Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Thirty-five: Jesus' last Passover on earth - part one   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Thirty-five:

Jesus' last Passover on earth - part one



JUDAS ISCARIOT PLANS TO BETRAY JESUS

     After Jesus had finished His prophecy on the Mount of Olives
it was evening time, and He said to His disciples, "You know that
in two days it is the Passover, and the Son of man will be
delivered up to be crucified."

     We know from the last hours of Jesus' physical life on
earth, what Jesus said to them (and it was not the first time He
had told them He would die in Jerusalem), went right over their
heads; once more they just did not get it, did not really believe
those words. To them it was just incomprehensible to conceive
that their Lord and Master, the one they knew was the Messiah,
could be put to death. 

     The chief priests and the elders of the people were at this
time busy gathering together in the palace of the high priest,
who was called Caiaphas, taking counsel with each other, as to
how to arrest Jesus in a secret manner and kill him. They first
thought they better not try to do this during the Feast of the
Passover and days of Unleavened Bread (which was eight days in
total, but during Christ's time the whole period was known
by the name "Passover").
     Then something happened to changed their minds about when
they would try to arrest and kill Jesus.

     The disciples were really not understanding what was all
going on at this time in Jesus' ministry. They did not understand
the prophecies in the Old Testament about how the Messiah would
come and have to die for the sins of the world. They were
somewhat familiar with the prophecy of the Messiah coming in
power and glory, to reign over the nations and rule the world,
but with all that Jesus was saying, and the people getting
divided over what they wanted to believe the Messiah should be
doing with them, and for them, and against the Romans, there was
confusion even in their minds. Judas Iscariot was as confused as
any of them. Surely he was thinking, the Messiah is going to rise
up with His mighty power and show these scribes and Pharisees and
priests, a thing or two. He was probably thinking Jesus had only
used "words" against them so far, but He must be going to use His
power and obliterate them, literally. Judas was probably thinking
Christ should do that, obliterate those silly hypocritical
religious leaders of Judea. And thought no doubt Jesus would them
continue using His power to bring the people of Judah together,
form an army, fight against the Roman power, destroy them, and
set up the Kingdom of God on earth.
     How could he, he thought, help get Jesus started on this
road of conquest. His mind was not just confused, but anxious, on
edge, eagerly desiring to see all this take place. And with his
mind in such a state of unrest and looseness, it was all that
Satan needed. Luke records for us that it was at this time that
Satan entered, literally look over the body and mind of Judas
Iscariot.
     Judas, now possessed by Satan the Devil, hurried off to the
chief priests and elders of the people, to offer his service in
how he might betray Jesus and hand Him over to them. The accounts
in the Gospels do not tell us if Judas did this thinking Jesus
would then have to use His power and fight and destroy the
priests and elders, and then move on to destroy the Roman armies,
or if Satan just simple got a hold of his mind, twisted it so
much out of normal, that Judas just wanted Jesus in the hands of
the priests and elders so they could do with Him whatever they
wanted.
     Whatever the case as to what was going on in the mind of
Judas at this time, we are told Satan entered him, and off he
went to betray Jesus to the priests and elders of Judea.

     The priests and elders of course were delighted that Judas
was offering his help so they could arrest Jesus. They had plans
to kill Him. Judas may not have known that, probably did not,
Satan no doubt kept that from the mind of Judas. Well, the
priests and elders were so grateful for Judas' offer that they
were ready to offer him money. Judas actually asked them how much
they would give him if he delivered Jesus into their hands.
They said they would pay him thirty pieces of silver. Thirty
pieces of silver was the price for a slave (Exodus 21: 32). They
regarded Jesus as worth very little. He agreed, and from that
moment on Judas looked for a way and an opportunity to betray
Jesus into their hands (Mat.26: 1-5, 14-16; Mark 14: 1, 2, 10,
11; Luke 22: 1-6).

PREPARING FOR THE PASSOVER

     To understand some of the passages in the Gospels and the
events of the last day of the life of Christ on this earth in
human form, we need to understand some basics about the Passover,
as well as some of the traditions that many of the Jews were
doing at the time of Christ, as taught by the scribes and
Pharisees.

     The original Passover of Exodus 12, was a household
Passover, a few families coming together. A priest was not
needed, nor a Tabernacle or Temple. The lamb was chosen and was
kept UP TO the 14th day of the first month. Then at "evening" or
"between the two evening" which was at dusk or sunset, the
beginning of the 14th, that portion of time when the sun first
goes down behind the horizon and when it become  black of night.
As the sun set the family or small gathering of two or so
families, killed the Passover lamb, and roasted it, which took a
number of hours (some say 3 or 4 hours) and then sat down with
bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and ate the lamb. It was well
into the night when all of this was finally finished, often
everyone stayed up all during that night of the 14th.
     The Passover day was not a Sabbath day, but at the end of
the 14th, the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread began,
and that first day of the Unleavened Bread feast, was a Sabbath
day. It was God's law that by the time the 15th day arrived, all
leaven was to be out of the homes of the Israelites. They had up
to and including the 14th day, to remove the leaven and prepare
for the feast of Unleavened Bread, which was to be observed for a
full 7 days.

     Now by the time of Christ the scribes and Pharisees had
introduced and adopted a number of changes to Exodus 12. They and
their followers had gotten into the habit of getting rid of
leaven on the 14th day, and so in Jewish terminology, the 14th
day was "a day of unleaven" because of the tradition taught by
the Pharisees of putting out leaven on the 14th, so there was no
question of any of it being left in the home when the 15th day
arrived.
     The Pharisees had taught the people that the lambs for the
Passover were to be slain in the Temple, under the Priests and
Levites. And they traditionally started to do this on the 14th
day, after the morning sacrifice. Some scholars claim they
started at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, but others state it could
have been much earlier, as the priests would not have been able
to kill enough lambs for the people, between only 3 p.m. and 6
p.m.
     6 p.m. was when they would start to roast the lamb, which
was the beginning of the 15th day of the first month.
     Whatever it may have been, the fact is the Pharisees had
taken the Passover meal and carried it over into the night
portion of the 15th day, which was the start of the 7 days
of the Unleavened Bread feast. They had MIXED the TWO separate
feasts of God and put them together as one, or putting it another
way, they had brought the Passover meal over into the first day
of the feast of Unleavened Bread.

     With this in mind, we can begin to understand some of the
words used in the Gospel accounts of this last day of Jesus' life
as a human being.

     We read in Mark and Luke that the day of "unleavened" when
the Passover lambs WERE BEING SLAIN (as the Greek tense is) had
just come. This was the "unleavened" day when the Pharisees and
their followers were TRADITIONALLY getting leaven out of
their homes (some even started to clear leaven out on the 13th
day), it was the BEGINNING of the 14th day, which was not a part
of the 7 days feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12), but had
become traditionally a day of "unleavened" because of what
the Pharisees were teaching and had been practicing for a few
centuries by this time.

     The disciples knew, from being with Jesus for three years or
so, that He observed the Passover like many other Jews, at the
beginning of the 14th day, the "evening" of the
14th day, as prescribed in the beginning by God in Exodus 12.
     The small groups of people in and around Jerusalem, were
beginning to gather together, they were already beginning to kill
the Passover lambs, at sundown. It was sunset at the beginning of
the 14th day of the first month, and Jesus had not said
ANYTHING about where they would keep and observe the Passover
meal. This was very unusual indeed. The disciples were getting
very uptight, very anxious, very bewildered.
     Everything seemed very confusing to them, Jesus had said
things about His death that they just could not believe, and they
knew the scribes, Pharisees, and elders of the people were on the
war path as we might put it, with Jesus. And now, it was just
sunset, the beginning of the 14th, the time when groups of people
in their homes were killing the Passover lamb and making reading
to observe the Passover meal, and Jesus had said not one word to
them about where they as a group would observe the Passover meal.
     
     They were now beyond themselves, and had to say something,
they could not retain their anxious thoughts any more.
     "Master, master, it is late, you've said nothing to us about
where we shall observe the Passover. People are already killing
the lambs in their groups and places of gathering. Where Lord,
will you have us go and prepare for you and us to eat the
Passover?"

     Jesus chose two of them, Peter and John, and sent them,
saying to them, "Go into the city of Jerusalem, and when you
enter you will see a man carrying a jar of water, follow him into
the house where he goes, and say to the house owner, 'The Teacher
says, my time is at hand, and I will eat the Passover at your
house with my disciples.' Ask him to show you the room where we
are to hold the Passover meal. He will show you an upper room
that is furnished; there make ready for us all."
     And the two disciples went and they found it all as Jesus
had told them. And they there prepared the Passover  meal
(Mat.26: 17-19; Mark 14: 12-16; Luke 22: 7-13).

     Finding a man in Jerusalem as Jesus had described to them,
was not hard, for it was women who usually carried the water
pots, seeing a man doing this would have been very noticeable. To
kill and roast a lamb for Jesus and the twelve disciples,
probably would have taken about 3 to 4 hours. The two disciples
were not sent to find the room until sunset, dusk time, of the
beginning of the 14th day. By the time they arrived in
Jerusalem and found the room and killed and prepared the
Passover, for Jesus and the others to sit down and eat, it would
have been about 10 p.m. possibly even as late as 11 p.m.
     This was fine, for as I've said above, the eating of the
Passover and reflections on the whole meaning of it, often went
on all through the night, then they would go to their tents in
the morning and sleep (Deut.16: 7). Of course in Jesus' day it
was not "tents" they went to, but homes or places where they
could sleep during the daylight hours of the 14th day. But this
Passover night and coming day would be like no other ever before
or ever again will be.

     The Passover meal was now all prepared. They just had to
wait for Jesus to arrive with the other ten disciples.

JESUS EATS THE PASSOVER MEAL
WITH HIS DISCIPLES

     It was late that Tuesday evening (it was a Tuesday evening
when this Passover was observed in the year 30 A.D.) and Jesus
arrived at this upper room with the other ten apostles. The hour
had arrived and they all sat down. Jesus said to them, "I have
earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you all before I
suffer; for I tell you I shall never eat it again, until it is
fulfilled in the Kingdom of God." 
     They then started into the ancient and traditional Passover
meal of the basic three thing that was always a part of that
observance, namely, the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.

     You may want to here re-read the Old Testament Bible Story
of Exodus chapter twelve.

     It was during this Passover meal that Jesus now introduced
the New Testament ordinance of the "bread and fruit of the vine."

     
     Jesus took some of the unleavened bread and broke it into
pieces, gave thanks, and said, "Take a piece, this bread
represents my body, which is given for you: this do in like
manner in the memorial of me."
     Jesus then took the cup of the fruit of the vine, and gave
thanks. He then said to them, "Each one of you, drink from this
cup. The fruit of the vine represents my blood of the New
Covenant, which is poured out for you, for the forgiveness of
sins. I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine again, unto the
day I drink it new with you when the Kingdom of God comes."

     They all did what Jesus requested and each took a piece of
unleavened bread, and each drank from the cup of the fruit of the
vine.
     The apostle Paul also outlines this New Testament ordinance
in 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26. It is THE memorial service,
remembering the Lord's death. It was introduced by the Lord Jesus
on the evening of the 14th of the first month in the Hebrew or
Jewish calendar. It was only observed in the apostolic Church of
God, once a year, in the first part of the hours of the 14th,
what we call evening time.

     After Jesus had introduced and performed this New Testament
ordinance, He looked around at all twelve disciples and in a very
sombre tone of voice, said, "But behold the hand of him who
betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of man goes as it
has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"

     Amazement and shock came across the faces of the twelve, on
hearing those words. And soon they began to question each other,
as to which of them it was going to be that would betray Jesus
(Mat.26: 26-29; Mark 14: 22-25; Luke 22: 14-23).

JESUS' WASHES THE FEET OF HIS 12 DISCIPLES

     John is the only Gospel writer to record this next event at
that last Passover Jesus held with His disciples.
     The supper Passover meal had ended. The KJV translation is
correct when it says, "and supper ended" for the Greek tense here
used by John is "aorist" tense, which signifies a completed
action in the past, an event already finished in the past.
     The Devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot
to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all
things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was
going back again to God, rose from the supper table, laid aside
His outer garments, and girded Himself with a towel. He then
poured water in a bowl, and began to wash the disciples' feet,
and to wipe them with the towel He had around Himself. 
     He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to Him, "Lord, are
you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "What I am doing now
you do not understand, but you will afterwards, later you will
understand." Peter still shocked at this thought of Jesus washing
his feet, quickly replied, "Oh no Lord, you shall never wash my
feet!"

     We have to remember that it was the lowest of the servants
of the household that washed the feet of visitors, washing away
the dust and dirt from their travel. Also remember that the
people wore sandals, and on their bare feet. It was the custom of
the day that if you had visitors you had your lowest ranking
servant wash their feet when they came into your home.

     Peter could not think that Jesus was acting out what the
lowest household servant would do. He just was not about to let
Jesus wash his feet, thinking if anything it should be the other
way around, and he should be washing Jesus' feet.
     But Jesus answered him with, "If I do not wash your feet,
you have no part in me." Simon Peter then said, "Well Lord, not
my feet only then, but my hands and head!" Jesus said to him, "He
that has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but
he is clean all over; and you are clean but not all of you." 
     Jesus knew who it was that would betray Him, and that was
the reason He said, "You are not all clean."

     The disciples would have bathed themselves before attending
the very important Passover meal. So they really were clean in a
physical way, but in a spiritual way there was need for a lesson
to be learned in Jesus washing all of their feet, even the feet
of Judas Iscariot. They all needed to learn the lesson, which
Jesus explained (and we'll get to that right away), but one of
them (Judas) was unclean in many ways other than the physical. We
have seen he was by now possessed by Satan the Devil himself.

     When He had washed their feet, and taken up His garments
again, and resumed His sitting place, He said to them, "Do you
understand what I have done to you? I will tell you. You call me
Teacher and Lord; and you are right, I am indeed both. If I then,
your Lord, and your Teacher, have washed your feet, then you also
ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an
EXAMPLE, that you also SHOULD DO as I have done to you. Truly,
truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master;
nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know
these things, BLESSED are you IF YOU DO them. "

     Jesus was demonstrating to them that they should be
servants. And if Jesus could get down and wash His disciples
feet, being much greater than they, being the one to send them
out to do His work, and so if He could humble Himself to wash
their feet, like a lowly servant, how much more should they be
willing to wash one another's feet. He said He had set them the
example, and that they knowing this should do likewise, and
they would be blessed for knowing and doing as He had done to
them.
     So today God's people around the world, on Passover evening,
not only take the bread and the fruit of the vine (wine or grape
juice) but also wash each other's feet.
     It is an outward symbol of a willingness to be a servant to
others, to not think too highly of themselves, to remember they
are called to serve each other, to live a life of serving and
helping each other, and all mankind, in whatever good ways they
can possibly do, with the gifts, talents, abilities, and material
goods, they have been given from God in order to share and serve
others with.

     Jesus was saying all these things to all of them, but ONE,
for He finished this event by saying, "I am not speaking of you
all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the Scriptures may be
fulfilled, 'He who ate by bread has lifted his heel against me.'
I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does
take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to
you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he
who receives me receives Him who sent me" (John 13: 1-20).

     The evening had taken on by now a VERY SOMBRE atmosphere, a
grave foreboding was in that upper room. Many of the minds of the
disciples were even more troubled and confused by all that Jesus
had said and done.
     The part of that night had come, where it was customary to
leave the supper table and recline and lounge around as we say,
on various types of seats and cushions. It was the time to relax
and ponder and meditate on the Passover and all that it signified
in Jewish history. This Passover was way more significant than
any of them could have possibly imagined. Jesus was about to say
to them words that He had said a little earlier. This would once
more trouble them greatly.

          ........................................

Written January 2003 

All studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published, emailed, and
distributed, as led by the Spirit. Mr. Hunt trusts nothing with
be changed (except for spelling and punctuation errors) without
his consent.


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