Book: A Harmony of the Gospels - In Modern English

1. JESUS CHRIST’S PRE-EXISTENCE AS CREATOR GOD OF ALL THINGS AND THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL
JOHN 1

1. In the beginning a was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2. He was in the beginning with God.

3. All things came into being through Him, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him.

4. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5. And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not comprehend it.

a - Gen. 1:1

2. LUKE’S PREFACE AND DECLARATION
LUKE 1

1. Since many have taken in hand to compile a written narration of the matters which have been fully believed among us,

2. As they delivered them to us, those who from the beginning had been eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word,

3. It seemed good to me also, having accurately understood everything from the very first, to write these things in an orderly sequence to you, most excellent Theophilus,

4. So that you might know the absolute certainty of the things in which you have been instructed.

3. THE CONCEPTION OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
LUKE 1

5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest of the course of Abijah, a Zacharias by name; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

6. Now they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.

7. But they did not have a child, as Elizabeth was barren; and both were well advanced in age.

8. And it came to pass that in fulfilling his priestly service before God in the order of his course,

9. According to the custom of the priestly service, it fell to him by lot to burn incense when he entered into the temple of the Lord.

10. And all the multitude of the people outside were praying at the hour of the burning of incense.

11. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

12. And when he saw the angel, Zacharias was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

a - I Chron. 24:10

13. But the angel said to him, “Fear not, Zacharias, because your supplication has been heard; and your wife Elizabeth shall bear a son to you, and you shall call his name John.

14. And he shall be a joy and exultation to you; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15. For he shall be great before the Lord. And he shall never drink wine or strong drink in any form, b but he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.

16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

17. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” c

18. Then Zacharias said to the angel, “By what means shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

19. And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to announce this good news to you.

20. But behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day in which these things shall take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.”

21. Now the people were expecting Zacharias, and they were wondering why he was taking such a long time in the temple.

22. But when he came out, he was not able to speak to them. Then they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; for he was making signs to them, but he remained mute.

23. Now it came to pass that when the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house.

24. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, but hid herself for five months, saying,

25. “The Lord has intervened for me in this, at the time in which He looked upon me to take away my reproach among men.”

b - Num. 6:1-21; Judg. 13:4-5; I Sam. 1:11 c - Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6

4. THE ANGEL GABRIEL ANNOUNCES THE MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION OF JESUS CHRIST TO THE VIRGIN MARY
LUKE 1

26. And in the sixth month of her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27. To a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the lineage of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary.

28. And after coming to her, the angel said, “Hail, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.”

29. But when she saw him, she was greatly perplexed at his message, and was considering what kind of salutation this might be.

30. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found grace with God;

31. And behold, you shall conceive in your womb and give birth to a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus. a

32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of David, His forefather; b

33. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob into the ages, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” c

34. But Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?”

35. And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you; and for this reason, the Holy One being begotten in you shall be called the Son of God.

36. Now behold, Elizabeth your kinswoman has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.

37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

38. And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

a - Isa. 7:14 b - II Sam. 7:12-17 c - Isa. 9:6-7; Psa. 132:11; Jer. 23:5-6

5. AFTER THE HOLY CONCEPTION OF JESUS CHRIST, THE VIRGIN MARY LEAVES TO VISIT HER AUNT ELIZABETH, WHO IS SIX MONTHS PREGNANT WITH JOHN THE BAPTIST
LUKE 1

39. And Mary rose up in those days and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,

40. And entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

41. Now it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,

42. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

43. But why is this happening to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44. For behold, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the babe in my womb leaped in exultation.

45. And blessed is she who has believed, for there shall be a fulfillment of the things spoken to her from the Lord.”

46. Then Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,

47. And my spirit has exulted in God my Savior;

48. For He has looked upon the humble estate of His handmaid; for behold, from this time forward all generations shall count me blessed,a

a - I Sam. 1:11; Psa. 128:6

49. Because the Mighty One has done great things to me, and holy is His name; b

50. And His mercy is toward those who fear Him, from generation to generation. c

51. He has worked strength with His arm; He has scattered the haughty in the imagination of their hearts. d

52. He has put down rulers from thrones, and has exalted the lowly. e

53. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. f

54. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembering His mercy, g

55. Exactly as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”

56. And Mary dwelt with her about three months, and returned to her house.

b - Psa. 99:3; 111:9 c - Ex. 20:6; Psa. 103:17 d - 1 Sam. 2:4; Psa. 89:10 e - Psa. 113:7; Job 5:11; 12:19; I Sam. 2:7 f - I Sam. 2:5; Psa. 107:9 g - Gen. 17:7; Isa. 41:8-9

6. THE VIRGIN MARY IS THREE MONTHS PREGNANT – AN ANGEL TELLS JOSEPH TO ACCEPT MARY AS HIS WIFE
MATTHEW 1

18. And the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: Now His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph; but before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.

19. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to expose her publicly, was planning to divorce her secretly.

20. But as he pondered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife, because that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.

21. And she shall give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.”

22. Now all this came to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

23. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel”; which is, being interpreted, “God with us.” a

24. And when Joseph was awakened from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded, and took his wife to wed;

25. But he did not have sexual relations with her until after she had given birth to her Son, the firstborn; and he called His name Jesus.

a - Isa. 7:14

7. THE BIRTH AND PROPHECIES OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
LUKE 1

57. Now Elizabeth’s time was fulfilled that she should give birth, and she bore a son.

58. And her neighbors and kinfolk heard that the Lord had magnified His mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.

59. And it came to pass on the eighth day a that they came to circumcise the little child; and they were calling him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

60. Then his mother answered and said, “No! But he shall be named John.”

61. And they said to her, “There is no one among your kinfolk who is called by this name.”

62. Then they made signs to his father as to what he desired him to be named.

63. And after signaling for a writing tablet, he wrote, saying, “John is his name.” And they were all amazed.

64. Then his mouth was immediately opened, and his tongue was loosed; and he spoke, praising God.

65. And fear came upon all those who dwelt around them; and in the entire hill country of Judea, all these things were being talked about.

a - Gen 17:10-14; Lev. 12:3

66. And all who heard these things laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this little child be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

67. And Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

68. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and has worked redemption for His people, b

69. And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; c

70. Exactly as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began;

71. Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us; d

72. To fulfill the promise of mercy made to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, e

73. The oath that He swore to Abraham our father; to grant us that,

74. Being saved from the hand of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear,

75. Walking in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives.

76. And you, little child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest; for you shall go before the face of the Lord, to prepare His ways; f

77. To give the knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,

78. Through the deep inner compassions of our God; in which the dayspring from on high has visited us,

79. To shine upon those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet into the way of peace.” g

80. And the little child grew and was strengthened in spirit; and he was in the wilderness until the day of his appearing to Israel.

b - Psa. 72:18; 111:9 c - I Sam. 2:10; Psa. 18:2 d - Psa. 18:3; 106:10 e - Gen. 17:7; Lev. 26:42; Psa. 105:8 f - Mal. 3:1; Isa. 40:3 g - Isa. 8:22; 9:2

8. THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST
LUKE 2

1. Now it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

2. (This registration first occurred when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3. Then all went to be registered, each to his own city.

4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and lineage of David

5. To register himself along with Mary, who was betrothed to him as wife, and was great with child.

6. And it came to pass that during the time they were there, the days were fulfilled for her to give birth.

7. And she gave birth to her Son, the firstborn, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8. Now there were shepherds in the same country, who were dwelling in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night;

9. And suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shined round about them; and they were seized with great fear.

10. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I am announcing to you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people;

11. For today, in the city of David, a Savior was born to you, Who is Christ the Lord.

12. Now this is the sign for you: you shall find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14. “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men of goodwill.”

15. And it came to pass, as the angels were departing from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now as far as Bethlehem, and let us see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16. And they made haste, and came and found both Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in the manger.

17. Now after seeing Him, they made known everywhere the proclamation that they had been told concerning this little Child.

18. And all those who heard were filled with wonder by the things that were spoken to them by the shepherds.

19. But Mary stored up all these sayings, pondering them in her heart.

20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was said to them.

9. JESUS’ CIRCUMCISION AND PRESENTATION AT THE TEMPLE
LUKE 2

21. Now when eight days were fulfilled for circumcising the little Child, a His name was called Jesus, which He was named by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

22. And when the days were fulfilled for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord;

23. As it is written in the law of the Lord that every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord; b

24. And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

a - Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3 b - Ex. 13:2

10. THE BLESSING AND PROPHECY OF SIMEON
LUKE 2

25. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and reverent, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

26. Now it had been divinely communicated to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.

27. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the little Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,

28. He also received Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29. “Now You may let your servant depart in peace, O Master, according to Your word;

30. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, a

31. Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples;

32. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel.” b

33. And Joseph and His mother wondered at the things that were being spoken concerning Him.

34. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising up of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against,

35. (And you also, a sword shall go through your own soul) in order that the imaginations of many hearts may be revealed.”

a - Isa. 52:10 b - Isa. 42:6; 49:6
 

13. THE BLESSING OF ANNA
LUKE 2

36. Now there was Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;

37. And she was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, serving day and night with fastings and supplications.

38. And at the same time she came up, giving praise to the Lord; and she spoke concerning Him to all those in Jerusalem who were waiting for redemption.

14. THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN FROM THE EAST
MATTHEW 2

1. Now after Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, Magi from the east arrived at Jerusalem,

2. Saying, “Where is the One Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, a and have come to worship Him.”

3. But when Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4. And after gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

5. Then they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written by the prophet:

6. ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judea, in no way are you least among the princes of Judea; for out of you shall come forth a Prince, Who shall shepherd My people Israel.’ ” b

7. Then Herod secretly called for the Magi and ascertained from them the exact time of the appearing of the star.

8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the little Child; and when you have found Him, bring word back to me, so that I also may go and worship Him.”

9. And after hearing the king, they departed; and behold, the star that they had seen in the east went in front of them, until it came and stood over the house where the little Child was.

10. And after seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

a - Num. 24:17 b - Mic. 5:2

15. AFTER OFFERING GIFTS TO JESUS, THE WISE MEN RETURN A DIFFERENT WAY
MATTHEW 2

11. And when they had come into the house, they found the little Child with Mary His mother, and they bowed down and worshiped Him; then they opened their treasures and presented their gifts to Him—gold and frankincense and myrrh.

12. But being divinely instructed in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another way.

16. THE ESCAPE INTO EGYPT
MATTHEW 2

13. Now after they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the little Child and His mother, and escape into Egypt, and remain there until I shall tell you; for Herod is about to seek the little Child to destroy Him.”

14. And he arose by night and took the little Child and His mother, and went into Egypt,

15. And was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I have called My Son.” a

a - Hos. 11:1

17. THE SLAUGHTER OF CHILDREN BY HEROD
MATTHEW 2

16. Then Herod, seeing that he had been mocked by the Magi, was filled with rage; and he sent and put to death all the boys who were in Bethlehem and in the area all around, from two years old and under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the Magi.

17. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

18. “A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she would not be comforted, because they were not.” a

a - Jer. 31:15

19. THE CHILDHOOD AND GROWTH OF JESUS CHRIST
LUKE 2

40. And the little Child grew and became strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

41. Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. a

42. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

43. But when they departed after completing the days, the Child Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, and Joseph and His mother did not know it;

44. But supposing Him to be in the company, they went a day’s journey, and looked for Him among the relatives and among the acquaintances.

45. And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

46. Now it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them.

47. And all those who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

48. But when they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you dealt with us in this manner? Look, Your father and I have been very distressed while searching for You.”

49. And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Don’t you realize that I must be about My Father’s business?”

50. But they did not understand the words that He spoke to them.

51. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He was subject to them. But His mother kept all these things in her heart.

52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

a - Ex. 12:3-14; 23:14-17; Deut. 16:1-8
 

21. JOHN’S RECORD – HE WAS NOT THE CHRIST
JOHN 1

19. And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

20. Then he freely admitted, and did not deny, but declared, “I am not the Christ.”

21. And they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” Thenthey asked, “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

22. Therefore, they said to him, “Who are you? What do you say about yourself so that we may give an answer to those who sent us?”

23. He said, “I am a voice crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” a

24. Now those who had been sent belonged to the sect of the Pharisees,

25. And they asked him, saying to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26. John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there is One Who stands among you Whom you do not know.

27. He it is Who comes after me, but Who has precedence over me; of Whom I am not worthy to loose the thong of His sandal.”

a - Isa. 40:3

25. JOHN THE BAPTIST SHOWS JESUS TO ANDREW AND PETER
JOHN 1

28. These things took place in Bethabara across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29. On the next day, John sees Jesus coming to him, and he says, “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.

30. He is the One concerning Whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man Who has precedence over me, because He was before me.’

31. And I did not know Him; but that He might be manifested to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

32. And John testified, saying, “I myself beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon Him.

33. And I did not know Him before; but He Who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon Whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, He is the One Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

34. And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

35. On the next day, John was again standing there, and two of his disciples with him.

36. And as he gazed upon Jesus walking, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” a

37. And the two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

38. Now when Jesus turned and saw them following, He said to them,

39. “What are you seeking?” And they said to Him, “Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, “Teacher”), where do You dwell?”

40. He said to them, “Come and see.” They went and saw where He was dwelling, and they remained with Him that day. Now it was about the tenth hour.

41. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard this from John and followed Him.

42. First, he found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is, being interpreted, “the Christ”).

a - Isa. 53:7, 11; Ex. 12:3

26. PHILIP AND NATHANAEL FIND JESUS CHRIST
JOHN 1

43. And he led him to Jesus. And when He saw him, Jesus said, “You are Simon, the son of Jona. You shall be called Cephas” (which is, being interpreted, “a stone”).

44. On the next day, Jesus desired to go into Galilee; and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”

45. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

46. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of Whom Moses wrote in the Law, and also the prophets, Jesus, the son of Joseph; He is from Nazareth.”

47. And Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

48. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said concerning him, “Behold, truly an Israelite in whom there is no guile.”

49. Nathanael said to Him, “How did you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

50. Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” a

51. Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I told you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? Greater things than these shall you see.”

52. And He said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God descending to and ascending from the Son of man.”

a - Psa. 2:6

27. JESUS CHRIST’S FIRST RECORDED MIRACLE:
TURNING WATER INTO WINE
JOHN 2

1. Now on the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there.

2. And Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the marriage feast.

3. And when there was a shortage of wine, Jesus’ mother said to Him, “They have no wine.”

4. Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do you desire to have Me do? My time has not yet come.”

5. Then His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do.”

6. Now there were six water vessels of stone standing there, in accordance with the traditional purification of the Jews, each one having a capacity of two or three firkins.

7. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water vessels with water.” And they filled them to the brim.

8. Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and bring it to the master of the feast.” And they brought it to him.

9. Now when the master of the feast tasted the water that had become wine, not knowing from where it had come (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom,

10. And said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when the guests have drunk freely, then he serves the inferior wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

11. This beginning of the miracles that Jesus did took place in Cana of Galilee, and revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

12. After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they remained there not many days.

THE FOUR PASSOVER SEASONS

THE BASIC FRAMEWORK FOR JESUS CHRIST’S THREE-AND-ONE-HALF-YEAR MINISTRY

By recording Jesus’ observance of the Passover and the feasts of God, the Gospel writers enable us to know the exact timing of His ministry. During the lifetime of Jesus Christ, all the feasts of God in the Hebrew Calendar were calculated by the same method that is in use today. This method was used by the priests and Levites as early as the sixth century BC for proclaiming the holy days of God. Therefore, it is possible to know the exact dates of the feasts and holy days during the lifetime of Jesus Christ. In this book, when the dates in the Hebrew Calendar are used, the corresponding dates in the Julian Calendar are also given.

In the Gospel accounts, we find more references to the Passover than to any other feast. The four Passover seasons that are recorded by the Gospel writers give us the basic framework for Jesus Christ’s three-and-one-half-year ministry, which culminated in His death in 30 AD. He died on the Passover day, Nisan 14, which corresponds to April 5 on the Julian Calendar.

Jesus Christ always observed the Passover on Nisan 14. The first Passover of His ministry took place in 27 AD. In that year, Nisan 14 fell on Wednesday, April 9. Since the days of the Hebrew Calendar are reckoned from sunset to sunset, Nisan 14 began when the sun set on Tuesday, April 8. The observance of this Passover is recorded in John 2:13 and 23.

The second Passover of Jesus’ ministry is not recorded in the Gospel accounts. However, we do find a reference to the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed that Passover. The Gospel of Luke directly refers to the last day of this feast, which was an annual Sabbath: “Now it came to pass on the second Sabbath of the first rank that He was walking through the grain fields; and His disciples were plucking the ears and were eating, after rubbing them in their hands” (Luke 6:1).

As the account shows, the disciples were plucking the ears of grain before the kernels had matured and become hard, indicating that the time setting was the spring of the year. The Greek text provides additional information to verify that this event occurred during the spring festival season, which included the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In the Greek text, the term was used by Luke. This term, which is translated “the second Sabbath after the first,” literally means “the second-first Sabbath,” or “the second Sabbath of the first rank or order.” The term , specifically refers to annual Sabbaths, which always take precedence over the weekly Sabbath. Luke’s use of this term reveals that Jesus and the disciples were going through the grain fields on the second annual Sabbath of that year, the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which occurred on Nisan 21, or Monday, April 5, in 28 AD. Luke’s reference to this holy day is the only Gospel record of the second Passover/Unleavened Bread season during Jesus’ ministry.

The third Passover season of Jesus’ ministry is recorded in the Gospel of John. The reference that we find in John 6:4 relates to events that took place shortly before the Passover, which occurred on Nisan 14, or Saturday, April 16, 29 AD.

The fourth Passover of Jesus’ ministry, which was His last Passover, occurred on Nisan 14, or Wednesday, April 5, 30 AD. All the Gospel writers recorded the events of the fourth and last Passover in great detail.

When we compare the four Gospel accounts, we find that Matthew and Mark recorded only the last Passover. Luke recorded the second Passover season as well as the fourth and last Passover. John recorded the first and third Passovers in addition to the last Passover, omitting only the second Passover from his Gospel. John, who wrote the last of the Gospel accounts, recorded the Passover seasons not found in the other accounts. He did not need to include the second Passover/Unleavened Bread season because Luke had recorded it in his account.

Together, the Gospel accounts give us the four Passover seasons that form the framework for the ministry of Jesus Christ.

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