Sabbath.

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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Jesus' Crucifixion


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