Tag Archives: Passover

Jesus’ calendar during Passover week

If we consider the Gospel of John a sort of “Day Planner” for Jesus, we have nearly complete activity recorded for two weeks of the earthly ministry of Jesus. The first is in John 1:19—2:11 where activity for six of the seven days is recorded. I think the omitted day is the sabbath.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Imagine the city as it would have appeared to Jesus when he reached the top of the Mount of Olives. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next nearly complete week is the last week, leading up to the resurrection. John gives more attention to the last week than any other Gospel. Even here we have activities for only six of eight days. This section begins in John 12:1 and continues into John 20. Here is the way I have reconstructed it. Where John does not record the activity I have omitted the scripture reference.

  • Sunday — The King enters Jerusalem — 12:12-19
  • Monday — Cleansing the Temple —
  • Tuesday — Visit of the Greeks — 12:20-36
  • Tuesday — Jewish rejection — 12:37-50
  • Wednesday — No events recorded in the Gospels
  • Thursday Evening — Passover Meal, including Washing Disciples Feet (only in John) — 13:1-38
  • Thur. Eve — Farewell discourses — 14—16
  • Thur. Eve — Prayer — 17
  • Thur. Eve — Annas (only in John) — 18:12-14
  • Thur. Eve — Caiaphas — 18:24-28
  • Friday — Pilate — 18:28—19:16
  • Friday — Crucifixion — 19:16-42
  • Sabbath —
  • First Day — Resurrection — 20

It should be noted that the appearance before Annas and Caiaphas were the Jewish (Religious) trials. The appearance before Pilate [and Herod Antipas] were the Roman (Civil) trials.

John does not record the pronouncement of woes on the religious leaders, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and the account of the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

With this sparse attention given to two weeks, no wonder John says,

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 ESV)

Updated from April 21, 2011

“Rejoice and be glad” you are not in Jerusalem

U.S. President Barack H. Obama plans a visit to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, beginning Wednesday. Preparations are already under way. Arutz Sheva 7 reports here on the problems already evident.

In addition to the fact that Jerusalem is now one of the most difficult cities to navigate (my opinion based on 47 years of travel experience), the Passover is approaching. Jewish families must make many special preparations.

The President will be staying at the famous King David Hotel. If you planned to visit the Herodian Family Tomb behind the hotel, just forget it for a few days.

Over 5,000 police will be directly involved in providing security for Obama and his entourage, while hundreds of others will be helping out in indirect ways. For example, over 100 officers will be added to the police help line specifically to deal with issues called in by citizens relating to the Obama visit. Police will keep citizens updated on all aspects of the visit by phone and through social media.

Over 1,000 police alone will be deployed around the King David Hotel, where Obama will be staying, and will follow Obama around as he pays visits to people and institutions during his three day visit here.

Here is a photo of the King David Hotel from across the western part of the Hinnom Valley. It was taken either from the Protestant Cemetery, the Campus of Jerusalem University College, or a few meters to the north of that.

King David Hotel from the slope of Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

King David Hotel from the slope of Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Take a look at some of the traffic problems.

Already on Sunday, long before Obama arrives, traffic in Jerusalem was extremely choked, as police began setting up barricades, and many Jerusalemites took to the road to finish their Passover shopping while the roads are still open.

Among the roads to be closed sporadically during Obama’s visit will be Road 1, between Ben Gurion Airport and the entrance to Jerusalem, as well as main Jerusalem thoroughfares such as Herzl Boulevard and Derech Hevron [Hebron Road]. Police said they will make every effort to ensure that roads are closed only of absolutely necessary.

Several years ago I was in Jerusalem when President Clinton came to visit. Our hotel was far from the Old City, but policemen were stationed about a block apart. Nations normally enjoy these high level visits, but I am not sure this current one means very much, but it keeps Air Force One running. (O.K., you have a right to your opinion.)

HT: Barry Britnell

Reclining in the Upper Room

Each of the Gospels tell us something about the last supper Jesus ate with His disciples prior to the crucifixion. Matthew says,

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'”  And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.  When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. (Matthew 26:17-20 ESV)

Both Mark and Luke inform us that the room was a “large upper room furnished” (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12). Leon Morris comments on these arrangements.

The householder would show them a large upper room furnished. This last word is literally ‘spread’ and probably means that there would be couches ready with coverings spread over them (Moffatt translates ‘with couches spread’). They followed instructions and prepared the meal. (Morris, Luke: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 323.)

There is in the portion of the Old City of Jerusalem called Mount Zion (which really isn’t) a room known as the Cenacle (Latin) or the Room of the Last Supper. The tradition goes back further, but the building as we see it today dates back to the time of the Franciscans in 1335 A.D. (Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land).

The traditional room of the Last Supper (the Cenacle) on Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The traditional room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jim Fleming has specialized in recreating the world of the Bible for modern students. He says,

Rather than picturing small round or rectangular standing tables, these words would have called to mind a room with a large U-shaped triclinium dining table with cushions.

Persons lying down to eat would recline around the outside of the table with the upper body supported on their left elbow. At large tricliniums the food was served from the center of the U-shaped table. (The World of the Bible Replicas)

Here is a drawing of a typical Roman triclinium.

Triclinium (1000 Bible Images).

Triclinium. Credit: 1000 Bible Images.

And here is a photo of a reconstructed triclinium at the Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia [Take the kids with you.]. The photo is courtesy of David Padfield.

Triclinium at Explorations in Antiquity Center. Photo by David Padfield.

Triclinium at Explorations in Antiquity Center. Photo by David Padfield.

Some of our English versions correctly use the term recline, reclined, or reclining, in the passages relating to eating meals in New Testament times. The KJV and the NKJV use “sat down” or similar terminology. Knowing that the concept of reclining is not understood by modern readers, some translations use a dynamic equivalent such as “took his place at the table” (CEB; NET, with a note of explanation).

Remember what you have learned here the next time you come across one of these references in your reading of the New Testament.

For a summary of the last week of the ministry of Jesus prior to the crucifixion, see here.