Book: A Harmony of the Gospels - In Modern English

SIX DAYS BEFORE JESUS’ LAST PASSOVER

The Gospel of Luke records that Jesus was teaching in the temple in the days leading up to His arrest and crucifixion: “Now He was teaching day by day in the temple; and the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people were seeking to destroy Him” (Luke 19:47).

In the final days before His crucifixion, a series of confrontations took place at the temple between Jesus and the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and chief priests. The Gospel accounts give four chronological keys that enable us to understand the events of those days. It is clear that the Gospel writers followed the Hebrew Calendar, which reckons each day from sunset to sunset, or evening to evening, when they were inspired to record their accounts of these days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. They wrote of the events as they occurred each day, making particular note of the mornings and evenings. By recording each day as it ended at evening, or sunset, the Gospel writers enable us to understand the exact time frame of these events.

The Gospel of John records that six days before His last Passover, Jesus came to Lazarus’ house in Bethany (John 12:1). Counting backward six days from the beginning of Nisan 14, we come to the beginning of Nisan 8, which was Wednesday evening, March 29. We know that the time was in the evening, because the account tells us that Jesus ate supper (verse 2). The word “supper” is translated from the Greek word to deiponon, which means “the chief or evening meal, supper” (Berry, Greek-English New Testament Lexicon). After Jesus ate supper, Lazarus’ sister Mary anointed His feet with ointment (verses 3-4). In the morning of Nisan 8, which was Thursday, March 30, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (verse 12). His triumphal entry could not have been on a Sabbath, as some claim, because the disciples were breaking off boughs from palm trees to spread in the way before Him. If the disciples had done this on the weekly Sabbath, the scribes and Pharisees would have vigorously protested, claiming that His disciples were breaking the Sabbath.

Those who teach that Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday also claim that His triumphal entry into Jerusalem took place on a Sunday. They call this day Palm Sunday. But according to the chronology that is recorded in the Gospel accounts, the day that Jesus made His triumphal entry was Thursday, Nisan 8, or March 30, 30 AD. This is the first key of understanding. (See the synchronized Hebrew/Julian calendar on pp. 216-217.)

The Gospel of Mark adds further details about the events that took place on Nisan 8. Mark records that after Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He went into the temple and looked around. Shortly afterward, He and His disciples went back to Bethany (Mark 11:11). This completes the events of Nisan 8, which ended at sunset.

Mark continues with the events of the next morning, which was Friday, Nisan 9, or March 31. This was the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath. Mark shows that on the morning of Nisan 9, as He was on the way to the temple, Jesus cursed the fig tree (verses 13-14). Later, He went into the temple area and cast out the money exchangers, overturning their tables and driving out the animals. It is evident that Jesus was cleansing the temple, removing the money exchangers with their greed and corruption, in preparation for the Sabbath. After Jesus had cleansed the temple, He taught the people. At evening, Jesus left the temple and Jerusalem and went back to Bethany for the night (Mark 11:19, Matt. 21:17).

The next morning, which was the weekly Sabbath, Nisan 10, or Saturday, April 1, the disciples saw that the fig tree that Jesus had cursed was withered (Mark 11:20). Only Mark records that the cursing and shriveling of the fig tree took place over a two-day period. Matthew records these events as if they had occurred on the same day. If Mark had not made it clear that a second day was involved, it would not be possible to accurately determine the chronology of the events leading up to Jesus’ last Passover. This critical two-day period is the second key in understanding the timing of the events that took place before Jesus’ last Passover.

The Gospel of John records other events that occurred on Nisan 10, or April 1, 30 AD. Certain Hellenist Jews who had heard about Jesus asked Philip where they could find Him. Philip went to Andrew, and together they came and told Jesus (John 12:20-22). While Jesus was teaching the people, a voice spoke from heaven: “ ‘Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this very purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Then the people standing there, who heard it, said, ‘It thundered.’ Others said, ‘An angel spoke to Him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice did not come because of Me, but because of you’ ” (John 12:27-30).

After this, Jesus left the temple and hid Himself, apparently for the rest of the Sabbath. This completes the events of the Sabbath, Nisan 10, or Saturday, April 1, 30 AD. The third key to understanding is that on Nisan 10, Jesus was selected as God the Father’s Passover Lamb, Who would be sacrificed for the sins of the world.

Jesus and His disciples returned to Jerusalem the next morning, Sunday, Nisan 11, or April 2. On this day, His final confrontations with the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and chief priests took place. These lasted for most of the day, until late afternoon (Mark 11:27-13:1). Then Jesus and His disciples left the temple, and He instructed them privately (Mark 13:1-3, Matt. 24:1-3). Jesus finished instructing them just before sunset on Nisan 11. Then He declared to His disciples that He would be crucified on the Passover, which would take place after two days (Mark 14:1, Matt. 26:2).

The fourth and final key in understanding the six-day chronology before the Passover is that the two-day period recorded in Mark 14:1 and Matthew 26:2 is counted from the end of Nisan 11. The two days yet remaining before the Passover were Monday, Nisan 12, and Tuesday, Nisan 13. Nisan 12 began at sunset, April 2, and ended at sunset, April 3, and Nisan 13 began at sunset, April 3, and ended at sunset, April 4. After those two days came the Passover day, Nisan 14, which began at sunset, April 4, and ended at sunset, April 5.

Please study the chart on pages 216-217, which shows the chronological sequence of the events leading up to Jesus’ last Passover as they occurred day by day.

282. SIX DAYS BEFORE HIS LAST PASSOVER, JESUS COMES TO BETHANY
JOHN 12

1. Now six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had died, and whom He had raised from the dead.

2. There they made a supper for Him, and Martha served; and Lazarus was one of those who sat with Him.

3. Mary then took a pound of pure spikenard ointment worth a great price and anointed * Jesus’ feet, wiping His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the aroma of the ointment.

4. As a result, one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who was about to betray Him, said,

5. “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred silver coins, and given to the poor?”

6. Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and carried what was put in it.

7. Then Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has been keeping it toward the day of My burial.

8. For you have the poor with you always, but you do not always have Me.”

9. Then a great crowd of the Jews found out that He was there. And they came, not only because of Jesus, but also that they might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.

10. But the chief priests took counsel in order that they might kill Lazarus also;

11. Because by reason of him, many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

LUKE 19

47. Now He was teaching day by day in the temple; and the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people were seeking to destroy Him.

_________________________
*In the Gospels there are three accounts given about the anointings of Jesus before his crucifixion. The two accountsin Matthew 26 and Mark 14 are parallel accounts of the same anointing. Both describe how a womananointed Jesus’ head two days before the Passover. In John 12, Mary of Bethany anointed His feet. This occurredsix days before the Passover. It is very obvious that these are two separate occasions. The reaction of Judas Iscariotand some of the other disciples was, of course, the same.

 
 
 

284. JESUS WEEPS OVER THE CITY OF JERUSALEM
LUKE 19

41. And when He came near and saw the city, He wept over it,

42. Saying, “If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things for your peace; but now they are hidden from your eyes.

43. For the days shall come upon you that your enemies shall cast a rampart about you, and shall enclose you around and keep you in on every side,

44. And shall level you to the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you a stone upon a stone, because you did not know the season of your visitation.”

285. JESUS GOES INTO THE TEMPLEAND RETURNS THAT EVENING TO BETHANY
MARK 11

11. And Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and because the hour was already late, after looking around at everything there, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

286. JESUS TEACHES DAILY IN THE TEMPLE
LUKE 19

47. Now He was teaching day by day in the temple; and the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people were seeking to destroy Him,

48. But could not find what they might do; for all the people were listening intently, hanging on His every word.

 

289. CERTAIN HELLENIST JEWS WANT TO SEE JESUS
JOHN 12

20. Now there were certain Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast.

21. And these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee; and they asked him, saying, “Sir, we desire to see Jesus.”

22. Philip came and told Andrew, and Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23. But Jesus answered them, saying, “The time has come for the Son of man to be glorified.

24. Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

25. The one who loves his life shall lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life.

26. If anyone will serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant be also. And if anyone serves Me, him shall the Father honor.

27. Now My soul is troubled, a and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this very purpose I have come to this hour.

a - Psa. 42:6

SABBATH, NISAN 10 – SATURDAY, APRIL 1 – 30 AD
290. A VOICE THUNDERS FROM HEAVEN
JOHN 12

28. “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

29. Then the people standing there, who heard it, said, “It thundered.” Others said, “An angel spoke to Him.”

30. Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but because of you.

31. Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

32. And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.”

33. But He said this to signify by what death He was about to die.

34. The people answered Him, “We have heard out of the law that the Christ lives forever, and why do You say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?”

35. Then Jesus said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness will not overtake you. For the one who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.

36. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become the children of light…”

291. JESUS LEAVES THE CITY AGAIN ANDHIDES HIMSELF FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SABBATH
JOHN 12

36. …Jesus spoke these things and then departed from them and was in hiding.

292. ISAIAH QUOTED – THE PEOPLE DO NOTUNDERSTAND WHO AND WHAT CHRIST IS
JOHN 12

37. Although He had done so many miracles in their presence, they did not believe in Him,

38. So that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled who said, “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” a

39. For this very reason they could not believe because again Isaiah said,

40. “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I would heal them.” b

41. Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory and spoke concerning Him.

a - Isa. 53:1; b - Isa. 6:9-10

 

294. THE PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS
MATTHEW 21

28. “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first one and said, ‘Son, go work in my vineyard today.’

29. And he answered and said, ‘I will not’; but afterwards he repented and went.

30. Then he came to the second son and said the same thing. And he answered and said, ‘Sir, I will go’; but he did not go.

31. Which of the two did the will of the father?” They said to Him, “The first one.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you truly, the tax collectors and the harlots are going into the kingdom of God before you.

32. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him. Yet you, after seeing this, did not afterwards repent and believe him.”

 

297. MANY LEADERS SECRETLY BELIEVE IN JESUS
JOHN 12

42. But even so, many among the rulers believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;

43. For they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God.

298. TO BELIEVE IN JESUS IS TO BELIEVE IN THE FATHER
JOHN 12

44. Then Jesus called out and said, “The one who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him Who sent Me.

45. And the one who sees Me sees Him Who sent Me.

46. I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.

47. But if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

48. The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has one who judges him; the word which I have spoken, that shall judge him in the last day.

NISAN 11 – SUNDAY, APRIL 2 – 30 AD
JOHN 12

49. For I have not spoken from Myself; but the Father, Who sent Me, gave Me commandment Himself, what I should say and what I should speak.

50. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I speak, I speak exactly as the Father has told Me.”

299. THE PARABLE OF THE WEDDING ANDTHE WEDDING FEAST
MATTHEW 22

1. And again Jesus answered and spoke to them in parables, saying,

2. “The kingdom of heaven is compared to a man who was a king, who made a wedding feast for his son,

3. And sent his servants to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast; but they refused to come.

4. Afterwards he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Say to those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and the fatted beasts are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding feast.” ’

5. But they paid no attention and went away, one to his farm, and another to his business.

6. And the rest, after seizing his servants, insulted and killed them.

7. Now when the king heard it, he became angry; and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

8. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast indeed is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy;

9. Therefore, go into the well-traveled highways, and invite all that you find to the wedding feast.’

10. And after going out into the highways, those servants brought together everyone that they found, both good and evil; and the wedding feast was filled with guests.

11. And when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not dressed in proper attire for the wedding feast;

12. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you enter here without a garment fit for the wedding feast?’ But he had no answer.

13. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and take him away, and cast him into the outer darkness.’ There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 
 
 
 

MATTHEW 23

1. Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,

2. Saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have sat down on Moses’ seat as judges;

3. Therefore, every judgment that they tell you to observe, observe and do. But do not do according to their works; for they say and do not.

4. For they bind heavy burdens and hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of men; but they will not move them with one of their own fingers.

5. And they do all their works to be seen by men. They make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments;

6. And they love the first place at the suppers, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

7. And the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’

8. But you are not to be called Rabbi; for one is your Master, the Christ, and all of you are brethren.

9. Also, do not call anyone on the earth your Father; for one is your Father, Who is in heaven.

10. Neither be called Master; for one is your Master, the Christ.

11. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

12. And whoever will exalt himself shall be humbled; and whoever will humble himself shall be exalted.

13. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and as a pretext you offer prayers of great length. Because of this, you shall receive the greater judgment.

14. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven before men; for neither do you yourselves enter, nor do you allow those who are entering to enter.

NISAN 11 – SUNDAY, APRIL 2 – 30 AD
MATTHEW 22

15. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel the sea and the land to make one proselyte, and when he has become one, you make him twofold more a son of Gehenna than yourselves.

16. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever shall swear by the temple, it is not binding; but whoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is obligated to fulfill his oath.’

17. You fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple which sanctifies the gold?

18. And you say, ‘Whoever shall swear by the altar, it is not binding; but whoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it, he is obligated to fulfill his oath.’

19. You fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar which sanctifies the gift?

20. Therefore, the one who swears by the altar swears by it, and by all things that are upon it.

21. And the one who swears by the temple swears by it, and by Him Who dwells in it.

22. And the one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God, and by Him Who sits upon it.

23. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes a of mint and anise and cummin, but you have abandoned the more important matters of the law—judgment, and mercy and faith. These you were obligated to do, and not to leave the others undone.

24. Blind guides, who filter out a gnat, but swallow a camel!

25. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are full of extortion and excess.

26. Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside may also become clean.

27. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of the bones of the dead, and of all uncleanness.

28. Likewise, you also outwardly appear to men to be righteous, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the sepulchers of the prophets, and adorn the tombs of the righteous;

30. And you say, ‘If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

31. So then, you are testifying against yourselves, that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets;

32. And as for you, you are filling up the measure of your fathers.

33. You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how shall you escape the judgment of Gehenna?

34. Because of this, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; and some of them you shall kill and crucify, and some of them you shall scourge in your synagogues, and some of them you shall persecute from city to city;

35. So that upon you may come all the righteous blood poured out upon the earth, from the blood of Abel b the righteous, unto the blood of Zacharias c son of Barachias, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

36. Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

37. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who have been sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you refused!

38. Behold, your house is left to you desolate. d

39. For I say to you, you shall not see Me at all from this time forward, until you shall say, ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” e

a - Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21-26; b - Gen. 4:8; c - II Chron. 24:20-21; d - Jer. 22:5; e - Psa. 118:26

 
 
 
 
 

309. JESUS LEAVES THE CITY EACH NIGHT
LUKE 21

37. And during the day He was in the temple teaching, and at night He went out and lodged on the mountain called the Mount of Olives.

38. And all the people came to Him in the temple early in the morning to hear Him.

NISAN 11 – SUNDAY, APRIL 2 – 30 AD
310. THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
MATTHEW 25

1. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be compared to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3. The ones who were foolish took their lamps, but they did not take oil with them;

4. But the wise took oil in their vessels along with their lamps.

5. Now when the bridegroom was gone a long time, they all became drowsy and slept.

6. But in the middle of the night there was a cry: ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet him.’

7. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

8. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’

9. But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there not be enough for us and for you. But instead, go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.

11. And afterwards the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’

12. But He answered and said, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

13. Watch, therefore, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of man is coming.

311. THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
MATTHEW 25

14. For the kingdom of heaven is like a man leaving the country, who called his own servants and delivered to them his property.

15. Now to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one; he gave to each one according to his own ability, and immediately left the country.

16. Then the one who had received five talents went and traded with them, and made an additional five talents.

17. In the same way also, the one who had received two talents also gained two others.

18. But the one who had received the single talent went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19. Now after a long time, the lord of those servants came to take account with them.

20. Then the one who had received five talents came to him and brought an additional five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered five talents to me; see, I have gained five other talents besides them.’

21. And his lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! Because you were faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

NISAN 11 – SUNDAY, APRIL 2 – 30 AD
MATTHEW 25

22. “And the one who had received two talents also came to him and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; see, I have gained two other talents besides them.’

23. His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! Because you were faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24. Then the one who had received the single talent also came to him and said, ‘Lord, I knew that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter.

25. And because I was afraid, I went and hid your talent in the earth. Now look, you have your own.’

26. His lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! You knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather what I did not scatter.

27. Because you knew this, you were duty-bound to take my talent to the money exchangers, so that when I came, I could have received my own with interest.

28. Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten talents.

29. For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; on the other hand, as for the one who does not have, even that which he has shall be taken from him.

30. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.’ There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

312. THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS
MATTHEW 25

31. “Now when the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; a

32. And He shall gather before Him all the nations; and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33. And He shall set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at His left.

34. Then shall the King say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in;

36. I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

37. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? or thirsty, and gave You a drink?

38. And when did we see You a stranger, and took You in? or naked, and clothed You?

39. And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You?’

40. And answering, the King shall say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me.’

41. Then shall He also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

42. For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you did not give Me anything to drink;

43. I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; Iwas sick, and in prison, and you did not come to visit Me.’

44. Then they also shall answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and we did not minister to You?’

45. Then shall He answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, neither did you do it to Me.’

46. And they shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” b

a - Zech. 14:4-5; Micah 4:1-4; Rev. 19:11; 20:4-6; b - Dan. 12:2

 
 
 

BOOKS