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Welcome to our in-depth study of the Life of Jesus Christ

I pray that you are blessed and encouraged in your walk with Christ as you work through these lessons and read the insightful comments made by other ministers doing the course. That your love for Christ Jesus will deepen and your commitment strengthen. That your faith will prove genuine and endure to the end with joy unspeakable and full of glory, as we receive the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

A lot of time meditating on the Word, prayer and research has gone into these blogs, but that does not mean that everything is correct, or the fullness of what God is saying to us through His Word. If you notice any mistakes, or have different insights, or evidence of a different chronology please share that with us all through the comments section on each page so we can all learn from one another.

Each lesson is linked below, to make it easier to work through the whole course…

INTRODUCTION – How do we Faithfully Serve in Christ’s Mission

This course is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach. We begin by developing an understanding of the world He was born into, and how it had been shaped in preparation for His coming – looking at the developments in Judaism from the Babylonian exile until the rule of Rome, and how the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophesies elicited strong expectations of Messiah’s coming.

SECTION 1 Setting the Stage ~ How Judaism Developed from Kingdom Division to Roman Occupation

1. Israel Replaced with Samaritans & the Kingdom of God Prophesied (931-627 BC)
2. Judah Taken Captive to Babylon & the Temple Destroyed (627 – 586 BC)
3. A New Judaism – without Land or Temple (586 – 537 BC)
4. Rebuilding the Temple (539 – 517 BC)
5. Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem (486 – 430 B.C.)
6. Developments in Judaism under Persian Occupation (430 – 332 BC)
7. Greek Conquest and Hellenization (332 – 166 BC)
8. The Maccabean Revolt & Hasmonean Period (166 – 40 BC)
9. Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC)

We have an INTERLUDE between SECTION 1 and SECTION 2 – which looks at the authors of each of the four gospel accounts to provide some background information on each one’s perspective of Jesus’ life.

Who Wrote Each of the Four Gospels 1 – Introduction
Who Wrote Each of the Four Gospels 2 – The Witness of Church Tradition
Who Wrote Each of the Four Gospels 3 – The Witness of the Scriptures
The Witness of the Scriptures on Luke
The Witness of the Scriptures on Mark
The Witness of the Scriptures on Matthew
The Witness of the Scriptures on John

In SECTION 2 we take an in-depth look at Jesus’ life in the context of this culture which we have seen develop in the centuries leading up to His birth. As language is an essential part of culture, names in this course are often written in their original Hebrew (along with the English translations that most of us are more familiar with).

SECTION 2 – The Apostolic Reformation Begins ~ Jesus (Yeshua) as a Jewish Reformer

God Sent His Son
1. A Child Is Born
2. Yeshua’s Youth

The First Year of Yeshua’s Ministry
1. Yochanan & Yeshua as God Sent Jewish Reformers
2. Yeshua Introduces God’s Kingdom as a Wedding
3. Yeshua’s 2nd lesson – Passover
4. The Harvest is Ripe, Where You Least Expect It
5. Yeshua Taught in their Synagogues
6. Confronting Power and Expectation
7. Healing at the Pool of Bethesda
8. Starting Again
9. The Beatitudes (blessings)
10. Salt and Light
11. Fulfilling Torah
12. Living Prayer
13. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
14. Discernment Sayings
15. Cleansing, Forgiving & Calling
16. New Kingdom – New Structure
17. 12 Chosen
18. Sermon on the Plain
19. Misunderstood
20. Parables
21. Wind & Waves
22. Yochanan’s Question
Map Summary of the First Year of Yeshua’s Ministry

The Second Year of Yeshua’s Ministry
1. 12 Apostello
2. Feeding the 5,000
3. The Tide is Turning
4. Clash of Tradition & Torah
5. Mission into Gentile Territory
6. Sukkot
7. Teaching in the Temple
8. Light of the World
9. I AM – Truth and Freedom
10. Healing the Blind
11. The Good Shepherd
12. The Gates of Hell
13. Keys, Suffering & Glory
14. Help Me in My Unbelief
15. What Love Looks Like
Map Summary of the Second Year of Yeshua’s Ministry

The Third Year of Yeshua’s Ministry
1. Yeshua set His face to go to Jerusalem
2. Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication)
3. The Divine Council
4. Yeshua Reveals the Father
5. Leader’s Woes
6. An Innumerable Multitude
7. Repent or Perish
8. Dining with a Leader of the Pharisees
9. Invitation & Costs of Discipleship
10. Nothing in Torah Fails
11. Lazarus Death & Resurrection
12. On the Way to Jerusalem
13. Leaders Serve

The Week Leading to Jesus’ Crucifixion
1. Preparing for Passover
2. Cleansing the Temple
3. Challenging Unbelief
4. Signs of What is to Come
5. Kingdom Parables
6. Love and Betrayal
7. Preparing the Last Supper
8. The Last Supper
9. To Gethsemane
10. Arrest – 14th Nissan Night

Simply click on the title of your next lesson to be taken to that lesson so you can read through it and answer the questions at the end.

New lessons will be added as we explore all of Jesus’ life and ministry.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

Crucify Him!

Matthew 27:16,17 in some versions, and some ancient manuscripts, gives a longer name for Barabbas which heightens the dramatic contrast: “Which one do you want me to release for you? Yeshua who is Bar-Abba, or Yeshua who is called Messiah?” Some biblical scholars, such as Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, suggest that the name Yeshua before Bar Abba was just a scribal error. He noticed that in Matthew 27:17, in the clause, ‘Who do you want me to release to you, Barabbas or Jesus’ the last two letters of ‘to you’ in Greek form the standard abbreviation used for ‘Yeshua’. The name ‘Yeshua’ was one of the words consistently abbreviated by writing only the first and last letter(s). Samuel reasoned that a scribe, in anticipation of the name Jesus, could have accidently read the final letters of υμιν (‘to you’) twice. Hence the name ‘Jesus Barabbas‘ in only some, rather than all, ancient manuscripts. Others think it more likely that the name Yeshua was removed from before Barabbas in some manuscripts out of concern that it would cause confusion.

The original Hebrew-Aramaic name of Jesus is Yeshuˈa, which is derived from the Hebrew verb, yasha, that means “to deliver, save, or rescue,” and is short for Yehōshuˈa (Joshua). It was a popular name during the time of Messiah, so it is possible that both men had the same name and were thus differentiated by their designation as Bar-Abba (son of father), and HaMashiach (the anointed). If that was the case, then the crowd was choosing between the Yeshua who raised the dead and a Yeshua who murdered people and stole from them. They chose the latter.

 The chief priests and officers of the Sanhedrin were determined that Yeshua be punished in accordance with the shame filled, torturous Roman manner of punishment for slaves and rebels – crucifixion. Why? Because they wanted Him to be discredited in the eyes of the people in general, and even in the eyes of His followers. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 states: “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.” For the Jews, to have Yeshua crucified was to demonstrate that He was not a man of God but One who was cursed of God, He hangs on the tree – this horrible instrument of torture. They failed to realise that He was taking our curse upon Himself in order to gift us His blessedness.

Scourged” was a Roman judicial penalty, consisting of a severe beating with a multi-lashed whip containing embedded pieces of bone and metal that made a bloody pulp of a man’s body. It was a brutal punishment that was standard practice before a crucifixion. The person to be scourged was stripped of his clothing, tied to a post or pillar, and beaten until his flesh hung in shreds. There was no maximum number of strokes: the whipping could go on as long as the soldier administering it wished. Men frequently collapsed and died as the result of a scourging.

These soldiers took out all their frustrations against the Jewish people on this One called their king. The physical torments of scourging were followed by sarcastic mocking and deriding combined with more physical abuse. The garment placed upon Jesus after his brutal scourging was likely one that had been worn and cast off as useless, “a scarlet robe…faded to resemble purple” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary). The ancients (especially the Romans) used the term purple when speaking of various shades of red (McGarvey, 1875, p. 361; Barnes, 1997). Yeshua‘s tattered flash and blood would have stuck to this robe, and then been torn away when they stripped it off to put His own clothes back on Him. Cruel sinners doing all they could to punish and torment the pure Son of God. It was a bloodied, weakened Man who staggered back out for Pilate to present to the people as they were given one last chance to choose where their faith would lie.

Pilate had no qualms about killing anyone, guilty or innocent. But what he did care about, what affected his political fortunes, power and prestige, was ensuring the peace and stability of the region under his charge. He had bitter experience of how dedicated these Jews could be to their faith and the last thing he wanted was a riot for killing their Messiah, or for failing to kill Him. The intelligence he received would have given him some idea of how large the crowds were that followed this Man, and also of Yeshua’s total lack of attack on Roman authority or institutions in His sermons, which was in line with Pilate’s current experience in questioning the Man. All His rhetorical attacks seemed to be against these religious leaders who had now brought Him to be tried. If Pilate could get them to take responsibility for His death there would be nothing for the Jews to riot against him about.

And then there was his wife’s dream, Romans were generally superstitious polytheists. The objective of Roman worship was to gain the blessing of the gods and thereby gain prosperity for themselves, their families and communities. Anything that angered the gods could threaten such prosperity. Another good reason to goad the Jews into taking full responsibility for getting rid of this Man who threatened Roman order by His very existence and who made religious claims reserved for Caesar (like being the Son of God).

To have the chief priests cry out in loud affirmation: “We have no king but Caesar” was a mighty victory indeed. It discredited any and every suggestion of a Jewish Messiah King and denounced all Jewish longings to be free from Roman rule.

Before Yeshua HaMashiach was handed over to be crucified, Pilate gave the crowds the opportunity to have one prisoner released in celebration of Passover and offered them this “King of the Jews“. Although Rome found it highly offensive for anyone they had not appointed to be called “king“, this Man had not, and would not, partake in any violent uprising against them, so Pilate thought Him the best option to release. Those of Yeshua‘s followers who knew He’d been taken were still in fearful shock and didn’t know what to do, whereas the chief priests had planned this out and gathered their supporters to incite the mob gathered outside Pilate’s Praetorium. They called for the release of Barabbas and crucifixion of Christ.

Barabbas and the two men who were crucified with Christ were likely all involved in the same insurrection (attack, or series of attacks, on Roman interests). The scriptures do not tell us why it was Barabbas that the crowd called for, rather than either of the men who ended up being crucified with Yeshua, but we may have a hint in his name. In Hebrew and Aramaic Barabbas is Bar (son of) abba (father), which figuratively can mean son of the teacher. So, he may have been the son of a rabbi, possibly one of the men on the Sanhedrin who had condemned Yeshua. Matthew described him as ‘a notorious prisoner’ (Matthew 27:16), and Mark as ‘someone who had committed murder in the insurrection’ (Mark 15:7). Whoever he was, the crowd was clamoring for his release, and the crucifixion of the Son of God.

The hurtful betrayal, the condemnation of the only innocent Man, involved so much sin from so many, and yet it fulfilled the perfect will of God. In His sovereignty God uses all things together for good, even the greatest evil imaginable cannot escape the web of God’s goodness. Our sin can never surprise or out-maneuver God, He knows it all from before the beginning. Yet our sin can have devastating consequences for us, as it did for Judas and as it would for the population of Jerusalem. Matthew hints at the tragedy of God’s judgment that is to come through drawing attention to Jeremiah’s prophesy about the potter and at the same time loosely quoting from Zechariah 11’s reference to the miserly thirty pieces of silver that they had valued Him at and that was thrown at the house of the Lord. He thus assures his readers that God foretold of this travesty, and that His judgments are on their way.

The Romans intended crucifixion to be:
1) unspeakably cruel;
2) mercilessly lingering; and
3) inescapably public (public shaming and warning to others);
Thus, crucifixion was always on a low hill outside the main city gate (because a gate is a bottleneck – any person going into/out of the city must pass that way).

From the palace it was a short walk of about 400 metres to Golgotha.  For any who had been scourged almost to death before their crucifixion it was a long, arduous walk carrying the heavy crossbeam patibulum on the shredded remains of their shoulders. Yeshua‘s battered body may have made it to the city gate before failed under the weight of the patibulum. Simon from Cyrene, an ancient Greek colony near present day Shahhat, Libya in North Africa was heading from the countryside into Jerusalem, likely for Passover, when he was grabbed by the Roman soldiers and compelled to carry Yeshua’s patibulum. It seems that this encounter with Yeshua changed Simon forever, and he led his family to Christ. Mark writes that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus – obviously two men who were well known in the church. In Romans Paul writes: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother” (Rom 16:13 CSB). Paul may be referring to Simon’s son by the same name, lending further credence to the belief that this family became well known and respected members of the church in Rome.

By now the word had spread and many women came out to grieve what was being done to the only holy man they knew. If only their tears could melt the hearts of these cruel Roman soldiers. Despite His agony, Yeshua turned His attention to these women, encouraging them to stop crying for Him because this was the Father’s will, and warning them of what was to come.

Mark tells us that it was the third hour when Yeshua was crucified. The Jews divided the daylight hours into twelve. So, the third hour was three hours after sunrise, so around 9am. The whole trial process before the Sanhedrin and then Pilate had begun at sunrise and taken around 3 hours.

In the Bible, the word gall most often refers to a bitter-tasting substance made of a plant such as wormwood or myrrh. Mark specifies that the bitterness in the wine was due to the presence of myrrh. Myrrh means ‘bitter’ in Arabic. It is a resiny brownish sap that comes out of cuts from the bark of trees that are members of the Commiphora species. This species of tree typically grows in Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. In ancient medicine, myrrh was believed to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. Wine mixed with myrrh created a potion that dulled the sense of pain. The Talmud states: “The women of highest rank in Jerusalem, out of free impulse, and at their own cost, gave the condemned man this draught.” This, too, was a fulfilment of prophesy from Psalm 62, with the second half of that verse to be fulfilled later that day. Yeshua refused this drink designed to lessen His suffering and dull His senses.

The accused were nailed to the patibulum while lying down, so after having refused the analgesic wine, Yeshua was stripped naked and thrown to the ground, reopening His wounds, grinding in dirt, and causing further bleeding. They nailed His “hands” to the patibulum. The Greek meaning of “hands” includes the wrist. It is more likely that the nails went through Yeshua’s wrists, between the two major bones of the forearm. Evidence of nails being used by the Romans for crucifixion is also provided by Josephus, who writes that at the Siege of Jerusalem (70 C.E.), “the soldiers out of rage and hatred, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest.” The ‘nails’ were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inch (13 to 18 cm) long, with a square shaft 3/8 inch (1 cm) across. The huge nail damages or severs the major nerve to the hand (the median nerve) upon impact, causing continuous agonizing pain up both of Yeshua’s arms. Then the patibulum with its sign (titulus) declaring His name and crime “YESHUA HA-NATZRATI, THE KING OF THE JEWS” was lifted up onto the upright stauros (σταυρός) and secured there. Next, thick iron spikes were pounded through His feet, attaching them to the stauros. Every part of Yeshua’s body, from head to feet, suffered torturous, agonizing assault as He hung on that cross for our sin.

John is the first to alert us to this whole scene being a fulfilment of Psalm 22 when he writes:
This was so the Scripture would be fulfilled,
“They divided My garments among them,
and for My clothing they cast lots.”
.

Yes, even the finer details of this horror had been foretold by God through David’s Psalm. All things are in His hands.

Yeshua’s powerful first words from the agony of the cross were: Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. When we understand what He was going through for us, and because of us, when He uttered that plea on our behalf there is no excuse left for refusing to forgive anyone for anything. Such radical forgiveness is part of what it means to take up our cross and follow Yeshua.

Do not expect a positive response to your generous forgiveness. Yeshua’s tormentors just increased their verbal abuse directed towards Him.

For Yeshua, the abandonment and rejection from His own people was total.  He was despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Isaiah 53:3 ESV. Yet, His cry for their forgiveness was not dependent on them repenting or apologizing or proving faithful. It was not “forgive them for they are sorry” but “forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing“, so it was not impacted by the abuse they were now hurling at Him.

According to A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG), λῃστής (translated here as “evildoers” has two meanings. The first is “robber, highwayman, bandit” and the second is “revolutionary, insurrectionist, guerrilla, terrorist.” The Greek work kleptes refers to a common thief; but in Matthew and Mark’s account of the thieves crucified, the Greek word lestes is used, which has the root meaning “to plunder.” Though we don’t have information on the nature of their crimes, the use of this term indicates they were probably a part of a rebel group. While the ESV has chosen to translate it as “robber,” the context clearly suggests a very serious crime is in mind. If Barabbas was a robber, he must have been a violent one – and John does not need to use an adjective to express that. Mark 15:7 backs up that John means insurrectionist by λῃστής, as he describes Barabbas as a rebel who committed murder in an insurrection. Given the fact that Barabbas was in custody for his part in an insurrection, it seems likely that the two λῃστής crucified with Jesus were also insurrectionists. If not, they were at least violent robbers – the meaning of λῃστής does not allow for ordinary thieves. The best conclusion, then, is that Jesus was crucified alongside two rebels (so NIV)/revolutionaries (so NLT). They both had blood on their hands from violently attacking others, whereas Yeshua’s hands had only touched others to bring healing. One of them recognized this.

Here was the first fruits of Yeshua’s forgiveness. A man whose heart was transformed. He had nothing to commend himself and nothing to offer, being under the same death sentence, but he believed and it was sufficient. “Remember me” is an earnest plea for mercy in the royal court when Yeshua assumes His kingly status and power. It was a declaration of saving faith that Yeshua really is the King of God’s kingdom.

Yeshua’s response brings hope and comfort to so many who have nothing to offer and no way of making up for the wrong they have done. His promise is sure and true. “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” This very day, Nissan 14th, before the sun sets, this new believer will be with Him in paradise. No penance was needed for all his sins, Yeshua was paying the full price for that. Go directly from the shame, pain and sorrows of this life into the joys of paradise with Christ. To be with Him forever!

Here we have some intimate details missed by the other Gospel accounts. Mary’s overcoming love for her Son and Yeshua’s care for His mother. The other disciples may have scattered, and stayed away out of fear of being caught and likewise crucified, as the Romans were wont to do to all members of any group they considered to be a threat to the public order of the Empire. But Mary, her sister and Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene would not be kept away by anything. This is the second glimmer of hope we see in the sea of great darkness covering this event. Yeshua was not totally alone, the women were there. One of His male disciples was also there. The one who knew the High Priest, the one this author refers to as “the disciple whom He loved“. Most scholars think the author is referring to himself. John is the Gospel writer who focused on Yeshua‘s time in Judea and temple attendance for the Jewish festivals. It appears that he is the only male disciple at the cross with the women. None of Yeshua’s brothers are there. So, fulfilling His duty as eldest Son, Yeshua hands His mother over to the care of this disciple whom He loves, this one who stayed close despite the dangers, the one who was available, the one who was supporting her now at her point of greatest need.

Yeshua had been suffering on the cross for about three hours. It was now the sixth hour since the sun came up – the middle of the day. It was the brightest, lightest time of the day and suddenly all light was gone – darkness covered the land. It was Passover time, all the Jews had been focusing on the story of their exodus from Egypt. God had sent ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to let the Jews go. The ninth plague was darkness on all the land for three days. Now they were faced with darkness on all the land for three hours. The next plague, the one that set them free, was the death of the firstborn son, a plague the Jews were only saved from by the blood of the spotless, innocent Passover lamb on the wooden lintel and door posts of their houses. Upon that middle cross, on this 14th day of the first month, His blood sprinkled on the crossbeam and upright post. After the plague of darkness, He would die as the substitute sacrifice for all mankind – the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

At the ninth hour (3pm) Yeshua gathered all His strength to cry out the first verse of Psalm 22: Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and the darkness started lifting. For the learned Jews who had memorized the TaNaKh in Hebrew (or Aramaic) this cry would have directed them to the whole of Psalm 22, which they had seen playing out before their eyes. But the bystanders close to the cross at this time were not Hebrew speakers so totally misunderstood and thought Yeshua was crying out for Elijah to rescue Him.

Psalm 69, which spoke of the zeal for God’s house consuming Him that was saw with the cleansing of the Temple, also spoke of the response to Messiah’s thirst on the cross – He was given (in the Greek) oxos.  Thayer’s Lexicon defines oxos as follows: The mixture of sour wine or vinegar and water which the Roman soldiers were accustomed to drink.

Yeshua had something more to say, but His mouth and throat were so parched by the ordeal of crucifixion that He did not have the physical strength to say it; thus this request for moisture for His lips, “I thirst“. It was sufficient, and Yeshua managed to squeeze out His last two declarations.

The Greek word translated as “been accomplished” in John 19:28 is tetelestai, the same word Yeshua cried out after He had received the oxos. He said “I thirst” because He knew that all things had already been accomplished with the three hours of darkness and it was now time to bring His suffering to an end.

We don’t know if Yeshua’s last words on the cross were in His native Hebrew (שָׁלֵם / shalem), or in the more universal language of Greek (τετέλεσται / tetelestai) so that the Roman soldiers could also understand what was being said.

The Hebrew word that τετέλεσται (it is finished) best translates is שָׁלֵם. In the context of John 19:30 שָׁלֵם has the meaning, “It is complete, finished, ended”. In the Torah, שָׁלֵם also has the meanings:
# made whole or good,
# restored the thing lost Joel 2:25, or stolen Exodus 21:37,
# debt paid 2 Kings 4:7Psalm 37:21 Proverbs 22:27 Job 41:3

The Greek τετέλεσται / tetelestai comes from the verb teleo, which means “to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish.” It signifies the successful end to a significant course of action – “I did exactly what I set out to do.” Tetelestai is in the perfect tense in Greek, which speaks of an action which has been completed in the past with results continuing into the present, “this happened and it is still in effect today. The results of the cross are eternal, there never is or will be any other way for us to be reconciled to God.

“It is finished” also refers to completing the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies, symbols, and foreshadowings of the coming Messiah. From Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 prophecies detailing the coming of the Anointed One, all fulfilled by Yeshua. From the “seed” who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, to the prediction of the “messenger” of the Lord (John the Baptist) who would “prepare the way” for the Messiah, all prophecies of Yeshua’s life, ministry, and death were fulfilled and finished at the cross.

The Cross is the sole basis for God’s total provision for us. Everything He did, does, and will do for us and in us, He does through the Cross and the shed blood of His only Son. There is no path back to Him that does not go through the Cross. Paul wrote: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 NIV); “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Corinthians 5:21); and “God presented Him as the atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and to justify the one who has faith in Jesus. “(Romans 3:25-26 BSB)

Yeshua’s last words from the cross, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit were once again quoted from the Psalms. This time it was Psalm 31 that the Son of David was drawing attention to. It is a sharp rebuke to His enemies, a comfort to those persecuted for righteousness, and a declaration of absolute trust in His Father.

As the first group of Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple, Yeshua breathed His last and the thick 60feet (20m) long curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. The tearing of the temple veil signified the start of Christ’s ministry as High Priest.  But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11–12 ESV)

The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) was, at the moment of His death, appointed our forever High Priest. Our atoning sacrifice became our High Priest. He was both the pure, unblemished sacrifice and the One who offered this sacrifice to God. The curtain was torn, the barrier between us and the holy presence of God removed, the Holy of Holies is now with us wherever we are in the world, accessed through the blood of Yeshua.

God’s ways and timing are perfect in every way, His will is accomplished no matter what man plans. Concerning the Passover lamb God had declared: It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. (Exodus 12:46) & They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Passover they shall observe it. (Numbers 9:12). He had also prophesied through David: The afflictions of the righteous are many, but the Lord rescues him from them all.  He protects all his bones, not one of them is broken. (Psalm 34:19-20). The Jewish religious leaders didn’t want anyone hanging on a cross during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so asked Pilate that their legs be broken to hasten death so they could be removed. While they were negotiating this, Yeshua committed His spirit into the Father’s hands, bowed His head and gave up His spirit. The soldiers broke the legs of the two others crucified with Messiah but seeing that He was already dead they had no need to break His legs. As God had foretold, not one of His bones was broken.

Another prophetic scripture was to be fulfilled before Yeshua was laid to rest: Then I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look on Me, the One they have pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son. Zechariah 12:10 BSB. Just to make sure, one soldier thrust his spear into Yeshua’s side, likely under His ribs, piercing Him and causing blood and water to gush out. Crucifixion typically resulted in death through one of two ways. The first way was hypovolemic shock, loss of blood volume through severe dehydration or blood loss from the flogging that preceded the crucifixion. This caused the heart to beat rapidly, desperately trying to pump enough blood around the body, and this causes fluid to gather in the pericardium (a fluid-filled sac that encases the heart and the roots of the great vessels). The second way was asphyxiation as the victim tired of pulling themself up on pierced wrists and feet to breathe. Asphyxiation can also result in the buildup of fluid around the heart. The gush of water and blood confirmed that Yeshua’s pericardial sack had both filled with fluid indicating death and been pierced along with at least one of the great vessels therein, so no blood would be left for His heart to pump. It was a dramatic piercing, as the scriptures had foretold.

They will look at Him...” Herein lies salvation. To look at Him who was pierced for us. To look at Him who died for us. To look at Him who took our sin upon Himself. To look at Him our atoning sacrifice. To look at Him who is able to save us completely. Not look to another, neither priest nor prophet. Not look at ourselves, neither in admiration nor disgust. Look at Yeshua, the author and perfector of our faith, and receive from Him what we are incapable of earning for ourself.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. HCSB. Holman Christian Standard Bible. s.l. : Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
5. Holy Bible. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
6. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
7. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/
8. Bible Commentaries. Matthew 27:9. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/27-9.htm.
9. Contributors. What is the significance of the young man who runs away naked in Mark’s gospel? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/4826/what-is-the-significance-of-the-young-man-who-runs-away-naked-in-marks-gospel.
10. Kuruvilla, Abraham. Who Was That Young Man? Voice . [Online] December 30th, 2013. https://voice.dts.edu/article/who-was-that-young-man-kuruvilla-abraham/.
11. Bilkes, Gerald M. The Healing of Malchus’s Ear. Christian Study Library. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.christianstudylibrary.org/article/healing-malchus%E2%80%99s-ear.
12. Webmaster. Why Was Jesus’ Trial Illegal? Bible Verse Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/the-trial-of-jesus.html.
13. Rajkumar, Paul. Who’s in the Dock? A Lawyer looks at the Trial of Jesus. Bible & Theology. [Online] July 18th, 2022. https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/whos-in-the-dock-a-lawyer-looks-at-the-trial-of-jesus/.
14. Linder, Professor Douglas O. The Trial of Jesus: An Account. Famous Trials. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.famous-trials.com/jesustrial/1042-home.
15. Nydam, Don. A Lawyer Looks At Trials Of Jesus. Sermons . [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://sermons.logos.com/sermons/36135-a-lawyer-looks-at-trials-of-jesus?sso=false.
16. Williamson, Stephen. Timeline of the Last Supper, Jesus’s Arrest and the Crucifixion. SWCS. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.swcs.com.au/crucifixion.htm.
17. Webmaster. The Arrest of Jesus. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/the-arrest-of-jesus.html.
18. NASEC, Thayer’s, Strong’s & Englishman’s. 4616. sindón. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/greek/4616.htm.
19. Fillion, L. C. The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition, Volume III. s.l. : Herder Book Co., 1929.
20. Rideout, Moshe. What Is The Definition Of Cohort In Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome. [Online] December 11th, 2023. https://www.learnancientrome.com/what-is-the-definition-of-cohort-in-ancient-rome/?expand_article=1.
21. NASEC, Thayer’s, Strong’s & Englishman’s. 3162. machaira. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/greek/3162.htm.
22. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
23. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
24. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
25. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
26. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
27. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
28. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday)..
29. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
30. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
31. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
32. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
33. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
34. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
35. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
36. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
37. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
38. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
39. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
40. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
41. PBS. Religion. The Roman Empire in the First Century. [Online] [Cited: January 31st, 2024.] https://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/religion.html.
42. Jongkind, Dirk. Was Barabbas called Jesus Barabbas? Tyndale House. [Online] April 14th, 2022. https://tyndalehouse.com/explore/articles/jesus-barabbas-or-jesus-christ/.
43. Bolinger, Hope. Who was Barabbas and Why Did the People Choose Him over Jesus? Bible Study Tools. [Online] April 27th, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-did-the-people-chose-barabbas-over-jesus.html.
44. Contributors. Was Barabbas’ given name Jesus? Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. [Online] [Cited: February 1st, 2024.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/2698/was-barabbas-given-name-jesus.
45. —. What crime was committed by the “thieves” crucified with Jesus? Christianity Stack Exchange. [Online] [Cited: February 2nd, 2024.] https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/22725/what-crime-was-committed-by-the-thieves-crucified-with-jesus.
46. —. What does λῃστής [= lēstēs] mean in Mark 11:17? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: February 2nd, 2024.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/4602/what-does-%CE%BB%E1%BF%83%CF%83%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%82-l%C4%93st%C4%93s-mean-in-mark-1117.
47. JamesOrr. BARABBAS. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. [Online] [Cited: February 2nd, 2024.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/barabbas.html.
48. Editor. Who was Barabbas in the bible? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: February 2nd, 2024.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/barabbas.
49. Bolt, Peter. How did Judas die? A case study In Gospel discrepancies. Moore Theological College. [Online] October 10th, 2013. https://moore.edu.au/resources/how-did-judas-die-a-case-study-in-gospel-discrepancies/.
50. Fletcher, Elizabeth. Torturing the condemned Jesus. Jesus Story. [Online] [Cited: February 3rd, 2024.] https://www.jesus-story.net/scourging/.
51. Lyons, Eric. Was the Robe Placed on Jesus Scarlet or Purple? Apologetics Press. [Online] [Cited: February 3rd, 2024.] https://apologeticspress.org/was-the-robe-placed-on-jesus-scarlet-or-purple-300/.
52. Windle, Bryan. Behold The Man: Where Did Pilate Sentence Jesus? Bible Archaeology Report. [Online] April 14th, 2022. https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/2022/04/14/behold-the-man-where-did-pilate-sentence-jesus/.
53. McIntosh, Matthew A. Crucifixion as Punishment in Ancient Rome. Brewminate. [Online] January 30th, 2020. https://brewminate.com/crucifixion-as-punishment-in-ancient-rome/.
54. Contributors. The Greek word “Stauros” does it mean Cross or Stake? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: February 4th, 2024.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/36001/the-greek-word-stauros-does-it-mean-cross-or-stake.
55. Gould, S. Baring. Wine Mingled with Myrrh. — the Stupefying Potion. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: February 5th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/gould/wine_mingled_with_myrrh_the_stupefying_potion.htm.
56. Harris, Murray J. Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise: What Did Jesus Mean? Word by Word. Lexam Press. [Online] November 8th, 2021. https://www.logos.com/grow/today-you-will-be-with-me-in-paradise-what-did-jesus-mean/.
57. Ryan, Joel. Why Does Jesus Give His Mother to John While on the Cross? Bible Study Tools. [Online] April 5th, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-does-jesus-give-his-mother-to-john-while-on-the-cross.html.
58. S. Michael Houdmann (EDITOR). What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”? Got Questions. [Online] [Cited: February 8th, 2024.] https://www.gotquestions.org/it-is-finished.html.
59. Pritchard, Dr Ray. The Meaning of Tetelestai – “It is Finished”. Christianity. [Online] October 11th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-was-finished.html.
60. Admin. What does the Greek word “tetelestai” mean? Bible.org. [Online] [Cited: February 8th, 2024.] https://bible.org/question/what-does-greek-word-tetelestai-mean.
61. Webb, Perry. Tetelestai – What did Jesus really say in John 19:30 assuming he spoke Aramaic or Hebrew? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] May 18th, 2020. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/47848/tetelestai-what-did-jesus-really-say-in-john-1930-assuming-he-spoke-aramaic-o.
62. Jr, Gary Manning. “Paid in Full”? The Meaning of τετέλεσται (Tetelestai) in Jesus’ Final Words. The Good Book Blog. [Online] April 20th, 2022. https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2022/paid-in-full-the-meaning-of-tetelestai-in-jesus-final-words.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* Jesus warned that many would come in His name and deceive many. How do we avoid doing what the Jews outside Pilate’s place did and choosing the wrong Jesus?
* What was the significance of Jesus dying on a cross (tree)?
* In your culture what obligations do people have to their parents?
* How was north Africa connected to the cross of Christ, and what impact did it have on this man?
* How do we view our sin in light of what Christ suffered for it?
* What did Jesus accomplish through His death / what was finished on the cross?

Trial & Denial – 14th Nissan

This examination before Annas was informal, and extrajudicial, distinct from the formal trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Yeshua was not yet accused of anything; so far, no judge had ascended the judgment-seat, neither were any witnesses called to give evidence against the prisoner. It was held with the view of extorting something from the captive, which might afterwards be used against Him. Brutality and intimidation were employed to try to force a confession. Yeshua‘s response exposed both this illegitimate procedure of trying to force a confession from the accused instead of hearing testimony from witnesses and Annas’ sin of plotting in secret against Yeshua’s life as opposed to Yeshua’s innocence in doing everything in the open: I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

The inquisitor himself was so ashamed, and for the moment so confounded, that a zealous official struck Yeshua with his open hand. The innocent, unabashed face of our persecuted Lord was thus smitten because His simple defense had silenced His cruel opponent. Seeing his tactics were failing and feeling uncomfortably exposed, the senior Kohen Gadol (High Priest), Annas, sent Yeshua on to the official Kohen Gadol at that time, his son-in-law Caiaphas.

As we saw in Who Wrote Each of the Four Gospels 7 – The Witness of the Scriptures on John – Renewal Blog, the author of John’s gospel appears to have been a priest who lived in Jerusalem and served in the temple. So, he was known to the high priest, familiar with his palace and comfortable in its courtyard. He fit in with the other priests gathered to see what the commotion was about. Peter, however, was like a fish out of water. He didn’t know anyone else here, didn’t dress the same or sound the same, with his Galilean accent. Peter would have both looked and sounded conspicuously out of place in that setting. The lowly servant girl who kept watch at the door was the first one to guess at why this stranger was sitting among them, come over to Peter and challenge that he had been with Yeshua.

Fear gripped Peter, he was a stranger in a strange and threatening place. He had lashed out in the garden and slashed off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, and now he was in the courtyard with those who had witnessed his crime, those who were determined to kill his Master. He wanted to be there for Yeshua, but couldn’t do anything to help, every option only made things worse. He was traumatized and confused. How could this be happening? None of it made sense and there was nothing he could do to fix this mess. Before he knew what had happened, Peter had denied his Lord a second time.

The pressure was mounting. Now it wasn’t just a lowly servant-girl who challenged Peter, but another man, someone who with authority, a servant of the High Priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, someone who had personal reason to want to do him harm. This time the questioning was more menacing. Peter felt trapped, like a cornered animal. He began to invoke a curse on himself, to curse and to swear an oath:I do not know the Man!

The rooster crowed. Mark tells us it was for the second time. Yeshua turned and looked at him. Suddenly Peter realized what had been happening. He had done what he was determined he would never do, denied his Lord and best friend three times. He had totally failed. He knew it and Yeshua knew it, Yeshua had known it from the beginning and now Peter saw this weakness his Master had known all along, and he was devastated. He fled that place of utter failure, went out and wept bitterly, grieving the loss of who he thought he was.

John obviously did not have access to these proceedings before the Sanhedrin, and so gives us no record of them, as he only recorded that which he witnessed personally.

Although our Saviour was falsely accused and slandered when He had done no wrong, said no wrong and thought no wrong, it is worth remembering when we are falsely accused that (as Spurgeon preached):
When I have been slandered, I have often said to myself, “Ah! they have spoken a
lie against me; but, if they had known me better, they might have said quite as bad
a thing as that, and yet have only spoken what was true.” There is not one man
living, who is in his right senses, who would like to have all his thoughts written
down, or all his words and acts recorded.
(The Spurgeon Library | Christ Before Annas)

The Mishnah, written around 200 A.D. to record the Oral Torah of second temple times and beyond, presented Jewish ideals of their legal system. Few legal systems live up to their ideals. According to the Mishnah, capital cases had to be decided by a Sanhedrin of 23 judges, a Great Sanhedrin of 71 judges for accusations such a false prophet. It is unclear whether Caiaphas convened the full Great Sanhedrin of 71 judges or just formed a Sanhedrin of 23 judges sympathetic to his cause for this hastily convened court at the crack of dawn for a capital case trial. He did what was needed to ensure the desired verdict.

The Sanhedrin were not to originate charges but only investigate those brought before it by at least two credible witnesses who had warned the perpetrator immediately prior to committing the act that it was a capital offense and whose testimony had to be in total agreement in every detail.  If the conviction in a capital case was unanimous but rendered too quickly the accused was acquitted on the assumption that the judges had not adequately considered the possibility of the defendant’s innocence.   The Mishna concludes that:

The Talmud declares that “forty years before the destruction of the [Second] Temple, capital punishment ceased in Israel. This date is traditionally put at 28 A.D., a time that corresponds with the 18th year of Tiberius’ reign. From this time on, the Sanhedrin required the approval of the Roman governor of Judea (Pilate) before they could punish anyone by death, and only the Roman governor could order execution by the most shameful and cruel means – crucifixion.

These rushed proceedings to get Yeshua convicted and crucified while Pilate was in Jerusalem for Passover contravened Jewish law but those involved justified their unlawful actions on the basis of necessity.

When their witnesses proved to be false the only legal option was to acquit the accused. They were too heavily invested in Yeshua’s guilt to do that. A sense of urgency propelled them to have Him convicted and done away with NOW, before His popularity could grow any stronger or the cries of “hosannah to the son of David” grow any louder and threaten their good standing with Pilate. No one who was not appointed by Rome could have any position of leadership over the people. That’s why groups like the Essenes considered the Temple leadership and practices irredeemably corrupt.

Yeshua‘s reply: “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven” makes direct reference to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13. It would have left no doubt in the minds of Caiaphas or those on the council: Yeshua of Nazareth was claiming to be the eternal Messiah and Son of God. Instantly, they all condemned Him as deserving death and some of these judges on the Sanhedrin showed their disgust by spitting on Him, mocking Him and striking Him. Solemn court proceedings had degenerated into mob violence, and that carried out by the very judges themselves!

For this sentence to be carried out they had to take Yeshua to Pilate.

John, with his particular focus on all things priestly, notes for us that the contingent from the Sanhedrin did not go into the Praetorium because entering this Gentile area would have made them ceremonially unclean and thereby unable to eat their Passover meal that evening. With Pilate’s history of brutally crushing any dissent or perceived threat to Rome’s absolute rule it is interesting that he shows any reticence to rubber stamping the Sanhedrin‘s verdict and executing this usurper who seemed so little moved by Rome’s power. He was used to men pleading or cursing, but this man did neither, showed neither fear nor disrespect but a quiet confidence that everything was going to some plan that Pilate could not grasp.

Yeshua was sent from one side of the palace to the other, from Pilate to Herod, and a friendship was born. The chief priests and scribes from the Sanhedrin followed His across to continue with their accusations and determination that the death penalty be applied before time ran out and the Passover was upon them. Herod had feared that somehow Yeshua might be a reincarnation of Yohanan the Immerser, whom he had imprisoned and then, at the insistence of his stepdaughter, murdered. Herod had enjoyed many a long and deep theological discussion with Yohanan, but Yeshua would say nothing to him, nothing! Relieved that Yeshua was clearly not Yohanan, Herod quickly tired of this sport, and sent him back to Pilate. With this political maneuver Pilate had gained an important ally in his efforts to govern these strange, stubborn people whose ways were so different to those of other groups in the Roman Empire with their insistence on only one God and vehement rejection of every Roman god, including Emperor worship.

Reference List

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3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. HCSB. Holman Christian Standard Bible. s.l. : Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
5. Holy Bible. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
6. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
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9. Contributors. What is the significance of the young man who runs away naked in Mark’s gospel? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/4826/what-is-the-significance-of-the-young-man-who-runs-away-naked-in-marks-gospel.
10. Kuruvilla, Abraham. Who Was That Young Man? Voice . [Online] December 30th, 2013. https://voice.dts.edu/article/who-was-that-young-man-kuruvilla-abraham/.
11. Bilkes, Gerald M. The Healing of Malchus’s Ear. Christian Study Library. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.christianstudylibrary.org/article/healing-malchus%E2%80%99s-ear.
12. Webmaster. Why Was Jesus’ Trial Illegal? Bible Verse Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/the-trial-of-jesus.html.
13. Rajkumar, Paul. Who’s in the Dock? A Lawyer looks at the Trial of Jesus. Bible & Theology. [Online] July 18th, 2022. https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/whos-in-the-dock-a-lawyer-looks-at-the-trial-of-jesus/.
14. Linder, Professor Douglas O. The Trial of Jesus: An Account. Famous Trials. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.famous-trials.com/jesustrial/1042-home.
15. Nydam, Don. A Lawyer Looks At Trials Of Jesus. Sermons . [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://sermons.logos.com/sermons/36135-a-lawyer-looks-at-trials-of-jesus?sso=false.
16. Williamson, Stephen. Timeline of the Last Supper, Jesus’s Arrest and the Crucifixion. SWCS. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.swcs.com.au/crucifixion.htm.
17. Webmaster. The Arrest of Jesus. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/the-arrest-of-jesus.html.
18. NASEC, Thayer’s, Strong’s & Englishman’s. 4616. sindón. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/greek/4616.htm.
19. Fillion, L. C. The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition, Volume III. s.l. : Herder Book Co., 1929.
20. Rideout, Moshe. What Is The Definition Of Cohort In Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome. [Online] December 11th, 2023. https://www.learnancientrome.com/what-is-the-definition-of-cohort-in-ancient-rome/?expand_article=1.
21. NASEC, Thayer’s, Strong’s & Englishman’s. 3162. machaira. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/greek/3162.htm.
22. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
23. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
24. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
25. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
26. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
27. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
28. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday)..
29. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
30. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
31. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
32. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
33. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
34. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
35. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
36. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
37. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
38. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
39. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
40. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
41. Wight, Fred H. Water Supply. Manners and Customs of Bible Lands. [Online] [Cited: December 15th, 2023.] https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/manners/water-supply.htm.
42. Isaacs, Rabbi Ronald H. The Paschal Sacrifice (Korban Pesach) – Understanding how Passover was celebrated in Biblical Times. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/passover-from-the-bible-to-the-temples/.
43. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. Christ Before Annas. The Spurgeon Center for Biblical Preaching at Midwestern Seminary. [Online] October 26th, 1882. https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/christ-before-annas/#flipbook/.
44. Gniwisch, Leibel. The High Priest in Jewish Tradition. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4195084/jewish/The-High-Priest-in-Jewish-Tradition.htm#High.
45. Got Questions. Who was Annas in the Bible? gotquestions.org. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.gotquestions.org/Annas-in-the-Bible.html.
46. Webmaster. New Testament High Priests Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maturart/new-testament-high-priests.html.
47. Rhodes, Harold. 10 Reasons the Trial of Jesus Was Illegal. Life, Hope & Truth. [Online] [Cited: January 26th, 2024.] https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-jesus/reasons-trial-of-jesus-illegal/.
48. Bock, Darrell L. Jesus V. Sanhedrin – Why Jesus “lost” his trial. Christianity Today. [Online] April 6th, 1998. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/april6/jesus-v-sanhedrin.html.
49. Smith, Mark D. The Final Days of Jesus and the Realities of Roman Capital Punishment: What Happened to All Those Bodies? The Bible and Interpretation. [Online] February 2018. https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/articles/2018/02/smi428014.
50. My Jewish Learning. The Death Penalty in Jewish Tradition. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: January 29th, 2024.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-death-penalty-in-jewish-tradition/.
51. Eisenberg, Ronald L. Beit Dins and Sanhedrin – In the Second Temple period, a system of Jewish courts emerged. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: January 29th, 2024.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/beit-din/.
52. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. Christ before Annas. Spurgeon Library. [Online] October 26th, 1882. https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/christ-before-annas/#flipbook/.
53. Kennedy, Titus. The Praetorium of Pilate. Drive thru History. [Online] July 14th, 2020. https://drivethruhistory.com/the-praetorium-of-pilate/.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* Have you ever been falsely accused, and what can we learn from how Jesus responded?
* What problems arose from the High Priests also taking political power?
* What can we learn from Peter’s denials?
* Why do you think many Jews considered the High Priesthood of Jesus’ day to be corrupt?
* What do you think of Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin?
* What did Jesus’ hearing before Pilate and before Herod prove?

Arrest – 14th Nissan Night

The arresting party most likely consisted of Temple police dispatched by Caiaphas, the high priest, and supported by a Roman cohort under its commanding officer. Cohort in ancient Rome was an organisational structure of soldiers, typically made up of six centuries of 80 men each (about 480 men).  In the classical period, cohorts formed the primary administrative structure of provincial Roman armies and were garrisoned in provincial bases or outposts. In Jerusalem they were garrisoned in the Antonia Fortress which was on the north-west corner of the Temple mount, stood 115 feet high, overlooked the Temple and had a secret passage to the Temple so soldiers could quickly dispel any “trouble” that might erupt in the huge gatherings of Jews there during the feasts. Cohorts had a standing military police force which was deployed to ensure order in the city or region.  They were also part of the Roman judiciary system, ensuring the enforcement of laws and ensuring a peaceful civil society.

Pontius Pilate had entered Jerusalem just a few days before, with much pomp and ceremony and legions of chariots, horses, and foot soldiers, dressed for battle and armed with swords and spears to remind the pilgrims that Rome ruled over them with unbeatable force. He would have been told of the other procession into Jerusalem with a man riding a donkey and the crowds of peasants and pilgrims welcoming Him like a king, and been relieved when that fizzled into nothing after He entered the Temple. His soldiers, looking down into the Temple from the Antonia Fortress, would have reported the commotion that same man made in the Temple the following day as He turned over the money changer’s tables and chased the animals out of the Temple courts. No doubt the question of how much of a threat did this man pose to civil order would have been in the discussions between Pilate and the chief priests shortly after his arrival. Roman governors relied heavily on their locally appointed leadership to help quell any unrest and collaborate in identifying and disposing of any threats to civil order. No doubt the need to dispose of this Man in a way that didn’t insight the multitude to riot was discussed – with the chief priests warning of what would ensue if Roman soldiers invaded the Temple to capture Him, rendering it ceremonially unclean and thereby ruining their Passover celebrations. A plot was formed to have Him arrested away from the Temple, and out of site of the crowd. Thus, Pilate put a cohort of soldiers at the chief priest’s disposal to ensure there was no civil disorder when the arrest was made at what would otherwise have been an inconvenient hour. Having the Temple police, rather than the Roman soldiers, lead this expedition and a Jewish trial find Him guilty before being handed over to Rome were all ways of minimizing the risk of a popular uprising among the people. The chief priests needed Rome to perform the execution, and Rome needed the chief priests to initiate the process so as to avoid inciting a riot. There wasn’t much time before the official Passover celebration, Pilate would be at their disposal to ensure this matter was dealt with expeditiously. A few of the soldiers likely went into the garden with the temple police, and the rest surrounded the garden to ensure no other groups could come to the aid of their target.

Yeshua had prepared Himself for this moment and stepped forward to meet His persecutors. His reply “I am” (“He” is added by the translators) is reminiscent of God’s response in Exodus 3:14: Say this to the people of Israel: “I am (ehyeh) has sent me to you.” So powerful was this declaration that the armed crowd drew back and fell to the ground. How easy it would have been to overcome them with divine power, but Yeshua had already surrendered Himself to the coming horrors. He allowed Himself to be bound and to be led away by the servants of the Sanhedrin; but He showed them, and us, that had He so willed, they would have been powerless against Him.

For now, Yeshua’s concern was simply to protect those with Him: let these go their way.” This was no small feat, as the fate of those who followed other Messianic figures during Pilate’s reign attests to. In 36 A.D. a group of Samaritans followed one whom they believed was Messiah, Dositheos, up their holy mountain, Mt. Gerizim, to dig for some sacred vessels which he said Moses had buried there and Pilate ordered some of his legionaries to Mount Gerizim, who preceded to massacre the Samaritans. So great was the carnage that Pilate was recalled to Rome and vanished from history. Peter’s impulsive action threatened inciting a similar massacre in response, but also gave Yeshua more opportunity to display both His love and power. Miraculously, none of Yeshua’s followers were captured or killed this night and the Word He had previously spoken (John 6:39) “Of those whom You have given Me, I lost not one” was amazingly fulfilled.

In the upper room Yeshua had said: “whoever has no sword ( μαχαιρα machaira) should sell his garment and buy one,” (Luke 22:36) and the disciples had found two swords there to take with them. The noun μαχαιρα (machaira) denotes a slaughter-knife, a large knife used for killing animals and cutting up flesh; a short sword or dagger mainly used for stabbing; (figuratively) an instrument for exacting retribution. “Machaira” is the word used in Matthew 10:34 when Yeshua said: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (machaira)”; in Matthew 26:47 describing those who had come to arrest Yeshua: “a large crowd armed with swords (machaira) and clubs, sent from the chief priests“; and in Yeshua’s prophesy about the coming destruction of Jerusalem: “They will fall by the sword (machaira) and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.” The two machaira, Lord, look, here are two swords(Luke 22:38) may well have been what Peter and John had used to slaughter and cut up the lamb when preparing their Passover meal that night. Passover was the one festival each year where the heads of families, rather than the priests, slaughtered the required sacrifice. Now Peter was using his machaira in a vain attempt to slaughter the High Priest’s servant, but he was not the lamb of God who was to die to take away the sins of the world. How easy it is, after hearing what God is saying to us, to assume that would mean actions which He never intended.

Peter wasn’t the only one who thought they must have brought the swords in order to strike in defense of their Master. Luke lets us know that the question: “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” came from the group of those with Yeshua, not only Peter. He was just the first to act.

The Lord’s rebuke was quick and sharp: “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.  Or do you suppose that I cannot call on My Father, and at once He will place at My side twelve legions of angels?  How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Peter’s great act of courage was a futile, meager effort that did nothing but put them all in danger. In comparison, Yeshua could command twelve legions of angels to defend Him. John tells us that a Roman cohort (480 soldiers) had accompanied this crowd to ensure any resistance would be instantly squashed, but this was nothing compared with the twelve legions (a legion was ten cohorts – ie 4,800 warriors), so about 58,000 angels, who were ready to stand by Yeshua’s side.

Then, in an act which both expressed love for His enemies and provided protection for His talmidim, Yeshua reached out and miraculously healed the ear of the High Priest’s servant. All evidence of Peter’s violent act was gone, and the only way to charge him for it would be to admit what a wonderful miracle Yeshua had done, undermining their case against Him.

With Yeshua refusing their ‘help’ in attacking His captors there was nothing for His confused disciples to do but flee this heart-wrenching scene. The only one to bring peace and calm to that situation in the garden was tied up like a common criminal as He was arrested and led away. We can find it easier to fight for Christ than to die for Him.

Then Mark adds an intriguing detail: And a young man followed Him, with nothing but a sindon (linen cloth) about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked. An unnamed young man kept following Yeshua after all the apostles had fled. As Gethsemane was a walled garden with Roman soldiers likely stationed at the entrance, their fleeing was probably just to hidden places in the garden, from which they may have witnessed this strange event. Some of the most dedicated followers of Yeshua (e.g. the woman who anointed His head, this young man who kept following even after the apostles had fled) are left unnamed in the scriptures. This has led to much speculation by scholars and preachers over their identity, but maybe it’s not their identity that God wants us to focus on but their act of dedication. It doesn’t take an important, big named person, known to everyone, to do something of significance for Jesus.

The sindon (σινδόνα) was of fine linen cloth, which was made in Sindh, Pakistan and in Ἰνδός India. Such fabric was often used for fine garments, and to wrap dead bodies. Indeed, Yeshua‘s lifeless body would be wrapped in such after his crucifixion. This young man was probably wearing it wrapped around his waist to cover his nakedness. Mark describes the young man in question as a νεανίσκος neaniskos, meaning he was in the prime of his life, perhaps 15 to 25 years old, so the same age as Yeshua’s talmidim. Mark also tells us that this young man συνηκολούθει “was followingYeshua, the term implied following as a talmid. But this young man, eager to keep following Yeshua even after others fail Him, was seized by those who had come to arrest Yeshua and in His desperate escape also falls into shame as he flees naked, having left behind his sindon in his captor’s hand. Like Peter, this unnamed youth’s act of courage is quickly stripped away and replaced with shame. Mark displays this naked runaway as symbolic of the total abandonment of Yeshua by all.

This fleeing nakedness, mentioned twice, points to the shamefulness of the disciples’ abandonment. There is only one other instance of “sindon” in Mark’s Gospel, it is in reference to the burial shroud of Yeshua (15:46). There, as with the story of our naked runaway, “sindon” occurs twice. Likewise, the word for “young man”, neaniskos, is only used twice in Mark’s gospel – here and after Yeshua‘s resurrection when the women saw a neaniskos clothed in a robe of brilliant white “leukēn“, just as Yeshua’s garment had been during His transfiguration. In utterly shameful circumstances, the disciple is stripped of the “sindon” he wore, and following an equally degrading crucifixion, a “sindon” becomes Yeshua’s burial shroud. Symbolically, Yeshua gets the garment of shame from the neaniskos and in exchange, the “brilliant white” garment Yeshua wore at his transfiguration now covers a neaniskos who makes the announcement at the empty tomb (16:5). This literary device symbolises the runaway neaniskos’ garment of shame in Mark 14 becoming Yeshua’s in Mark 15; and Yeshua’s garment of glory in Mark 9 becoming the neaniskos’ in Mark 16. Thus, Mark illustrates the shame of our failures being exchanged for the brilliance of Yeshua’s glory.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. HCSB. Holman Christian Standard Bible. s.l. : Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
5. Holy Bible. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
6. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
7. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/
8. Bible Commentaries. Mark 14:51. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/mark/14-51.htm.
9. Contributors. What is the significance of the young man who runs away naked in Mark’s gospel? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/4826/what-is-the-significance-of-the-young-man-who-runs-away-naked-in-marks-gospel.
10. Kuruvilla, Abraham. Who Was That Young Man? Voice . [Online] December 30th, 2013. https://voice.dts.edu/article/who-was-that-young-man-kuruvilla-abraham/.
11. Bilkes, Gerald M. The Healing of Malchus’s Ear. Christian Study Library. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.christianstudylibrary.org/article/healing-malchus%E2%80%99s-ear.
12. John 18:10-12 . Malchus’ Ear. Bible Verse Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.bibleversestudy.com/johngospel/john18-malchus.htm.
13. Rajkumar, Paul. Who’s in the Dock? A Lawyer looks at the Trial of Jesus. Bible & Theology. [Online] July 18th, 2022. https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/whos-in-the-dock-a-lawyer-looks-at-the-trial-of-jesus/.
14. Linder, Professor Douglas O. The Trial of Jesus: An Account. Famous Trials. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.famous-trials.com/jesustrial/1042-home.
15. Nydam, Don. A Lawyer Looks At Trials Of Jesus. Sermons . [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://sermons.logos.com/sermons/36135-a-lawyer-looks-at-trials-of-jesus?sso=false.
16. Williamson, Stephen. Timeline of the Last Supper, Jesus’s Arrest and the Crucifixion. SWCS. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.swcs.com.au/crucifixion.htm.
17. Webmaster. The Arrest of Jesus. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: January 20th, 2024.] https://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/the-arrest-of-jesus.html.
18. NASEC, Thayer’s, Strong’s & Englishman’s. 4616. sindón. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/greek/4616.htm.
19. Fillion, L. C. The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition, Volume III. s.l. : Herder Book Co., 1929.
20. Rideout, Moshe. What Is The Definition Of Cohort In Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome. [Online] December 11th, 2023. https://www.learnancientrome.com/what-is-the-definition-of-cohort-in-ancient-rome/?expand_article=1.
21. NASEC, Thayer’s, Strong’s & Englishman’s. 3162. machaira. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 13th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/greek/3162.htm.
22. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
23. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
24. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
25. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
26. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
27. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
28. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday)..
29. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
30. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
31. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
32. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
33. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
34. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
35. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
36. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
37. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
38. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
39. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
40. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
41. Wight, Fred H. Water Supply. Manners and Customs of Bible Lands. [Online] [Cited: December 15th, 2023.] https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/manners/water-supply.htm.
42. Isaacs, Rabbi Ronald H. The Paschal Sacrifice (Korban Pesach) – Understanding how Passover was celebrated in Biblical Times. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/passover-from-the-bible-to-the-temples/.
43. Smith, Mark D. The Real Story of Pontius Pilate? It’s Complicated. History News Network. [Online] March 25th, 2018. https:// historynewsnetwork.org/article/168311
44. Josephus, Flavius. How the Samaritans Made a Tumult and Pilate Destroyed Many of Them; How Pilate was Accused. The Antiquities of the Jews. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 30th 2024.] https://biblehub.com/library/josephus/the_antiquities_of_the_jews/chapter_4_how_the_samaritans.htm
45. Seaver, Carl. What Happened to Pontius Pilate, the Man Who Condemned Jesus? History Defined. [Online] March 22nd, 2023. https://www.historydefined.net/what-happened-to-pontius-pilate/

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* Why did Jesus rebuke Peter?
* How did Peter end up acting contrary to what Jesus wanted him to do?
* Comment on the statement: “it easier to fight for Christ than to die for Him.”
* What’s the link to Pakistan or India?
* How did the exchange of our sin and shame for Christ’s righteousness and glory begin?

To Gethsemane

Yeshua said of the ruler of this world: “he has nothing on Me.” This is variously translated: “he has no claim on Me”; “He has nothing in common with Me”; “there is nothing in Me that belongs to him”; and “he has no power over Me.” Whenever we sin we put ourselves in the place of having something in common with Satan, it gives him a claim on us and power over us for our sin provides something in us that belongs to the evil one. Yeshua lived totally free from any claim of Satan, and He died to give us that same freedom.

Despite His innocence and sinlessness Yeshua would benumbered with the transgressors” just as Isaiah had prophesied, for all of God’s word is fulfilled.

God had supplied all their needs when Yeshua sent them out on mission trips without money belt, bag or sandals but this was no mission trip, this was the garden of Gethsemane (derived from the Aramaic ܓܕܣܡܢ (Gaḏ-Šmānê), meaning “oil press“) they were going to, the place of trial and testing, the place where their weaknesses, faithlessness and failures would be exposed. Here they could take everything they relied on for worldly success and find it inadequate. There could be no reminiscing “if only we had this or that we would not have abandoned or denied Him“, they had all they could take, and it made no difference. Their scattering was not for lack of money or sword, but lack of strengthening of heart. Yet even this was as the prophets had long ago foretold, even this was part of God’s plan of salvation. He works all things for good.

Even so, having carefully arranged for this last supper to be in a place not previously known to the twelve so Judas could not inform the authorities where this would be, now Yeshua returned to known patterns and places (as was His custom) – the time had come for what He had declared over the Passover Seder to be fulfilled.

Peter wasn’t the only one who would fail this night – all were going to stumble and fall away, not one of the twelve would be left standing with Yeshua in His hour of greatest need. As Zechariah had prophesied about 500 years before, when the shepherd was struck all His sheep would scatter. Yet, knowing this, Yeshua had still called them friends and shared with them all that the Father had given Him.

Just four days before, Yeshua had entered Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate (in Hebrew, Sha’ar Harahamim, the “Gate of Mercy”) on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) and been acknowledged as Messiah. Now He left Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate and, by the light of the full moon, trekked down the steep slope of the Kidron valley (John 18:1), across the bridge, then onwards towards an enclosed garden, or olive orchard (κῆπος), at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The word “Gethsemane” means literally “the place of the olive-press,” whither the olives which abounded on the slopes of the mountain were brought, in order that the oil contained in them might be pressed out.  This night Yeshua would be similarly pressed.

To this familiar spot, with its many happy associations from much time spent there together, Yeshua led His talmidim, after such rich teaching along the way. They may have simply expected to pass the night there, as many Passover visitors were accustomed to camp in the open air since the city was overflowing with pilgrims for the festival. This was no happy occasion, the weight of it pressed heavily on Yeshua as the full horrors of the cup He was to drink assaulted Him: “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death”.

In keeping with the practice which He had recommended, Yeshua usually went aside by Himself to pray; but this time He felt the need of having friends nearby – friends on whose sympathy He could rely. As He had done on a number of occasions before, Yeshua took Peter, James and John with Him to witness this pivotal moment. This time it was not His power and glory they were going to behold close at hand, as when He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead or was transfigured on the mountain; but they were to witness His human weakness and deep humiliation. So great was His torment that He sweat drops of blood, which would likely have left His face red and swollen, the disfigurement had begun even before man laid a hand on Him.

Only Luke, a physician by profession, and whose writings manifest an intimate acquaintance with the technical language of the Greek medical schools of Asia Minor, provides us with this detail of Yeshua’s suffering. Luke referred to Yeshua’s sweat (idros) – a much used term in Greek medical language – as consisting of great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos), a medical condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus. The Greek term thromboi (from which we get ‘thrombosis’) refers to clots of blood.  In modern medical terms this rare condition is called hematidrosis and has been found to be caused by severe mental distress rupturing the tiny capillaries in the sweat glands, thus mixing blood with perspiration.  While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile, which would have made Christ’s pending physical insults even more painful. Even before Yeshua endured the torture of the cross, He suffered far beyond what most of us will ever suffer. His penetrating awareness of the heinous nature of sin, its destructive and deadly effects, the sorrow and heartache that it inflicts, and the extreme measure necessary to deal with it, make the passion of Messiah beyond our comprehension.

This cup, in which so many bitter ingredients besides death were mingled, such as treachery, betrayal, desertion, mocking, rejection, false accusation, injustice, torture, the horror of all our sin being laid upon Him even as He suffered being forsaken – the inconceivable separation of God from God. Prayer was His refuge, as it must be ours. The soul that can cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ does not walk in unbroken night.  Whatever the weight laid on Yeshua by His bearing of the sins of the world, it did not take from Him the consciousness of sonship. But, on the other hand, that consciousness did not take from Him the dark awareness that the world’s sin lay upon Him.  Yeshua recoiled at the horror of what He was to undergo, yet He chose the Father’s will none-the-less.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. HCSB. Holman Christian Standard Bible. s.l. : Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
5. Holy Bible. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
6. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
7. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/
8. Bible Commentaries. Mark 14:32. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 4th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/mark/14-32.htm.
9. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
10. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
11. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
12. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
13. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
14. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
15. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday).
16. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
17. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
18. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
19. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
20. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
21. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
23. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
24. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
25. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
26. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
27. Brewer, Thomas. Does John’s last supper chronology differ from the other Gospels? Christian Post. [Online] May 13th, 2022. https://www.christianpost.com/voices/does-johns-last-supper-chronology-differ-from-the-other-gospels.html.
28. Pixner, Bargil. Jerusalem’s Essene Way – Where the Community Lived in Jesus’ Time. Century One. [Online] May/June 1997. http://139.59.108.225/host-http-www.centuryone.org/essene.html.
29. Trimm, James. Is the “Last Supper” in John the “Last Supper” in the Synoptics? Nazarene Space. [Online] March 25th, 2020. http://nazarenespace.com/blog/2020/03/25/is-the-last-supper-in-john-the-last-supper-in-the-synoptics/.
30. Tabor, James. The Last Days of Jesus: A Final “Messianic” Meal. Biblical Archaelogy. [Online] April 17th, 2022. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/the-last-days-of-jesus-a-final-messianic-meal/.
31. Isaacs, Rabbi Ronald H. The Paschal Sacrifice (Korban Pesach) – Understanding how Passover was celebrated in Biblical Times. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/passover-from-the-bible-to-the-temples/.
32. Lanser, Rick. The Hebrew Calandar of the Second Temple Era. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
33. Ritenbaugh, John W. What the Bible says about Ben Ha Arbayim. Bible Tools. [Online] [Cited: December 28th, 2023.] https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/6865/Ben-Ha-Arbayim.htm.
34. Davis, Charles D. Essene Passover Dates. Theos Sphragis. [Online] [Cited: December 29th, 2023.] https://theos-sphragis.info/essene_passover_dates.html.
35. Nettles, Randy. The Essenes’ Calendar. Bible Prophecy Information. [Online] [Cited: December 29th, 2023.] https://www.rev310.net/post/the-essenes-calendar.
36. Lenard, Joseph. Jesus’ Death and Resurection – Which Jewish Passover? Truth in Scripture. [Online] February 6th, 2017. https://truthinscripture.net/2017/02/06/jesus-death-and-resurrection-which-jewish-passover/.
37. Miller, Dr. Dave. Hematidrosis: Did Jesus Sweat Blood? Theologitcs. [Online] July 21st, 2017. https://theologetics.org/2017/07/21/hematidrosis-did-jesus-sweat-blood/

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* Jesus knows all the ways in which we will fall and fail – from His response to knowing how the disciples would fail Him how do you think He reacts to our failures?
* Luke 22:31-32 states: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat. But I have prayed earnestly for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, once you have returned, strengthen your brothers.” Why do you think that God would concede to Satan’s demand? How do you think Peter’s denial of Christ was related to his ability to later strengthen his brothers?
* Jesus prayed in John 17 firstly that the disciples would be one as He and the Father are one, and then that we would be one as He and the Father are one – what evidence is there that God has answered those prayers?
* In obeying the Father’s will Jesus suffered terribly – what is our response when obeying God involves suffering?
* Describe a time in your life when prayer has been your only refuge, there was none you could rely upon except God.

Last Supper – 14th Nissan Night

Yeshua began the Passover Seder with His expressed longing to partake of this with them before His suffering and the announcement that this would be the last Passover that He would eat with them until its fulfilment in the Kingdom of God. The main theme of Yeshua’s Haggadah is “the Passover foreshadows the Messiah.” Judaism teaches that, at the Messianic banquet in the kingdom, the Messiah will receive his coronation rites, take four cups in his hands, and pronounce the blessings over wine preserved in its grapes since the foundation of the world.

Yeshua took the first cup of wine and blessed it. The blessing over wine was simply, “Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the universe who creates the fruit of the vine.” Yeshua may have added a second blessing pertaining to the festival day, making mention of the Exodus from Egypt and the sanctity of the festival season. The first cup is called “The Cup of Sanctification.” Sanctification means to be set apart for a special purpose. Israel was sanctified and set apart by God to be His chosen people. The twelve men at the Seder table with Yeshua were also set apart and specially chosen by Him to be His talmidim. This cup is associated with the first of four divine promises from Exodus 6:6-8, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” 

Yeshua then repeated His reference to kingdom come: “for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:18). In Jewish imagination the Messiah was coming to overthrow Roman oppression throughout Judea and inaugurate His kingdom. Did the disciples think Yeshua was saying He would do this before the next Passover and were they looking forward to reigning with Him and enjoying all the privileges of leadership?

Still His disciples could not imagine what Yeshua meant by His “suffering“, but they were excited about being part of the Kingdom of God, important parts of this kingdom. Once again, they started arguing over who would be the most important.

It seemed that whenever Yeshua talked of the kingdom His disciples thought in terms of their exalted position in this kingdom – surely being those closest to the king would give them special rank and privileges, others would have to bow to them and serve them. Yeshua kept telling them His kingdom is not like the kingdoms of this world and doesn’t operate that way. Now He showed them what He meant. As the lord and king of all the world He took the position of the lowliest servant in the house and began washing their feet – such loving service is what greatness in God’s kingdom looks like.

After the first cup, a bowl of water is passed around for everyone to dip their hands into so they can wash before eating (Yeshua had just washed their feet). Then they took part in a ritual involving karpas (green vegetables) dipped into a red wine vinegar or saltwater sop.  The karpas symbolizes the initial flourishing of the Israelites in Egypt after Israel and his sons moved there under the protection of Joseph. After the leader of the Seder praises God for the karpas, everyone eats their dipped vegetables. The second blessing is: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruits of the earth.” A saltwater sop represents the tears of slavery in Egypt and/or the tears of the mothers whose sons were killed by Pharaoh’s decree, and a red wine vinegar sop represents the lamb’s blood of the first Passover that the hyssop was dipped into to mark the lintels of their doors so the angel of death would pass over the Israelite houses.

The one who dipped his hand in the bowl with Me, he’s the one who will betray Me.” (Matthew 26:23 TLV). The other disciples had not observed whose hand dipped into the vinegar simultaneously with their Rabbi, but Judas Iscariot knew. Judas alone knew that his hand had dipped the karpas into the vinegar at the same moment as the hand of Yeshua. This indicates that Judas must have been reclining next to Yeshua at the table. Carrying on the pretense of ignorance, Judas turned to Messiah and asked, along with the others, “Rabbi, is it I?
Yeshua said to him privately, “You have said it.” Imagine how uncomfortable Judas would have felt, sitting there trying to pretend that everything was normal while having already been paid to betray Yeshua and just now discovering that his Master knew what he was doing.

Before eating the lamb, the participants at a seder had to discharge their obligation to eat unleavened bread (matzah) and bitter herbs. Yeshua continued leading them through this ceremonial meal, adding new meaning to the familiar elements of it as He showed how everything pointed to His upcoming suffering and death.

It is customary to have three matzah stacked on the table for the Passover seder. Two are traditional for Sabbath and festivals (when they usually use a leavened bread), as a reminder of the double portion of manna the Israelites gathered before every day of rest in the desert (Exodus 16:11-22). The third on Passover is to break at the beginning of the seder service. The number three has symbolic significance. It represents the three measures of fine meal from which Sarah baked cakes for her husband Abraham’s three angelic visitors (Genesis 18:6); the three categories of Jews – Kohen, Levi, and Yisrael – that make up the Jewish people; the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who received the promises which ensured they would be redeemed from Egypt and whose covenant with God Israel was redeemed to fulfill. For us the three matzah also represent God being Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Yeshua pronounced the  bracha (blessing for bread): “Blessed are you, LORD our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” He may have added the additional blessing for the festival, “… who has sanctified us with his commandments and has commanded us about eating matzah.” Then He broke the bread of affliction, ate some, and distributed it among his disciples, telling them, Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me. Yeshua, who said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48) was the true bread from Heaven. He was unleavened and without sin. Yeshua was uncorrupted by the world and completely without sin, and because He allowed Himself to be broken by laying His life down on our behalf His sinless death made it possible for us to have eternal life. The broken unleavened bread of Passover now represented His sinless life and His crucifixion.  Yeshua instructed His disciples to henceforth eat the bread in remembrance of Him. With those words, He invested the Passover ritual (and every eating of bread, their stable food) with new, additional significance. Previously, His disciples ate the unleavened bread at Passover in remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt. Now it is in remembrance of the One who brought a greater deliverance to us through the affliction of His own body. As Paul says,For as often as you eat this bread … you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes(1 Corinthians 11:26).

Yeshua distributed the unleavened matzah– the bread (lekhem) of affliction (oni) reminding them of their slavery in Egypt – according to seder custom, and turned His attention to the bitter herbs and Passover lamb. After a blessing for the bitter herbs and the lamb, they began to eat the main course.

Again the disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one Yeshua spoke. The twelve men had spent the last three years together in the most incredible of adventures. They had walked and talked, learned and argued, eaten and drank, camped and travelled together. They had seen the sea calmed, the sick healed, demons cast out, and the dead raised. Their shared experiences forged a close bond out of which betrayal must have seemed unimaginable. The unspeakable thought broke their hearts.

The ‘disciple Yeshua loved’ reclined at the table beside the Master. Judas may have reclined in the place of honor on Messiah’s left. That arrangement explains how Judas dipped into the dish (karpas) at the same time as their Rabbi and how Yeshua could easily give him the morsel. This ritual is called “korech.” According to the custom, one should combine the matzah, the Passover lamb, and the bitter herbs, and eat them together (korech) as a sort of sandwich to literally fulfill the verse that says, “They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs” (Numbers 9:11).

The bitter herbs remind the participants in a seder of the bitterness of the suffering in Egypt. For disciples of Messiah, the bitter herbs would now remind them even more strongly of the bitterness of the night He was betrayed and of the onset of His suffering.

How did Judas know where Yeshua would be found that night? Luke tells us: So during the days Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, but in the nights He went out and stayed on the Mount of Olives. (Luke 21:37 TLV). This pattern was disrupted on the nights when they dined in Bethany, but by this time in the evening it was clear there would be no sojourn in Bethany this night. Judas knew where they stayed among all the groups of festival pilgrims who camped on the Mount of Olives during Passover, their respite was taken in the walled garden of Gethsemane – a secluded place, separated from the other pilgrims, and thus perfect for the betrayal.

It was night; and Judas stepped forth from light out into darkness; from the presence and guidance of the Light of the World, to be possessed by and guided by the prince of darkness. It was night; and John could hardly have written these words without remembering those he had written but a short time before: “If a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.  (John 11:10). It was night, and the darkest deed since creation was about to unfold.

After eating the Passover meal, participants in a Passover Seder pour a third cup of wine to accompany grace after meals. Some refer to the third cup as the cup of thanksgiving because it accompanies the prayer of thanks for the food. Likewise, Paul refers to the cup of the Master as “the cup of thanksgiving.” (1 Corinthians 10:16)  Our Master said the blessing for wine and distributed the cup to His disciples, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” The third cup of wine is also called “The Cup of Redemption.” It is associated with the third promise of Exodus 6:6-8, which is: “I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm.” The normal symbolism of this cup is emblematic of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, now the Lamb of God used it to signify His own sacrifice.

They sang with gusto. They sang with all their hearts. These words they’d know since childhood, now taking on new meaning. Their beloved Yeshua, the light of the world, the stone the builders rejected, was to become the festival sacrifice, bound with cords. They sang for some time; this was not a brief chorus. Song was very much part of their Jewish culture and worship of God.

Here’s a video that gives some idea of what Yeshua and His talmidim‘s singing of the Hallel may have been like as an exuberant expression of praise: HALLEL at The Western Wall | Psalm 113-118 | English Subtitles | JEWISH CELEBRATIONS (youtube.com)

Yeshua had been so insistent and persistent in training His talmidim to lead by serving because of the great responsibility of leadership He was to bestow on them – they were to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. That is part of the reason that the first thing the eleven apostles did after Yeshua‘s ascension was to choose someone to replace Judas and return their number to twelve: “one of the men who have been with us continuously throughout the time the Lord Yeshua traveled around among us, from the time Yochanan was immersing people until the day Yeshua was taken up from us — one of these must become a witness with us to His resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22 CJB) This suggests that there may have been more than just the twelve at the last supper, although the focus was clearly on Yeshua teaching them.

In the days of Yeshua, participants in a Passover Seder sang through the Hallel (Psalms 113–118). They recited a portion of the psalms before the food in conjunction with the second cup, and they recited the remainder of the psalms after the meal in conjunction with the fourth cup. The Gospels mention Yeshua and the talmidim keeping the same custom: “After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26 TLV). Before they left for the Mount of Olives, however, they lingered over the fourth cup. Yeshua said the blessing for the last cup. In conjunction with the last blessings over the fruit of the vine, He said:

As they were preparing to leave the upper room for the journey to Gethsemane, Yeshua took advantage of the opportunity of their very last cup of wine together to share a parable of the grape vine and its branches, teaching us of the need to always abide in Him. We cannot produce fruit by our own efforts, but only as the life of Christ flows through us.

Once more Messiah emphasized the necessity of loving one another, which again is only possible through abiding in His love. The conversation turned to the focus of this evening, that Yeshua was about to lay down His life for them (and for us). He called them friends, not because of what they had done, but because He had shared with them everything He’d received from the Father. His command to them was simple, love one another. With that they left the upper room.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. HCSB. Holman Christian Standard Bible. s.l. : Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
5. Holy Bible. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
6. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
7. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/
8. Bible Commentaries. Mark 14:32. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: January 4th, 2024.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/mark/14-32.htm.
9. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
10. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
11. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
12. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
13. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
14. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
15. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday)..
16. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
17. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
18. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
19. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
20. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
21. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
22. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
23. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
24. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
25. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
26. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
27. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
28. Wight, Fred H. Water Supply. Manners and Customs of Bible Lands. [Online] [Cited: December 15th, 2023.] https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/manners/water-supply.htm.
29. Several. What is the significance of “a man carrying a jar of water” in Luke 22:10? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 15th, 2023.] http://139.59.108.225/host-https-hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/49682/what-is-the-significance-of-a-man-carrying-a-jar-of-water-in-luke-2210.
30. —. Did Jesus pay to reserve the upper room? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 15th, 2023.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/62070/did-jesus-pay-to-reserve-the-upper-room.
31. Tabor, James. The Last Days of Jesus: A Final “Messianic” Meal. Biblical Archaeology. [Online] April 17th, 2022. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/the-last-days-of-jesus-a-final-messianic-meal/.
32. Joy, John P. Ratzinger and Aquinas on the Dating of the Last Supper: In Defense of the Synoptic Chronology. Academia. [Online] 2012. [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] https://www.academia.edu/94284490/Ratzinger_and_Aquinas_on_the_Dating_of_the_Last_Supper_In_Defense_of_the_Synoptic_Chronology.
33. Rosik, Mariusz. The Dispute over the Date of the Last Supper . Its Chronology Revisited. Research Gate. [Online] December 21st, 2020. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347804531_The_Dispute_over_the_Date_of_the_Last_Supper_Its_Chronology_Revisited.
34. Discussion. In the early church, was the Last Supper Considered a Passover Feast? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/22042/in-the-early-church-was-the-last-supper-considered-a-passover-feast?rq=1.
35. —. According to the Gospels, Was the Last Supper Actually a Passover Feast? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/27287/according-to-the-gospels-was-the-last-supper-actually-a-passover-feast.
36. —. In the Gospels, Can “Day of:” the Passover – be Interpreted Idiomatically? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/22039/in-the-gospels-can-day-of-the-passover-be-interpreted-idiomatically.
37. Brewer, Thomas. Does John’s last supper chronology differ from the other Gospels? Christian Post. [Online] May 13th, 2022. https://www.christianpost.com/voices/does-johns-last-supper-chronology-differ-from-the-other-gospels.html.
38. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, DR. Eli. The Man with the Jar of Water – The Jewish Background of the New Testament. e-Teacher Biblical. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] https://lp.eteacherbiblical.com/lp_jbnt_water_jar-en.html?blog=1.
39. Discussion. What is the significance of “a man carrying a jar of water” in Luke 22:10? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] http://139.59.108.225/host-https-hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/49682/what-is-the-significance-of-a-man-carrying-a-jar-of-water-in-luke-2210.
40. Pixner, Bargil. Jerusalem’s Essene Way – Where the Community Lived in Jesus’ Time. Century One. [Online] May/June 1997. http://139.59.108.225/host-http-www.centuryone.org/essene.html.
41. Trimm, James. Is the “Last Supper” in John the “Last Supper” in the Synoptics? Nazarene Space. [Online] March 25th, 2020. http://nazarenespace.com/blog/2020/03/25/is-the-last-supper-in-john-the-last-supper-in-the-synoptics/.
42. Tearle, Dr Oliver. A Summary and Analysis of the Last Supper. Interesting Literature. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://interestingliterature.com/2021/06/bible-jesus-last-supper-summary-analysis/.
43. Lim, Timothy H. Essenes in Judaean Society: the sectarians of the Dead Sea Scrolls. OUPblog. [Online] January 17th, 2021. https://blog.oup.com/2021/01/essenes-in-judaean-society-the-sectarians-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls/.
44. White:, L. Michael. The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Frontline PBS. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html.
45. Brewer, Thomas. Does John’s Last Supper Chronology Differ from the Other Gospels? Ligonier. [Online] May 2nd, 2022. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/does-last-supper-chronology-differ#fn1.
46. —. Does John’s last supper chronology differ from the other Gospels? Christian Post. [Online] May 13th, 2022. https://www.christianpost.com/voices/does-johns-last-supper-chronology-differ-from-the-other-gospels.html.
47. Tabor, James. The Last Days of Jesus: A Final “Messianic” Meal. Biblical Archaelogy. [Online] April 17th, 2022. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/the-last-days-of-jesus-a-final-messianic-meal/.
48. Sielaff, David. The Upper Room. Associates For Scriptual Knowledge. [Online] October 12th, 2005. https://www.askelm.com/news/n051012.htm.
49. Isaacs, Rabbi Ronald H. The Paschal Sacrifice (Korban Pesach) – Understanding how Passover was celebrated in Biblical Times. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/passover-from-the-bible-to-the-temples/.
50. Lanser, Rick. The Hebrew Calandar of the Second Temple Era. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
51. Ritenbaugh, John W. What the Bible says about Ben Ha Arbayim. Bible Tools. [Online] [Cited: December 28th, 2023.] https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/6865/Ben-Ha-Arbayim.htm.
52. Yellen, Rabbi Ben-Hayil. Passover Celebration. House of Essenes. [Online] March 21st, 2023. https://houseofessenes.org/index.php/2023/03/21/passover-celebration/.
53. —. New Month – Passover. House of Essenes. [Online] April 7th, 2022. https://houseofessenes.org/index.php/2022/04/07/new-month-passover/.
54. Davis, Charles D. Essene Passover Dates. Theos Sphragis. [Online] [Cited: December 29th, 2023.] https://theos-sphragis.info/essene_passover_dates.html.
55. Nettles, Randy. The Essenes’ Calendar. Bible Prophecy Information. [Online] [Cited: December 29th, 2023.] https://www.rev310.net/post/the-essenes-calendar.
56. Lenard, Joseph. Jesus’ Deather and Resurection – Which Jewish Passover? Truth in Scripture. [Online] February 6th, 2017. https://truthinscripture.net/2017/02/06/jesus-death-and-resurrection-which-jewish-passover/.
57. Marcus, Joel. Passover and Last Supper Revisited. New Testament Studies. [Online] June 10th, 2013. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/new-testament-studies/article/passover-and-last-supper-revisited/B7955FEA669F7DD71A36F008A2FE5144.
58. Isaacs, Ronald H. Rabbinic Development of Passover – The seder takes shape in the rabbinic period. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: January 1st, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/rabbinic-development-of-passover/.
59. The Bible Says. The Passover Seder. The Bible Says.com. [Online] [Cited: January 1st, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/tough-topics/the-passover-seder/.
60. —. Jesus’s Last Supper as a Passover Seder. The bible Says.com. [Online] [Cited: January 1st, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/tough-topics/jesuss-last-supper-as-a-passover-seder/.
61. Page, Roy. The Order of Feet Washing and The Lord’s Supper. Logos Apostolic. [Online] [Cited: January 2nd, 2023.] https://www.logosapostolic.org/bible_study/RP126-2OrderLord’sSupper.htm.
62. Evidence Unseen. (Jn. 13:1) Does John contradict the Synoptics regarding the Passover meal? Evidence Unseen. [Online] [Cited: January 2nd, 2023.] https://www.evidenceunseen.com/bible-difficulties-2/nt-difficulties/john-acts/jn-131-does-john-contradict-the-synoptics-regarding-the-passover-meal/.
63. Biblical Hermeneutics contributors. Luke 22:16 – Did Jesus say he was not going to eat THAT Passover? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: January 2nd, 2023.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/22040/luke-2216-did-jesus-say-he-was-not-going-to-eat-that-passover.
64. Joy, John P. Ratzinger and Aquinas on the Dating of the Last Supper: In Defense of the Synoptic Chronology. Academia New Blackfriars. [Online] 2012. https://www.academia.edu/94284490/Ratzinger_and_Aquinas_on_the_Dating_of_the_Last_Supper_In_Defense_of_the_Synoptic_Chronology.
65. Biblical Hermeneutics contributers. In the early church, was the Last Supper Considered a Passover Feast? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] 2019. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/22042/in-the-early-church-was-the-last-supper-considered-a-passover-feast?rq=1.
66. Herbert, R. The Man with the Water Jar. Tactical Christianity. [Online] https://tacticalchristianity.org/the-man-with-the-water-jar/.
67. Ross, Lesli Koppelman. What Is Matzah? Unleavened bread is the central Passover symbol. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: January 4th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/matzah/.
68. Posner, Menachem. What Is Hallel? Chabad. [Online] [Cited: January 9th, 2024.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4181720/jewish/What-Is-Hallel.htm.
69. Wall, Nathaniel. Jesus Sings at the Last Supper. Alpine Bible. [Online] April 15th, 2017. https://www.alpinebible.com/2017/04/jesus-sings-at-the-last-supper/.
70. Humphreys, Colin J. The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus. The Bible and Interpretation. [Online] April 2021. https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/articles/mystsup358021
71. Smith, Barry D. The Chronology of the Last Supper. Westminster Theological Journal 53:1 (1991): 29-45. [Online] https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/wtj/chronology_smith.pdf
72. Goodacre, Mark. Dating the Last Supper a Day Early? NT Blog April 22nd 2021. [Online] https://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/dating-last-supper-day-early.html

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* Describe leadership in the Kingdom of God and how it differs from leadership in the world.
* What sort of leadership do you see in the churches in your region and nation?
* What would it look like for our leadership to follow the pattern set by Jesus?
* How do we demonstrate that we are loving one another as Christ lovers us?

Preparing the Last Supper – 13th Nissan Day

Although the Gospels of Matthew and Mark record Judas’ conversation with the chief priests straight after describing the anointing of Yeshua‘s head, as they contrast this unnamed woman’s act of sacrificial love with this disciple’s horrid betrayal, such would have been late at night, and it is likely that he went at first opportunity this next morning (13th Nissan morning) to be able to get an audience with these religious leaders of their nation.

Yeshua had entered Bethany six days before Passover, on Nissan 9th. The next day, Nissan 10th, the day that lambs were chosen for the Passover Seder, Yeshua entered Jerusalem (John 12:12) through the east gate to shouts of “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!andBlessed is the king of Israel!” In their shouts the crowds were choosing Yeshua as the true Lamb of God, even as Yohanan the Immerser had declared: “Behold, the Lamb of Godwho takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Each Lamb for the original Passover was examined for four days after it was chosen (Exodus 12:3,6), to make sure it was without spot or blemish. Likewise, Yeshua was examined, tested over and over by being asked question after question over these four days, and they could not find any fault with His answers. He was without sin, without falsehood, without spot or blemish.

The night of the Passover was the event which initiated ADONAI bringing the Israelites out of Egypt; yet Pharaoh’s decree: ““Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me” (Exodus 12:31b-32) was only the beginning of the journey. The Israelites were still in Egypt as they walked to the Red Sea border. So, the full remembrance of God’s deliverance consisted of two separate feasts: Passover on the 14th and seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, from the 15th to the 21st. The Feasts were consecutive, and they shared a common food, Matzot (Unleavened Bread). Pesach (Passover) and Matzot (Unleavened Bread) are two separate remembrances which are inexorably connected and intertwined.

Matthew, Mark and Luke describe Yeshua’s last supper as a Passover meal, whereas John makes it clear that the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs was the following afternoon, at the time of Yeshua‘s death, and describes Yeshua’s last meal as just before the feast of Passover.

Scholars have proposed many different theories for this apparent contradiction, but none has been able to provide an uncontested argument. One possible explanation relates to the interpretation of the Hebrew phrase: ben ha arbayim, which is literally translated as “between the evenings” and was used in regard to when on Nissan 14th the lambs were to be sacrificed. The original meaning was between sunset and dark, a period of about an hour, and some schools of thought among the Second Temple Jews (including Hasidim, Essenes and Samaritans) still held to this, which meant that they sacrificed their Passover lambs once the sun set to mark the beginning of Nissan 14, roasted it and ate it that night. Karaite Jews continue to this day celebrating Passover on the eve of Nissan 14. Such a brief time was insufficient to sacrifice all the lambs for the multitudes that now flocked to Jerusalem each year for Passover, so ‘ben ha arbayim’ had been reinterpreted by the temple authorities to mean “between the ninth hour (3pm) and sunset“, which meant that they sacrificed the Passover lambs in the temple on the afternoon of Nissan 14. With the Jewish day beginning at sunset, they now ate the Passover meal at the beginning of the fifteenth day of the month, which is also the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Rabbinic Jews still celebrate Passover on the night of Nissan 15. It appears that Yeshua and His talmidim joined those who ate the Passover on fourteenth Nissan, and thus He was able to institute a commemoration of what was to take place the following afternoon as the Pascal lambs were sacrificed in the temple.

What is clear is that God wants us to associate both Yeshua’s death on the cross and His last meal with His disciples, which foretold and illustrated this death, with Passover and the redemption of the Jews from slavery to live as His people in the promised land. Just as the Passover lamb was killed and its blood on the doorposts of their houses protected the Israelites from the destroying angel and redeemed them from Egyptian slavery, so Christ’s blood redeems us from slavery to sin and death.

On the morning of Nissan 13th, Yeshua‘s disciples asked Him where He wanted them to prepare the Passover meal for Him. He responded by sending two of them, Peter and John, with cryptic instructions that gave nothing away except for the known that their Passover meal would be in Jerusalem as per the Torah. Even if Judas had incited the question in order to find out the location so he could tell the chief priests he would have been left none the wiser by Yeshua’s reply. Likewise, if Judas had been in Jerusalem dealing with the chief priests at this time and then sort information from the other disciples when he returned, they would have had nothing that he could use to betray their location for the meal that night. There would be no alteration to God’s perfect timing for Yeshua’s arrest, this last meal together would not be interrupted, it was too important to the Father’s plan.

In ancient Israel, getting the family’s supply of water from the well was women’s work. It was carried by them in pitchers of earthenware either upon their shoulder or head. Some have proposed that there was a group of Jewish men who would have carried water jars – the Essenes. Certain groups of Essenes were celibate, and their men also did women’s work. Essenes had their communities, not only in Qumran where the dead sea scrolls were found, but also in various towns throughout Judea. These were also one of the groups that ate their Passover meal during the night of Nissan 14th, a day earlier than the temple authorities.

The Essenes are thought to have had a community in Jerusalem. It is argued that the southwest edge of Jerusalem, which was topographically higher even than the temple mount, contained an “Essene Quarter,” and had its own “Essene Gate” mentioned by Josephus, through which they went down to collect water from the Pool of Siloam in the southern part of the ‘lower city’ of Jerusalem.

Whether the man carrying the jar of water, who met Peter and John in Jerusalem, was an Essene or not we don’t know. What we can deduce from the text is that he, and the owner of the house he took them to, were unknown to Peter and John, yet knew who they were talking about when they said “the Teacher” and welcomed this opportunity to host Yeshua and His talmidim for such an important occasion.

While Yeshua still tarried with the other disciples outside the city, Peter and John were doing their preparations. These would have included ensuring that there was not even a crumb of leavened bread in the room, slaughtering their lamb and roasting it without breaking any of its bones (Exodus 12:46), and purchasing the other foods for the meal from the many Passover street markets in Jerusalem during the feast days. “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it” (Exodus12:8).

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37. Brewer, Thomas. Does John’s last supper chronology differ from the other Gospels? Christian Post. [Online] May 13th, 2022. https://www.christianpost.com/voices/does-johns-last-supper-chronology-differ-from-the-other-gospels.html.
38. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, DR. Eli. The Man with the Jar of Water – The Jewish Background of the New Testament. e-Teacher Biblical. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] https://lp.eteacherbiblical.com/lp_jbnt_water_jar-en.html?blog=1.
39. Discussion. What is the significance of “a man carrying a jar of water” in Luke 22:10? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: December 16th, 2023.] http://139.59.108.225/host-https-hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/49682/what-is-the-significance-of-a-man-carrying-a-jar-of-water-in-luke-2210.
40. Pixner, Bargil. Jerusalem’s Essene Way – Where the Community Lived in Jesus’ Time. Century One. [Online] May/June 1997. http://139.59.108.225/host-http-www.centuryone.org/essene.html.
41. Trimm, James. Is the “Last Supper” in John the “Last Supper” in the Synoptics? Nazarene Space. [Online] March 25th, 2020. http://nazarenespace.com/blog/2020/03/25/is-the-last-supper-in-john-the-last-supper-in-the-synoptics/.
42. Tearle, Dr Oliver. A Summary and Analysis of the Last Supper. Interesting Literature. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://interestingliterature.com/2021/06/bible-jesus-last-supper-summary-analysis/.
43. Lim, Timothy H. Essenes in Judaean Society: the sectarians of the Dead Sea Scrolls. OUPblog. [Online] January 17th, 2021. https://blog.oup.com/2021/01/essenes-in-judaean-society-the-sectarians-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls/.
44. White:, L. Michael. The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Frontline PBS. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html.
45. Brewer, Thomas. Does John’s Last Supper Chronology Differ from the Other Gospels? Ligonier. [Online] May 2nd, 2022. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/does-last-supper-chronology-differ#fn1.
46. —. Does John’s last supper chronology differ from the other Gospels? Christian Post. [Online] May 13th, 2022. https://www.christianpost.com/voices/does-johns-last-supper-chronology-differ-from-the-other-gospels.html.
47. Tabor, James. The Last Days of Jesus: A Final “Messianic” Meal. Biblical Archaelogy. [Online] April 17th, 2022. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/the-last-days-of-jesus-a-final-messianic-meal/.
48. Sielaff, David. The Upper Room. Associates For Scriptual Knowledge. [Online] October 12th, 2005. https://www.askelm.com/news/n051012.htm.
49. Isaacs, Rabbi Ronald H. The Paschal Sacrifice (Korban Pesach) – Understanding how Passover was celebrated in Biblical Times. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: December 26th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/passover-from-the-bible-to-the-temples/.
50. Lanser, Rick. The Hebrew Calandar of the Second Temple Era. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
51. Ritenbaugh, John W. What the Bible says about Ben Ha Arbayim. Bible Tools. [Online] [Cited: December 28th, 2023.] https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/6865/Ben-Ha-Arbayim.htm.
52. Yellen, Rabbi Ben-Hayil. Passover Celebration. House of Essenes. [Online] March 21st, 2023. https://houseofessenes.org/index.php/2023/03/21/passover-celebration/.
53. —. New Month – Passover. House of Essenes. [Online] April 7th, 2022. https://houseofessenes.org/index.php/2022/04/07/new-month-passover/.
54. Davis, Charles D. Essene Passover Dates. Theos Sphragis. [Online] [Cited: December 29th, 2023.] https://theos-sphragis.info/essene_passover_dates.html.
55. Nettles, Randy. The Essenes’ Calendar. Bible Prophecy Information. [Online] [Cited: December 29th, 2023.] https://www.rev310.net/post/the-essenes-calendar.
56. Lenard, Joseph. Jesus’ Deather and Resurection – Which Jewish Passover? Truth in Scripture. [Online] February 6th, 2017. https://truthinscripture.net/2017/02/06/jesus-death-and-resurrection-which-jewish-passover/.
57. Marcus, Joel. Passover and Last Supper Revisited. New Testament Studies. [Online] June 10th, 2013. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/new-testament-studies/article/passover-and-last-supper-revisited/B7955FEA669F7DD71A36F008A2FE5144.
58. Isaacs, Ronald H. Rabbinic Development of Passover – The seder takes shape in the rabbinic period. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: January 1st, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/rabbinic-development-of-passover/.
59. The Bible Says. The Passover Seder. The Bible Says.com. [Online] [Cited: January 1st, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/tough-topics/the-passover-seder/.
60. —. Jesus’s Last Supper as a Passover Seder. The bible Says.com. [Online] [Cited: January 1st, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/tough-topics/jesuss-last-supper-as-a-passover-seder/.
61. Page, Roy. The Order of Feet Washing and The Lord’s Supper. Logos Apostolic. [Online] [Cited: January 2nd, 2023.] https://www.logosapostolic.org/bible_study/RP126-2OrderLord’sSupper.htm.
62. Evidence Unseen. (Jn. 13:1) Does John contradict the Synoptics regarding the Passover meal? Evidence Unseen. [Online] [Cited: January 2nd, 2023.] https://www.evidenceunseen.com/bible-difficulties-2/nt-difficulties/john-acts/jn-131-does-john-contradict-the-synoptics-regarding-the-passover-meal/.
63. Biblical Hermeneutics contributors. Luke 22:16 – Did Jesus say he was not going to eat THAT Passover? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] [Cited: January 2nd, 2023.] https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/22040/luke-2216-did-jesus-say-he-was-not-going-to-eat-that-passover.
64. Joy, John P. Ratzinger and Aquinas on the Dating of the Last Supper: In Defense of the Synoptic Chronology. Academia New Blackfriars. [Online] 2012. https://www.academia.edu/94284490/Ratzinger_and_Aquinas_on_the_Dating_of_the_Last_Supper_In_Defense_of_the_Synoptic_Chronology.
65. Biblical Hermeneutics contributers. In the early church, was the Last Supper Considered a Passover Feast? Biblical Hermeneutics. [Online] 2019. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/22042/in-the-early-church-was-the-last-supper-considered-a-passover-feast?rq=1.
66. Herbert, R. The Man with the Water Jar. Tactical Christianity. [Online] https://tacticalchristianity.org/the-man-with-the-water-jar/.
67. Ross, Lesli Koppelman. What Is Matzah? Unleavened bread is the central Passover symbol. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: January 4th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/matzah/.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* Describe how the Passover lamb provided a picture of Messiah.
* What is the significance of Passover and why do you think God chose this time of year for Jesus to die for us?
* Does your culture have any ceremonial feasts? If so please describe them and their significance.
* Are there any household tasks in your culture that are considered “woman’s work” like carrying the water jar was in Jesus’ time? What do people think of a man doing this “woman’s work”?

Love and Betrayal – 13th Nissan Evening

13th Nissan Evening …continued

From the Mount of Olives they continued down to Bethany, where Simon the Leper had invited them to dine in his house that night.  “Simon the Leper” was a label given to distinguish this Simon from the other Simons in the gospel accounts, it was a very common name. Many scholars believe that Yeshua had healed Simon of his leprosy and, in an act of gratitude, the cured man welcomed Yeshua and His talmidim into his home for a meal. According to Leviticus 13:46, lepers were considered unclean and “must live outside the camp.” They were to live outside their community and could not dwell inside their house. Leviticus 14 describes the rituals that this man would have gone through after his healing before he was declared clean by the priest and allowed back into his house:

Notice that on the eighth day the leper is cleansed first with the blood, then with the oil, and lastly with the offerings.

Now while Yeshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon ha-Metzora, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil. And she poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. 
But when the disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?  It could have been sold for a lot, and the money given to the poor!”
But Yeshua, knowing this, said to them, “Why do you cause trouble for this woman? She’s done Me a mitzvah. You always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have Me. For when she poured this oil on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Amen, I tell you, wherever this Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Matthew 26:6-13 TLV

And while He was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.  
There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her.  
But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.  And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Mark 14:3-9 ESV

This was the third time that Yeshua had been anointed by a woman with expensive perfume (Gk: myron). In the TaNaKh (Hebrew Scriptures) David was anointed to be king three times – the first was Samuel’s anointing (I Samuel 16:13); the second was after Saul’s death when the men of Judah anointed David king over the house of Judah (II Samuel 2:4); and the third was seven and a half years later when all the tribes of Israel came and anointed David as king over them (II Samuel 5:1-4).

On all three occasions the women anoint Yeshua with myron (“perfume, ointment”) which is also mentioned in Luke 23:56 as one of the ingredients brought for preparing Yeshua’s body. Mark 14:3 and John 12:3 identify the myron as pure nard (also called spikenard). Spikenard is a thick, aromatic, amber-colored essential oil derived from the spikey root of a flowering plant which grows in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, China, and northern India. It has a strong, distinctive aroma that clings to skin and hair and continues to give off its perfume.

Spikenard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon as a symbol of love and devotion. In the first chapter, the Shulamite woman describes her love for her beloved:

Similarly, in chapter four, the beloved praises the beauty and fragrance of his lover:

The first and last anointings are recorded as being poured from an alabaster flask/jar. The best spikenard was imported from India in sealed alabaster flasks, which were opened only on very special occasions. 

Alabaster is a soft mineral (3 on the Mohs scale), with formula CaCO3, a carbonate of lime formed on the floors of limestone caves by the percolation of water, stalagmite. It has banded shades of color and is translucent or semi-translucent in nature, allowing light to pass through it. This property gives alabaster a warm, soft glow. The most prized and commonly used type of alabaster is the white variety, known for its purity and ability to transmit light effectively. Alabaster is referred to as one of the precious stones used in the decoration of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 29:2). In the Song of Songs, the beloved man is described as having legs like “alabaster columns” (ESV) or “pillars of marble” (NIV, KJV). Ointment, oils, and perfumes used to be put in vessels made of alabaster to keep them pure and unspoiled. These vessels were often sealed or made fast with wax to prevent the perfume from escaping.

ἀλείφωAleiphō is the Greek verb used for the women’s act in the first (Luke 7:3846) and second (John 11:212:3) anointings, which were of Yeshua‘s feet. Aleiphō means “anoint” or “smear” and was often used for applying perfumes or ointments in festive, medicinal, and burial contexts.

καταχέωKatacheō is the Greek verb used for anointing of Yeshua‘s head (Matt. 26:7Mark 14:3). Katacheō means “pour down upon” or “pour over”.

Yet another verb that can mean “anoint” is used by Yeshua in Mark 14:8: “she has anointed (myrizō) my body in advance for burial” (cf. Matt. 26:12John 12:7). Myrizō means to apply myron (perfume, ointment). Like aleiphō, this verb is generally used in the contexts of applying medicinal ointments and in embalming. LSJ give the primary definition as “rub with ointment or unguent, anoint.” This suggests an action after this unknown woman poured the nard over Yeshua’s head.

The anointing of Yeshua‘s feet by the sinful woman, Luke 7:38, and by Mary, John 12:3, were acts of love and humble service as each of the women lowered herself to minister to the lowest part of Yeshua and sit at His feet learning of Him. The anointing of Yeshua‘s head involved instead standing above Yeshua, as He reclined at the table, and pouring out over His highest point to flow down over His whole body, even as kings or priests were anointed. The woman who performed this act is not named in the scriptures, but her deed is recorded in two of the Gospels and continues to be spoken of even as Yeshua declared: “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will also be spoken of in memory of her” (Matt. 26:13//Mark 14:9). Yeshua highly valued her prophetic action.

The fact that those who criticized her actions countered that the ointment should have been sold and money given to the poor does not indicate that Yeshua was indifferent to the needs of the poor, but rather that He had empathized the need to care for the poor so much that her detractors thought this would be the best argument against her actions. Notice how He responded to their assertion of care for the poor: “you can do good for them.” Their responsibility was not to criticize another for failing to meet the needs of the poor, but to reach into their own pockets and use their own strength to meet their needs. The prophetic necessity of what this unnamed woman had done, however, was so great that Yeshua would not even allow this argument to be used against her.

The chief priests (members of the Great Sanhedrin) offered 30 pieces of silver, and Judas took it without hesitation or attempting to negotiate a higher price. The first reference to thirty pieces of silver in the Bible can be found in Exodus 21:32 when the Israelites were told that the payment to the master of a slave gored by an ox should be thirty pieces of silver. Genesis 37 describes Joseph as Jacob’s favored son whose older brothers are jealous and conspire to kill him, but Judah convinces them to sell him as a slave so they: “sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt” (Genesis 37:29). Joseph is seen as having prefigured Yeshua in many ways.

The gospels place Judas’ betrayal of Yeshua directly after a woman’s costly anointing of Him, contrasting the great value the women placed on Yeshua with the pitiful amount the chief priests offered for Him. It appears they wanted to give Judas the impression that they weren’t overly concerned about Yeshua, unwilling to acknowledge how concerned they were about His popularity and message. Offering the thirty pieces was also a way to subtly denigrate Him, pay the price of a slave for the King of the Jews.

The other place we see a payment of thirty pieces of silver is in Zechariah 11:12-13: I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter” – the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.

The chief priests had plenty of opportunity to arrest Yeshua when He was preaching in the temple, but they feared the crowd would riot in support of Him so had been seeking a way to capture Him away from all the crowds. This is the sort of information that only one who was close to Yeshua could divulge.

There are many theories as to Judas’ motives for this betrayal. Some suggest that what prompted Judas to act as he did was a desire to bring about a rising of the people at the time of the feast, and to constrain “the dilatory Messiah to establish His kingdom by means of popular violence.” Others suggest Judas was provoked and exasperated, to the last degree, by the woman’s anointing of Christ with such costly perfume, and His defense of it, and because the ointment was not sold, and the money put into his hand. Others suggest that the motive that impelled Judas was probably not so much avarice as disappointed worldly ambition in wanting to reign in an earthy kingdom, the hope of which was lost with Christ’s insistence that He was to be buried. Still others suggest that Judas’ heart was gradually hardened by each theft of the groups’ funds and uneasy awareness that Yeshua likely saw through him, such that when he heard Christ’s announcement of his speedy death his only feeling was hatred and disgust as he saw no rewards for Christ’s followers, nothing but enmity and threatening danger on every side with no worldly advantage to be gained by fidelity to the losing side so he determined to make what profit he could under those circumstances.  The scriptures tell us of Judas’ actions but do not divulge his reasonings or motives, as is often the case when people commit such evil we are left wondering what led them to this end and how they justified it to themselves. It is a salutary warning to us all that one who walked so closely with Yeshua could become so ensnared by the Devil to betray Him.

Reference List

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31. Darg, Christine. The Anointing of King Messiah. Jerusalem Channel. [Online] June 1st, 2014. https://jerusalemchannel.tv/anointing-king-messiah/.
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33. Mowezko, Marg. Comparing the anointing Stories. Marg Mowezko – Exploring a Biblical Theology of Christian Egalitarianism. [Online] April 24th, 2022. https://margmowczko.com/comparing-anointing-stories-gospels/.
34. Bible Verse Study Editor. Spikenard – John 12:3-7. Bible Verse Study. [Online] [Cited: December 5th, 2023.] https://bibleversestudy.com/johngospel/john12-spikenard-bethany.htm.
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36. Larsen, Iver. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Hverdags Bible. [Online] April 28th, 2022. https://hverdagsbibel.dk/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
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38. Long, Phillip J. What is the Point of the Anointing at Bethany? Reading Acts. [Online] November 12th, 2014. https://readingacts.com/2014/11/12/what-is-the-point-of-the-anointing-at-bethany/.\
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In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* What application can you see in the leper being cleansed first with the blood, then with the oil, and lastly with the offerings?
* Why do you think the woman who anointed Jesus’ head is remembered, but not by name – we don’t know who she is only what she did?
* What do you think Jesus would have looked like with the thick, aromatic, amber-colored pure nard poured all over His head and running down His body?
* What is the significance of all three anointings of Jesus being done by women?
* What is the significance of the spikenard and the alabaster flasks?
* Why do you think the chief priests offered thirty pieces of silver and what do you think was God’s purpose in this?
* It is easy to get discouraged when we see people who appeared to have a close walk with Jesus committing great sin, yet one of the twelve executed the most awful betrayal of Him, so how are we to make sense of such and what can we do to avoid following that path?

Kingdom Parables – 13th Nissan Evening

Please read Matthew 24:32 – 25:46, Mark 13:28-37
& Luke 21:30 – 36

13th Nissan Evening …continued

Yeshua continued teaching His talmidim on the Mount of Olives.

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the door.  Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.  But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone. Matthew 24:32-36 TLV

 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
 But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.   Mark 13:28-33 ESV

Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves and you see it for yourselves, know that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.
“But be on guard, so that your hearts will not be overcome with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who inhabit the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying earnestly that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:30-36 LSB

Yeshua expects us to notice the signs of the times and know when His kingdom is near. “This generation“, the one Yeshua was talking to, did not pass away before the fulfilment of all His predictions regarding the Roman abomination that causes desolation destroyed Jerusalem and left not one stone upon another in the Temple – it took place less than 40 years after He gave this teaching. We are still waiting for that day which will suddenly “come upon all those who inhabit the face of all the earth” and are exhorted to keep alert, diligent and in prayer as we await it.

 “For just as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark.  And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. 
So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field, one taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill, one taken and one left.  Therefore stay alert; for you do not know what day your Lord is coming.  
But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Matthew 24:37-44 TLV

Here’s what the scriptures say about the days of Noah:

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. …  Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. ...
And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark. Genesis 6:1-5, 11-12 & 7:12-13 ESV

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot – they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all – so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.  Luke 17:26-30 ESV

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked  (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,  and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. 2 Peter 2:4-10 ESV

 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day – just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude 6-7 ESV

God delayed His judgment for 120 years before bringing the flood, and during that time Noah both built the ark and preached righteousness to the people. They heard the warnings and call to repentance; they saw the ark being built and would have noticed when it was being finished but still they paid no attention and kept living as though nothing would happen. All the signs were there, and the building progress on the ark indicated the timeline, but the wicked were blind to it and did not understand that all would be destroyed by the coming flood until it was happening. In His mercy God delays His judgment, often for a very long time, but it will most certainly come and those who are looking for the signs and obeying God’s voice as Noah did, will notice when the day of judgment is drawing near.

 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master put in charge of his household to give them food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whose master finds him so doing when he comes.  Amen, I tell you, his master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 
But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking a long time,’ and he begins to beat his fellow servants, and he eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. And he will cut him in two and assign his place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 24:45-51 TLV

It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.  Therefore stay awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.  And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
Mark 13:34-37 ESV

Now Yeshua shifts their attention to focus on those He places in charge of His household, as they would be after His resurrection. Notice, first, that He calls them “servants”, not “masters”. He is the only master; we are all fellow servants. Matthew records the work of the servant placed in charge as being to give everyone in the household their food at the proper time, whereas Mark notes that each is charged with a different task and then focuses on the doorkeeper who must stay awake to be ready to welcome the Master when He returns. Note how Yeshua describes those who do not care for His household as He does and instead serve their own desires.

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  For when the foolish ones took their lamps, they took no oil with them. But the wise ones took oil in jars along with their lamps.
“Now while the bridegroom was taking a long time, they all got drowsy and started falling asleep.  But in the middle of the night there was a shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  

Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.  
Now the foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, since our lamps are going out.’  
But the wise ones replied, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Instead, go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were going off to buy, the bridegroom came. And those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.  Now later, the other virgins came, saying, ‘Sir, Sir, open up for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Amen, I tell you, I do not know you.’  Therefore stay alert, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Matthew 25:1-13 TLV

Yeshua continued His admonishment to be prepared and alert for His return. This time the metaphor He used was virgins waiting for the bridegroom. There were no harlots in this group of ten, each of them was pure, but only five of them were wise enough to take jars of oil along with their lamps. Their lamps had to be lit to go with the bridegroom into the wedding feast and without the extra oil the lamps of the foolish were going out as the bridegroom came. They weren’t ready for Him at the time of His arrival, so they weren’t known by Him.

 For it is like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and handed over his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey.
“Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them and gained five more.  In the same way, the one with two gained two more.  But the one who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“Now after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  
The one who had received the five talents came up and brought another five talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed me five talents. Look, I’ve gained five more.’  
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful with a little, so I’ll put you in charge of much. Enter into your master’s joy!’
“The one who had received the two talents also came up and said, ‘Master, you handed me two talents. Look, I’ve gained two more.’  
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful with a little, so I’ll put you in charge of much. Enter into your master’s joy!’
 “Then the one who had received the one talent also came up and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man, reaping where you didn’t sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.  So I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
“But his master responded, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow and gather where I scattered no seed?  Then you should have brought my money to the brokers, and when I came I would have received it back with interest.  Therefore take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For to the one who has, more shall be given, and he shall have an abundance. But from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw the worthless servant out, into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Matthew 25:14-30 TLV

 “Talent” was the heaviest or largest biblical unit of measurement for weight, equal to about 75 pounds or 35 kilograms. “Talent“, from the Greek word tálanton, also referred to the largest unit of currency at the time of Christ, equal to 6,000 drachmas or denarii, the Greek and Roman silver coins. Denarii were the standard silver Roman coins and equal to a day’s wages. So, a talent was about nineteen years’ worth of daily wages for a six-day workweek. It was a LOT of money that this master gave to each of his three servants when he handed over his possessions to them. And yet, when he returned, his words to the first two servants were: “you have been faithful with little, so I’ll put you in charge of much.” What the faithful will receive when Christ returns will make everything in this current age appear “little” in comparison.

The third servant believed a lie about the nature and character of his master, just as Eve believed a lie about God and so ate the fruit, and this lie became lord over his actions instead of his master being lord over how he used the talent: “Master, I knew that you are a hard man, reaping where you didn’t sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.  So I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground.” This lie produced wicked, lazy and worthless behaviour that had the third servant thrown out of the kingdom.

 “Now when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on His left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  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 invited Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger and invite You in? Or naked and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
“And answering, the King will say to them, ‘Amen, I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Go away from Me, you cursed ones, into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me; sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they too will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not care for You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Amen, I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’  These shall go off to everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.”
Matthew 25:31-46 TLV

“I was watching in the night visions. Behold, One like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days, and was brought into His presence. Dominion, glory and sovereignty were given to Him that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will never pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.”
Daniel 7:13-14 TLV

“I will seek the lost, bring back the stray, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick. But the fat and the strong I will destroy – I will tend them with justice.  As for you, My flock” – thus says Adonai Elohim – “behold, I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats.  Was it too little for you that you were feeding in the good pasture? Must you trample down the rest of your pastures with your feet? You were drinking clear water. Must you muddy the rest with your feet?  Yet My sheep must eat what you have trampled with your feet and drink what you have muddied with your feet!”
Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you thrust with your side and with shoulder and gore all the weak with your horns, until you have scattered them all over,  I will save My flock. They will no longer be prey. I will judge between sheep and sheep.  So I will set up One Shepherd over them, My servant David – He will tend them, He will feed them Himself and be their shepherd.  I, Adonai, will be their God, and My servant David will be Prince among them. I, Adonai, have spoken.
Ezekiel 34:16-24 TLV

“Is not this the fast I choose: to release the bonds of wickedness, to untie the cords of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to tear off every yoke?
 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the homeless poor into your house? When you see the naked, to cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh and blood?
Isaiah 58:6-7 TLV

at that time your people – everyone who is found written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake – some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:1b-2 TLV

Yeshua finished His teaching on the Mount of Olives with a magnificent description of Him coming in glory and judging the nations, even as Daniel had prophesied. Just as Psalm 82 described the judgment of the gods (spiritual principalities and powers) over the nations for failing to govern according to His precepts so Yeshua now describes judgment of the people of the nations.

Psalm 82
God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, “You are gods,
    sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
    and fall like any prince.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
  for You shall inherit all the nations!

The Son of Man’s judgment was based, not upon creed or liturgy, but upon our treatment of the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned. The King of Glory identifies with the poorest and most needy of us. How we treat the least of these is how we are treating Yeshua whom we claim to love.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/.
7. Bible Commentaries. John 12:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/12-1.htm.
8. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
9. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
10. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
11. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
r12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday).
15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
23. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
24. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
25. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
26. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
27. Hunter, Ellen. What is a denarii worth in ancient rome? Lear Ancient Rome. [Online] April 8th, 2023. https://www.learnancientrome.com/what-is-a-denarii-worth-in-ancient-rome/.
28. Soldaat, Ben. How Much Was a Biblical Talent Worth? Grand Rapids Coins. [Online] September 28th, 2020. https://www.grandrapidscoins.com/how-much-was-a-biblical-talent-worth/.
29. Ancient Money Calculator. Testament Press. [Online] [Cited: December 2nd, 2023.] https://testamentpress.com/ancient-money-calculator.html.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* What is the lesson of the fig tree?
* How do you think the coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah?
* What do we learn from Jesus’ parable about the man who went on a journey and put his servants in charge of his household while he was away?
* Why do you think Jesus included a parable centered on women, ten virgins, in the middle of His two journey parables?
* What do we learn from the parable of the talents (large amounts of money)?
* What is the significance of Jesus judging the nations on the basis of how they treated the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned?

Signs of What is to Come – 13th Nissan Evening

Please read Matthew 23:36 – 24:31, Mark 13:1-27
& Luke 21:5 – 28

The new Jewish day began in the evening, as Yeshua and His talmidim departed from the temple after a long day of teaching.

As Yeshua left the Temple and was going away, His talmidim came and called His attention to its buildings.  
But He answered them, “You see all these? Yes! I tell you, they will be totally destroyed — not a single stone will be left standing!”
Matthew 24:1-2 CJB

As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!”
Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!”
Mark 13:1-2 TLV

And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, He said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Luke 21:5-6 ESV

Leaving the Temple, Yeshua passed with His Apostles down the eastern steps toward the valley of the Kidron. As they were passing on, one of His disciples
invited Yeshua’s attention to the marvellous structure they were leaving, to the enormous size of its marble blocks and the grandeur of its buildings. Josephus tells us that while some of the stones were forty-five feet, most were thirty-seven and a half feet long, twelve feet high, and eighteen broad.  They looked so strong and permanent, these beautiful stone buildings of the city of Jerusalem.

As both Isaiah and Jeremiah had, with grieving, prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians, now Yeshua prophesied the total destruction that the Romans would bring upon it just under 40 years after His death. Josephus tells us (Bell. Jud. vii. 1. 1) that when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70 the whole inclosing walls and precincts of the Temple were “so thoroughly levelled and dug up that no one visiting the city would believe it had ever been inhabited.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  Look, your house is left to you desolate!  For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matthew 23:37-39 TLV

Luke 19:41-42 records Yeshua weeping over Jerusalem during His Triumphal Entry on the donkey. The Greek word “wept” is klaio. It referred to crying and deep sobbing. It is the strongest Greek word for weeping in the New Testament. As Yeshua wept He said in verse 42, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” Jesus wept because the city did not understand the “things which make for peace.” That is, they did not recognize their Messiah. Now, as He left Jerusalem for the last time before His crucifixion, again He grieved over what was to come upon them.

 Then the ruling kohanim and elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the kohen gadol named Caiaphas.  They plotted together in order that they might seize Yeshua by stealth and kill Him.  “But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.” Matthew 26:3-5 TLV

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”
Mark 14:1-2 ESV
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was drawing near. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. Luke 22:1-2 LSB

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, in the court of the High Priest, Caiaphas had gathered the chief priests and scribes to plot killing Yeshua.  Ever since the rebuilding of the Temple after the Babylonian captivity the Jewish people had been waiting for God to come and fill the Temple with His glory as He had when Solomon dedicated the first Temple (2 Chronicles 7). In Tractate Yoma of the Babylonian Talmud, the Gemara lists significant items in the First Temple that were not in the Second Temple: The Ark of the Covenant, and the Ark cover upon it, and the cherubs that were on the cover; fire; and the Divine Presence; and the Divine Spirit; and the urim v’tummim (the stones in the high priest’s breastplate). (Yoma 21b). Whereas the first Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant that housed the Ten Commandments that Moses had brought down from Sinai, the second Holy of Holies stood empty. No Ark of the Covenant and no presence of God. Jeremiah had prophesied that the “land shall be a desolation” and that the Jews would “serve the king of Babylon seventy years” (Jeremiah 25:1-11; 29:1-10 and 2 Chronicles 36:17-21), yet when Daniel sort God concerning this he was given a vision concerning seventy sevens (Daniel 9) – four hundred and ninety years before Israel would be restored to her status in God’s plan and enter into the promises that belong to them with the coming of Messiah. This had aroused the expectation that with Messiah Israel’s God would come back in person, in power, and in glory to dwell in the Temple in radiant splendor.   Yeshua had indeed come into the Temple at the appointed time, displaying God’s glory in healing the people and declaring His word, but the religious leaders had rejected Him and now sort to kill the King of Glory many had been waiting for. They concluded this could not be done over Passover for fear the crowds of pilgrims would riot in protest, yet Passover was the very time Yeshua decreed it would take place.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Yeshua answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray!  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end.  For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains.
Matthew 24:3-8 TLV

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?”
Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end.  For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains.
Mark 13:3-8 TLV

And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”  
And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.  And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 

Luke 21:7-11 ESV

Before leaving Jerusalem, Yeshua had warned them of what would happen to that city and its magnificent Temple – which came to pass in 70AD. Now, with this much smaller group, He moves on to speak of His second coming and the end of the age. Firstly, He counsels them not to judge in hast that it has come, for many false Messiahs will come and lead many away first, and many tribulations of wars, earthquakes, famines and pestilences will befall mankind before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

The warning against false Messiah‘s leading many astray, and this associated with wars and rumors of wars, came into stark relief when Simon bar Kokhba led a revolt against the Roman Empire in 132–135 AD, the Bar Kokhba revolt (Hebrew: מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא ) and was hailed as Messiah-king by the influential Rabbi Akiva, who referred to him using Numbers 24:17: “There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite through the corners of Moab,” and Haggai 2:21-22 : “I will shake the heavens and the earth and I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms….” With initial success against the Romans, he founded a short-lived Jewish state and had many more following him and believing him to be the Messiah. This was the sort of Messiah they had wanted (and some expected) Yeshua to be. This rebellion was among the events that differentiated Early Christianity from Judaism as Yeshua’s followers refused to accept Simon bar Kokhba as Messiah or to follow him into battle as they heeded these warnings Yeshua had given them. Rome’s response was to return with a huge army, drawn from many parts of the Empire, and totally decimate the Jews. Rome massacred the Judean populace, expelled any remaining Jews from Jerusalem and restructured Judea as Syria Palestina. The Talmud would later refer to Bar Kokhba as “Ben Koziva” (בֶּן כּוֹזִיבָא, lit. ’Son of Deception‘), a derogatory term asserting that he was a false Messiah.

The Day of the Lord // יֹום יְהוָה, Yom Yahweh
The phrase “day of the Lord” usually identifies events that take place at the end of history when God judges the nations. Thus, the Day of the Lord is a day filled with dichotomies – the terror of God’s judgment and the glory of Messiah’s reign.   It will be a day of reckoning, when all things will be brought into account. It will be a day of restoration, when Yeshua will restore order and establish His authority in the earth.  It will be a day of rejoicing, when we celebrate our King’s glory and victory, making this a glorious day.

The first mention of the Day of the Lord occurs in the book of Isaiah. “For the Day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.” (Isaiah 2:12) “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isaiah 13:9-11) In other words, there will be a great and dramatic judgment, manifest in the physical world, which will interfere with the light of the sun, moon, and stars. God will put down the proud and deal with the sinners. It is a time of judgment, preceded by Elijah the prophet: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” (Malachi 4:5)

The same thought is found in Zephaniah 1:14-16: “The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath – a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness – a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers..” In Amos 5:18, the prophet cries out, “Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.” In Joel 1:15, the prophet writes, “Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.” He continues: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31) “For the day of the LIRD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 1:15)
In Zephaniah 3:14-15, there is a picture of Israel’s blessing in that day, following the time of judgment: “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy; the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.” Zephaniah 1:7 describes it as a banquet: Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated His guests.

“Then they will hand you over to persecution and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14 TLV

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.  And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death.  And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Mark 13:9-13 ESV

“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will result in an opportunity for your testimony. So set in your hearts not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your perseverance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:12-19 LSB

Even as the day of the Lord will be a time of both horror and glory, so too the season leading up to it. They (and we) will be persecuted, hated, beaten and even put to death, and yet even through that we will have opportunity to testify about Yeshua in every nation and to all peoples. In echoes of His pronouncement of our faith being able to uproot a mountain into the sea, Yeshua assures us the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom our opponents won’t be able to resist or refute. We are called to persevere and endure until the end.

 “So when you see ‘the abomination of desolation,’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.  The one on the roof must not go down to take what is in his house, and the one in the field must not turn back to get his coat.  Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  Pray that your escape will not happen in winter, or on Shabbat.  For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.  And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short. Matthew 24:15-22 TLV

“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.  And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!  Pray that it may not happen in winter.  For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.  And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. Mark 13:14-20 ESV

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is at hand. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the countryside must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath against this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:20-24 LSB

Yeshua directs his listeners to Daniel’s prophesies of an abomination of desolation. The word “abomination” in the Greek means something that is disgusting and is oftentimes associated with that which is defiling and/or idolatrous. In the Hebrew, the meaning is the same and is associated with pagan idols. The word “desolation” means to be in a condition that is uninhabitable and devastated. In all biblical uses, the term can be understood as the “abomination causing the desolation.” The first reference to something like this is in Daniel 8, where the phrase “rebellion that causes desolation” is used. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says of this: Comp. Daniel 9:27. Probably these words mean the same as the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31Daniel 12:11; see 1 Maccabees 1:59).

 The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.  It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down.  Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”
He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”  Daniel 8:8-14 NIV

Daniel 8 predicted the coming Greek Empire and, more specifically, the ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes who on 15th Kislev (in December) 167 BC, built a pagan altar over the altar of burnt offering in the Temple and placed a pagan idol (some state it was Zeus, others say Jupiter) upon it – the ‘abomination of desecration’.  Ten days later, on the 25th Kislev, swine’s flesh was offered on this altar to the pagan idol. Antiochus IV also outlawed any possession, reading of or obedience to Torah and resorted to every conceivable torture to force the Jews to renounce their religion, their laws and their God, seeking to replace Judaism with a universal religion of Greek polytheism.    Greek Conquest and Hellenization (332 – 166 BC) – Renewal Blog.

Daniel 11 also uses the term “abomination that makes desolate” or “abomination of desolation” to describe the alter to the pagan idol that was set up in the Jerusalem Temple and gives more details about the different Greek leaders who would rule over Israel until Antiochus IV Epiphanes was defeated.

“At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before.  For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant.  Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate
He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.  And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder.  When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 
Daniel 11:29-36 ESV

Then, just as Daniel had foretold, devout Jews overcame and on Kislev 25, 165 BC, three years to the day after the first abominable sacrifice had been offered, the temple was cleansed, a new altar was rededicated and the daily sacrifices to Yahweh were once again offered in the Jerusalem temple. From the time Antiochus IV had plundered the temple in 170 BC until Judas Maccabeus recaptured Jerusalem and led the people in shattering the pagan idol and cleansing the temple on 25th Kislev 164 BC was six years and 110 days (2,300 evenings and mornings without their proper sacrifices). The Maccabean Revolt & Hasmonean Period (166 – 40 BC) – Renewal Blog. It is worth remembering that at the time Daniel wrote this prophesy there was no temple in Jerusalem, it had been destroyed by the Babylonians, so the temple would have to be rebuilt before any of this could come to pass.

When the angel Gabriel is explaining the vision of the Ram and Goat to Daniel there appears to be a shift in focus from the Greek Empire to the time of the end, which may have relevance for Yeshua‘s reference to these prophesies during His Olivet discourse:

“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise.  He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people.  He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. Daniel 8:23-25 NIV

Daniel 9 includes a Messianic prophesy that helped ignite Jewish expectations of when Messiah would come, as expressed in the old man Simeon’s conviction thathe should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. (Luke 2:22-38) A Child Is Born – Renewal Blog.

 Seventy weeks (490 years) are decreed about your people and your holy city— to bring the rebellion to an end, to put a stop to sin, to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an Anointed One (
Messiah), the ruler, will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times.

After those sixty-two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.

The people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed. He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel 9:24-27 CSB

The decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes in the seventh year of his reign, around 458 BC. Jerusalem, and indeed the temple, was built in difficult times – Herod did much building of both but his reign was brutal and all under Roman rule. If we count 490 years (seventy ‘weeks’) from the decree of Artaxerxes, we come to AD 33 (there was no year zero).  Actually, the prophecy has the Messiah coming to Jerusalem to make atonement for sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness during the 70th week (Daniel 9:25 – ie, after the seven and sixty-two weeks had finished).  This means that the Messiah was to go to Jerusalem to provide atonement for sins somewhere between AD 26 and 33. Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC) – Renewal Blog.

After His death, according to the Daniel 9 prophesy, “The people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This is as Yeshua had been prophesying to His disciples about the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (which occurred in 70 A.D.). Yeshua’s warning, and accompanying instructions to flee the city, was to save all His followers in Jerusalem from death when the Roman army destroyed it in the spring of 70AD, just after the new ruler, Vespasian, took control of the Roman Empire. The early believers took Yeshua’s words literally, having already suffered the persecutions He had forewarned them of, and acted on His instructions to flee the city.

The early Christian scholar Eusebius wrote of this time: “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.”

Epiphanes also attested to the Christian escape, according to Bible scholar Adam Clarke. The latter wrote: “It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus invested the city; and, had he persevered in the siege, he would soon have rendered himself master of it; but, when he unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christians took that opportunity to escape. … “[As] Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of their country: not one of them perished.

So, we can see Daniel spoke of an abomination of desolation (or abomination that makes desolate) standing in the Holy Place in relation to the Greek conquest and alter to a pagan idol being set up in the Jerusalem Temple, then in relation to Roman conquest and the total destruction of the Temple under their banner, and then in Daniel 11:36 – 12:13 a third abomination of desolation is described, this time “at the end of days“.

He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.  Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.  And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.  Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.  But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:9-13 ESV

The first and third of these abominations of desolation were to be set up in the Jewish Temple – a Temple that had been destroyed and no longer existed when Daniel wrote these prophesies, was rebuilt and then destroyed by the second abomination of desolation, and apparently will be rebuilt once more before the “time of the end” and the third abomination of desolation. Another sign Yeshua gave us as to when the “time of the end” would come is: “This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14).

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen.  See, I have told you beforehand.

“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’ – that you have not known, and – ‘Let’s serve them!’   You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams – for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling.  That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. Deuteronomy 13:2-6 TLV

“So if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. Or, ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.
“But immediately after the trouble of those days,
‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light
and the stars will fall from heaven
and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’

Wail, for the day of Adonai is near! it will come as destruction from Shaddai. … Behold, the day of Adonai comes, cruel, full of wrath and fierce fury, to make the earth a desolation, and destroy its sinners from it.  For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light. The rising sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.  I will punish the world for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity. I will put an end to the arrogance of the proud, and abase the insolence of tyrants. Isaiah 13:6, 9-11 TLV

Draw near, O nations, to hear, and listen, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all it contains, the world, and all its offspring! For Adonai is enraged at all the nations, and furious at all their armies. He will utterly destroy them. He will give them over to slaughter. So their slain will be thrown out, and the stench of their corpses will rise, and the hills will be drenched with their blood. Then all the host of heaven will dissolve, and the skies will be rolled up like a scroll – so all their array will wither away, like a leaf drooping from a vine, like a fig shriveling from a fig tree.
Isaiah 34: 1-4 TLV

Before them land quakes, heaven trembles, sun and moon become dark,
stars withdraw their brightness. Adonai utters His voice before His army. For His camp is very vast – for mighty is it that carries out His word. For great is the day of Adonai – very terrifying! Who can endure it?
Joel 2:10-11 TLV

It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it will come about that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Joel 2:28-32 NASB

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.  

“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, honor, and a kingdom, so that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languages might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 NASB

He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Matthew 24:23-31 TLV

“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.  But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

Mark 13:21-27 ESV

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 21:26-28 LSB

Yeshua warned us of a time to come when “there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now” (Matthew 24:21), after which “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25) and then “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). None of this was new, Yeshua had put together what had been foretold by the Jewish prophets. Despite all the horrendous, devastating things the people have gone through, and the Jewish people in particular, yet even worse than all that is going to take place before Yeshua comes in a cloud with great power and glory.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Holy Bible. New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books.
6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/.
7. Bible Commentaries. John 12:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/12-1.htm.
8. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/.
9. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/.
10. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html.
11. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look.
r12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday).
15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
23. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
24. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
25. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
26. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
27. Andrews, Samuel J. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth – Part VI – Last Teaching in the Temple. Bible Study Tools. [Online] 1904. [Cited: November 6th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/andrews-the-life-of-our-lord-upon-the-earth/part-vi/lasxt-teaching-in-the-temple.html.
28. The Bible Says Commentary author. Matthew 21:33-41 meaning. The Bible Says. [Online] [Cited: November 7th, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/matt/matt-21/matthew-2133-41/.
29. Jr, Clarence L. Haynes. What Is the Day of the Lord? Christianity. [Online] November 29th, 2022. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/end-times/what-is-the-day-of-the-lord.html.
30. Walvoord, John F. 5. The Day of the Lord. Bible.org. [Online] January 1st, 2008. https://bible.org/seriespage/5-day-lord.
31. Brodie, Jessica. What Exactly is the “Day of the Lord”? Bible study Tools. [Online] December 22nd, 2022. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-exactly-is-the-day-of-the-lord.html.
32. Bolinger, Hope. What Is the Abomination of Desolation Mentioned in Bible Prophecy? Bible Study Tools. [Online] August 21st, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-is-the-abomination-of-desolation.html.
33. Houdmann, S. Michael. What is the abomination of desolation? Got Questions. [Online] [Cited: November 17th, 2023.] https://www.gotquestions.org/abomination-desolation.html.
34. George A. Horton, Jr. “Be Ye Also Ready”: The Amazing Christian Escape from the A.D. 70 Destruction of Jerusalem. DOCSLIB. [Online] June 1989. https://docslib.org/the-amazing-christian-escape-from-the-a-d-70-destruction-of-jerusalem.
35. Oakes, Dr. John. When was the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem issued? (Daniel 9:25). Evidence for Christianity. [Online] February 20th, 2018. https://evidenceforchristianity.org/when-was-the-decree-to-restore-and-rebuild-jerusalem-issued-daniel-925/.
36. —. Can you prove Daniel 9 is about Jesus? Jews always criticize this conclusion. Evidence for Christianity . [Online] December 14th, 2016. https://evidenceforchristianity.org/can-you-prove-daniel-9-is-about-jesus-jews-always-criticize-this-conclusion/.
37. My Jewish Learning. TISHA B’AV – 12 Things To Know About the Temple in Jerusalem. [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/12-things-to-know-about-the-temple-in-jerusalem/
38. The William Davidson Talmud (Koren – Steinsaltz). Yoma 21b. [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://www.sefaria.org/Yoma.21b.2?lang=bi
39: David Treybig. Daniel 9: The 70-Year Prophecy of Jeremiah. Life, Hope & Truth [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/understanding-the-book-of-daniel/daniel-9/
40. Bible Outlines. Daniel 9:1-27 — Prophecy of Seventy Sevens Unfolds Israel’s Future [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://www.bibleoutlines.com/daniel-91-27-prophecy-of-seventy-sevens-unfolds-israels-future/

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* When Jesus stated that every stone in the Temple would be torn down it looked impossible that such massive stones would ever be moved – but within a generation it came to pass. Has Jesus told you anything that looked impossible?
* Describe how you think Jesus felt when He wept over Jerusalem with deep sobbing as He warned of what would become of them after they rejected Him and had their Messiah crucified.
* Describe the “Day of the Lord“.
* Describe the “abomination of desolation“.
* What are the signs that the day of the Lord is near?
* How are we to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds?

Challenging Unbelief – 12th Nissan

Please read Matthew 21:19-23:36, Mark 11:19-12:44,
Luke 20:1-21:4, 37-38 & John 12:44-50

When evening came, they left the city. Mark 11:19 ESV

And every day He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.  And early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him. Luke 21:37-38 ESV

And at once the fig tree withered. Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”
Matthew 21:19b – 22 NASB

As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree shriveled from the roots.  Peter remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree You cursed has shriveled up!”
And Yeshua answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God!  Amen, I tell you, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says is happening, so shall it be for him.  For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.
”  Mark 11:20-26 TLV

The withering of the fig tree seems to have begun as soon as the Lord had spoken the curse against it. Matthew says, “at once the fig tree withered“. Mark says, the fig tree shriveled from the roots.” In twenty-four hours it was completely dead.

By cleansing the Temple and cursing the barren fig tree, causing it to wither and die, Yeshua was pronouncing His coming judgment of Israel and demonstrating His power to carry it out. It also teaches the principle that religious profession and observance are not enough to guarantee salvation, unless there is the fruit of genuine salvation evidenced in the life of the person. James would later echo this truth when he wrote that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). The lesson of the fig tree is that we should bear spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), not just give an appearance of religiosity. God judges fruitlessness, and expects that those who have a relationship with Him will “bear much fruit” (John 15:5-8).

Yeshua then applied the lesson to His disciples, not as fig trees but as those endowered with His power over the fig tree, who were to judge the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Then He declared their authority even over the mountain on which Jerusalem was situated, the mountain on which the temple stood, and the Sanhedrin deliberated. “truly I say unto you” With great solemnity He seeks to impress upon them a truth which would be of the greatest import to them, when they went forth, as His apostles, to establish and spread His kingdom—that an unfaltering faith in God would overcome all difficulties. “shall say unto this mountain” they have authority to speak even to the whole Jewish religious system as represented by this mountain they were focused on as they walked back to Jerusalem. The idiom of uprooting a mountain was familiar in the schools of the Jews. In Rabbinic usage the “uprooter of mountains” (ʿōqēr hārîm) is the sage who overcomes the obstacles and objections of those he is contending with. Those teachers among the Jews that were more eminent for the profoundness of their learning, or the splendour of their virtues, were described as, “He is a rooter up or remover of mountains.” They called Rabbah Bar Nachmani, A rooter up of mountains, because he had a piercing judgment (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb). In b. Sanhedrin 24a it states: One who saw Resh Lakish in the Beth-Hamidrash [engaged in debate in the Temple] would think that he was uprooting mountains and grinding them against each other!
And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” – their victory over the religious authorities in establishing the kingdom of God in Israel, and the nations, would be both through miraculous signs in answer to their prayers and in the Holy Spirit inspired wisdom of their speech (for example see Acts 4).

Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him” Many would come against the apostles when they proclaimed the kingdom of God in word and deed, but they were not to harbor bitter feelings against them but rather forgive them, bless those who cursed them and pray for their persecutors. The power in answering their prayers was to be used in loving people, not seeking revenge for wrongs done.

Now when He entered the Temple, the ruling kohanim (priests) and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?”
Yeshua replied to them, “I also will ask you one question. If you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things.  John’s immersion, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”
They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd, for all hold up John as a prophet.” So answering Yeshua, they said, “We don’t know.”
Then He said to them, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.”
Matthew 23:23-27 TLV

Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, and began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?”
And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.”
And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the crowd, for everyone was regarding John to have been a real prophet. And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Mark 11:27-33 LSB

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to Him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” 
He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” 
And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 
So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Luke 20:1-8 ESV

By what authority are You doing these things?” They evidently wished to bring Him to account for His act of the day before, and for His assumption to teach as a Rabbi, without any license from the Schools of Hillel (Beit Hillel) or Shammai (Beit Shammai), which was contrary to the established rule. The same question had been put to Him three years before and by the same persons (John 2:18). Both John and Jesus were loved by the Jewish people but treated with suspicion by the Jewish authorities.

“Now what do you think? A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’ 
 The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went. 
The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ and didn’t go.  Which of the two did the will of the father?”
“The first,” they said.
Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God.  For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and even after you saw this, you had no change of heart to believe him.”
Matthew 21:28-32 TLV

In His rabbinic style, Yeshua starts this parable with a question, drawing His audience in to give their opinion.  The religious leaders are quick to show they know the correct answer to this question – it is the man who obeys God, not just the one who promises to, that does His will. They knew what was required. They thought they were doing what was required with their careful attention to their purification rites and all the Jewish customs. Yeshua, however, had a different standard by which they were measured – believing John and repenting at his call. Even the worst of sinners had responded to John’s message of repentance and directing people to the Lamb of God, but they had not as was evidenced by their continued rejection of His kingdom authority.

 “Listen to another parable. There was a master of a household who planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey.   Matthew 21:33 TLV

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.” Mark 12:1 ESV

And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. Luke 20:9 LSB

This landowner did not just buy an existing vineyardHe planted and cultivated one himself, personally investing his time, thoughtful attention, finances, and energy. He devoted himself to his vineyard and spared no detail, providing everything it needed to be productive.  He put a wall around it to protect it from wild animals. He dug a wine press in it, and he built a tower to defend it from thieves. Once these things were completed, it was time to wait for its vines to produce its harvest of grapes and wine. It is typical for newly planted grapevines to take three years to begin to produce.

Using the symbolism of a vineyard would have immediately brough to mind Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:7-15 for His Jewish audience here in the temple, both of which depict God as the planter and the vineyard as unfaithful Israel.

Isaiah 5:1-7
Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watch-tower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
righteousness,
but heard a cry!

Psalm 80:7-15
7
 Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches;
11 it sent out its branches to the sea,
and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts;
look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15   the stock that your right hand planted.

Yeshua added another component to the imagery – tenant farmers who were to tend and protect the vineyard until it was ready to produce and then render to God what was His from that produce. These were representative of the Jewish leadership who were even now confronting Him and denying His authority in His Father’s house.

“Now when fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.” Matthew 21:35 TLV

“When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.” Mark 12:2 ESV

“And at the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard.” Luke 20:10 LSB

Thus far, everything Yeshua has shared in His parable has matched expectations. It was not unusual for landowners to be away tending other matters as their workers tended their farms or vineyards under the terms of a lease agreement. And if they were away during harvest-time it would be typical for them to send someone to receive his produce. But what follows in the parable is unexpected and most unusual. It is a severe and deliberate breach of contract. These very ones who were proclaiming most loudly the need to obey every aspect of Torah were at the same time committing the most heinous breach of God’s covenant with them.

 “But grabbing his servants, the tenants beat up one, killed another, and stoned still another.  Again the master sent other servants, even more than the first, and they did the same thing to them.  Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
“But when the tenants saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’  So grabbing him, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.   Therefore when the master of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
“He will bring those miserable men to a miserable end,” they said to Him, “and will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the fruits in their seasons.”  
Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures?
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
     this has become the chief cornerstone.
This came from Adonai,
     and it is marvelous in our eyes.’
Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits. Whoever falls on this stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him.”
Matthew 21:35-44 TLV

“And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully.  And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed.  He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’  
But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’  And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.  
What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.  Have you not read this Scripture:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
     has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
     and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Mark 12:3-11 ESV

“But the vine-growers sent him away empty-handed having beaten him. And he proceeded to send another slave; and when they beat him also and treated him shamefully, they sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out.
Now the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’
But when the vine-growers saw him, they were reasoning with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.”

When they heard this, they said, “May it never be!”
But when Jesus looked at them, He said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”
Luke 20:11-18 LSB

This was a harsh judgment Yeshua was pronouncing on His accusers. And yet, He also included great hope for them, and for all who would acknowledge what God was doing as He quoted from Psalm 118, which was used as an entrance liturgy to the Temple during the festival of Passover and so was on everyone’s mind at this time of year. This Psalm proclaims God’s deliverance from Egypt and, later on, from the Exile, then prophesies that God’s ultimate deliverance and foundation of the kingdom of heaven (the chief cornerstone) would be rejected by those who considered themselves to be builders of Judaism.

Psalm 118 was a liturgical script, complete with speaking parts for leaders and congregation. One can hear the jubilant call and response in 118:2-4: “Let Israel say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’ Let those who fear the LORD say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’” With this Psalm on their lips, the priests and people processed into the Temple. The approach to the Temple culminates in verse 19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness” and the condition for entrance is given in verse 20, “The righteous shall enter through it.”  The people express their faith that since God has saved them in the past, He can be trusted in the future (verse 25). Then the festival procession proceeds up to the altar, to adorn it with signs of victory (verse 27).

Psalm 118
1 Praise (Heb. hodu, Or Give thanks toAdonai, for He is good.
For His lovingkindness endures forever.
O let Israel say:
For His lovingkindness endures forever.
O let the house of Aaron say:

For His lovingkindness endures forever.
O let those who fear Adonai say:
For His lovingkindness endures forever.

5 Out of a tight place I called on Adonai—
Adonai answered me with a spacious place.
Adonai is for me—I will not fear!
What can man do to me?
Adonai is for me, as my helper.
I will see the downfall of those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in Adonai
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in Adonai
than to trust in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me—
in the Name of Adonai I cut them off.
11 They surrounded me, yes, all around me—
in the Name of Adonai I cut them off.
12 They swarmed around me like bees—
they were extinguished like burning thorns—
in the Name of Adonai I cut them off.
13 You pushed me hard to make me fall,
but Adonai helped me.

14 Adonai is my strength and song,
and He has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
are in the tents of the righteous:
    “Adonai’s right hand is mighty!
16 Adonai’s right hand is lifted high!
    Adonai’s right hand is mighty!”

17 I will not die, but live,
and proclaim what Adonai has done!
18 Adonai has chastened me hard,
but has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them and praise Adonai.
20 This is the gate of Adonai—
the righteous will enter through it.
21 I give You thanks, because You have answered me
and have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone.

23 It is from Adonai:
it is marvelous in our eyes!

24 This is the day that Adonai has made!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

25 Hoshia-na! Please, Adonai, save now!
We beseech You, Adonai, prosper us!
26 Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai—

Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Adonai.
We bless you from the House of Adonai.
27 Adonai is God, and He has given us light.

Join the festival with branches, up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I praise You.
You are my God—I exalt You!
29 Praise Adonai, for He is good,
for His lovingkindness endures forever.

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.  And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. Matthew 21:45-46 ESV

 They were trying to seize Yeshua, because they realized that He spoke the parable against them. But they feared the crowd, so they left Him and went away. Mark 12:12 TLV

And the scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, but they feared the people. For they understood that He spoke this parable against them. Luke 20:19 LSB

Yeshua again used parables in speaking to them: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son, but when he sent his slaves to summon the invited guests to the wedding, they refused to come. So he sent some more slaves, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, I’ve prepared my banquet, I’ve slaughtered my bulls and my fattened cattle, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’  
But they weren’t interested and went off, one to his farm, another to his business; and the rest grabbed his slaves, mistreated them and killed them. 
The king was furious and sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city.
 “Then he said to his slaves, ‘Well, the wedding feast is ready; but the ones who were invited didn’t deserve it.  So go out to the street-corners and invite to the banquet as many as you find.’  
The slaves went out into the streets, gathered all the people they could find, the bad along with the good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’
The man was speechless.  
Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, for many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14 CJB

In the culture of that day a wedding feast was inseparable from the wedding itself, which involved a week-long series of meals and festivities and was the highlight of all social life. Guests were invited to stay at the house of the groom’s parents for the entire occasion, and the father would make as elaborate provisions as he could afford. A royal wedding, such as the one featured in this parable, would be held in the palace and the celebration often lasted for several weeks with all the abundance of the kingdom.

The king sent his “servants” or “slaves” (plural) to invite the guests, implying that a great number had been invited. καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους, to invite the already invited. This second invitation seems to accord with Eastern custom (Esther 6:14). In the culture of the day it was customary first to invite the guests, and then at the time of the event give a final invitation to those who had accepted the first invitation indicating that they would attend. The first invitation was given to the people of Israel by all the prophets, from Moses through to Yohanan the Immerser. The Jews had accepted this invitation by entering into covenant through circumcision, so it was to them that Yeshua had now come and sent out first the twelve, and then the seventy, to invite them to the prepared banquet. Yeshua was the feast.

Instead of rejoicing that the time of the long-awaited banquet had arrived and leaving everything to partake in it they would continue on with daily life or actually attack those bringing the good news. Even though they knew that a royal invitation was equivalent to a royal command, they refused to acknowledge the king’s announcement, thus rejecting his authority – they had no fear of their king! This was utter rebellion, murderous rebellion as they attacked those sent to them from the king. There’s a warning that if the Jews reject Him Jerusalem will be burned down – even as the Romans were later to do in AD70 when Titus surrounded Jerusalem, broke through, plundered the temple and burned the city to the ground. And the invitation was extended to all those who were previously excluded, the Gentiles both good and bad. It was, however, not an unconditional invitation – for any who attended without first putting on their wedding garment of His righteousness would be bound and thrown out to the dark place of weeping and grinding teeth.

Then the P’rushim went away and put together a plan to trap Yeshua with his own words. Matthew 22:15 CJB

The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.  So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. Luke 20:19-20 ESV

They sent him some of their talmidim and some members of Herod’s party. They said, “Rabbi, we know that you tell the truth and really teach what God’s way is. You aren’t concerned with what other people think about you, since you pay no attention to a person’s status.  So tell us your opinion: does Torah permit paying taxes to the Roman Emperor or not?”  
Yeshua, however, knowing their malicious intent, said, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me?  Show me the coin used to pay the tax!”
They brought him a denarius;  and he asked them, “Whose name and picture are these?” 
“The Emperor’s,” they replied.
Yeshua said to them, “Nu, give the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor. And give to God what belongs to God!” 
On hearing this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Matthew 22:16-22 CJB

Then they send some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Yeshua in order to trap Him with a word. 
They come and say to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are honest, and what others think doesn’t concern You. You don’t look at men’s appearance, but teach the way of God according to the truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?  Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?”
But Yeshua saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius so I may see it.”
They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they said to Him.
Then Yeshua said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were completely amazed at Him.

Mark 12:13-17 TLV

So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God.  Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?”  
But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them,  “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” 
They said, “Caesar’s.” 
He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  
And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.
Luke 20:21-26 ESV

The P’rushim (Pharisees) sent some of their young talmidim (disciples) with supporters of the Herodian dynasty’s reign over Israel to try to trap Yeshua with a question that had no safe answer.

Herodians: Herod’s Idumaean grandfather had been forcibly converted to Judaism after the Hasmonean King, John Hyrcanus, conquered Idumea in 107 B.C. The Maccabean Revolt & Hasmonean Period (166 – 40 BC) – Renewal Blog His father, Antipater, was administratively gifted and politically astute such that the high priest Hyrcanus II depended on his advise during Roman political instability and after Julius Ceasar appointed Hyrcanus II as ethnarch (Greek for “ruler of the nation”) Antipater took control of virtually all matters of state . Antipater installed his sons as governors, Herod over Galilee and Phasael over Jerusalem. Herod’s brutal massacrer, without trial, of those engaged in resistance led to confrontation with the Sanhedrin. After Antipater was poisoned in 43 B.C. Herod and Phasael were each given the title of tetrarch by the Romans. In 40 B.C. the Parthians allied themselves with Antigonus II (Mattathias) the Hasmonean, who as the last of the Hasmonean princes had long been seeking to reassert Hasmonean rule over Judea. Once again Judea had a Hasmonean king, but Herod had escaped and set sail for Rome, where he persuaded the Senate to declare him king of Judea and provide him with an army to expel the Parthians from the province. In 37 B.C. Herod and the Roman army recaptured Jerusalem and beheaded Antigonus. Early in his reign, Herod also murdered all but two of the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and replaced them with religious leaders who would do his bidding, recalling from the Hellenistic diaspora several distinguished priestly families such as the Phabi, Kathros, and Boethus who were nurtured in Greco‑Roman culture as the new king of Judea sort to replace the Hasmonean aristocracy with one of his own. Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC) – Renewal Blog. Herod was determined to build a Herodian dynasty to rival the Hasmonean dynasty that he had replaced. Supporting Herod, and his dynasty, had been the way to advance, both politically and economically, in Jewish society.

Herod had died shortly after his killing of the innocents in Bethlehem and left the lion’s share of the kingdom; Idumaea, Judea and Samaria, and the title of Ethnarch (ruler of the people) to his son Herod Archelaus; Tetrarch (ruler over a fourth) of Galilee and Perea to his son Herod Antipas; and Tetrarch of the small regions of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanaea, and Panias in the northeast to his son Herod Philip. In 6 CE, Emperor Augustus had deposed Herod Archelaus, whose reign had been brutal and poorly administered, and converted his territory into the Roman province of Judaea – exerting direct Roman rule over the heart of Israel, including Jerusalem. It was now about 30 years since Herod had died and his dynasty lost control over Judea. The Sanhedrin, however, still contained members who had been appointed for their loyalty to Herod and members of the Herodian party, satellites of the tetrarch Antipas, royalists who hoped for a restoration of the Herodian monarchy over all Judea instead of direct Roman rule. Herodians were not a religious party but rather a political group concerned with the interests of the Herodian dynasty. They probably favoured the policies of Herod Antipas, who was tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (4 BC–AD 39), a strong promoter of Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) culture and had beheaded Yohanan the Immerser (John the Baptist).  Theologically, they would have included both Pharisees and Sadducees who preferred Herodian rule to direct Roman rule.  A significant number of the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin were from Beit Shammai. The Shammaites would not bow to Roman rule nor countenance any social intercourse with either the Romans or those who in any way worked with them (Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC) – Renewal Blog).

After the banishment of Herod Archelaus, the Roman procurator, Coponius, had decided to directly tax the Jews and this had been strongly protested by the P’rushim (Pharisees) ever since on the basis that it was against the Torah to have a foreigner rule over them.  Deuteronomy 17 provides God’s instructions for any king over Israel and begins with an injunction that the people were not to place a foreigner over themselves. P’rushim, particularly those of Beit Shammai, interpreted this as it being against Torah to pay taxes to any foreign power.

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.  The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.”  He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NIV

Thus, the vexed question of whether Torah permitted paying taxes to the Roman Emperor or not was both religious and political.  Surely the real Messiah would uphold the P’rushim‘s doctrine that it was contrary to Torah and lead a victorious revolt against the Romans, and if he were not the real Messiah would be crushed by the Romans and thereby no longer a threat to the status quo. Yeshua never let them set the agenda, but only did that which He saw His Father doing. He answered by re-shaping the whole debate: “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  

 That same day, some Tz’dukim came to him. They are the ones who say there is no such thing as resurrection, so they put to him a sh’eilah: “Rabbi, Moshe said, ‘If a man dies childless, his brother must marry his widow and have children to preserve the man’s family line.’ There were seven brothers. The first one married and then died; and since he had no children, he left his widow to his brother.  The same thing happened to the second brother, and the third, and finally to all seven.  After them all, the woman died.  Now in the Resurrection — of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all married her.”
Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God.  For in the Resurrection, neither men nor women will marry; rather, they will be like angels in heaven.  And as for whether the dead are resurrected, haven’t you read what God said to you,  I am the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov’ ? He is God not of the dead but of the living!”

When the crowds heard how he taught, they were astounded; Matthew 22:23-33 CJB

 Then Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came and began questioning Yeshua, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then his brother should take the widow and father children for his brother.’  There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and, when he died, left no offspring.  And the second took her and died, leaving no offspring, and the third likewise.  Now the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died, too.  In the resurrection, when they rise up, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”
Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God?  For when they rise up from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  But concerning the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush? How God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  He’s not the God of the dead, but of the living. You have gone far astray!”
Mark 12:18-27 TLV

Now some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Him, and they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he is childless, his brother should marry the wife and raise up seed for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; and the first married a wife and died childless, and the second31 and the third married her; and in the same way, all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died also. Therefore, this woman—in the resurrection—whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as a wife.”
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. For they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.”
And some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.”
Luke 20:27-39 LSB

Tz’dukim / Sadducees came mostly from the priestly aristocracy and upper classes.  They were open to Hellenism and closed to the Oral Torah which the P’rushim considered essential rules for everyday Jewish life.  They generally did not accept the doctrine of the resurrection or the immortality of the soul, and rejected the divine inspiration of the Nev’im (Prophets) and K’tuvim (Writings) in the TaNaKh (our Old Testament).  Sadducees generally centered their interests in political life, of which they were the chief rulers before the destruction of the Second Temple, where their power had resided. Most of the High Priests were Sadducees and they also had a strong role in the Sanhedrin.  Instead of sharing the P’rushim‘s (Pharisees’) messianic  hopes they took the people’s destiny onto their own hands, fighting or negotiating with the Roman authorities as they thought best, while seeking their own temporal welfare and worldly success. 

These Tz’dukim (Sadducies) were trying to establish their argument for a general principal on a very rare, extreme and unlikely case. Yeshua answers that, in founding upon Deuteronomy 25:5 the denial of the resurrection, which their question implies, they are mistaken, and that in a twofold respect:
(1) they do not understand the Scriptures, i.e. they fail to see how the reality of eternal life actually underlies many a scriptural utterance; and
(2) they do not sufficiently realize the extent of the power of God, that He is the resurrection and life.
Although there are many verses from different parts of the TaNaKh that Yeshua could have used to prove resurrection, He chose one from the Torah (which the Sadducees believed possessed supreme authority) and quoted Exodus 3:6. His opponents had cited a passage from Torah; with a passage from Torah Yeshua answers them, showing that if they just believed the scriptures they said they believed they would have no argument with Him.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:34-40 ESV

One of the Torah scholars came and heard them debating. Seeing that Yeshua had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is first of all?”
Yeshua answered, “The first is, ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’   The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other!   And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
  Mark 12:28-34a TLV

Yeshua took these from the following Torah scriptures:

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” 
They said to him, “The son of David.” 
He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
     until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 
And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask Him any more questions.
Matthew 22:41-46 ESV

And no one dared any longer to question Him.
While Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, He said, “How is it that the Torah scholars say that the Messiah is Ben-David? David himself, through the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said,
‘Adonai said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’
If David himself calls Him ‘Lord,’ in what way is He his son?”
And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight.
Mark 12:34b-37 TLV

For they no longer dared to ask him any question.
But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
  until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
David thus calls him Lord, so how is He his son?”
Luke 20: 40-44 ESV

Yeshua challenged them with one of David’s prophetic psalms, Psalm 110:

 The Lord says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Lord sends forth from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day of your power,
    in holy garments;

from the womb of the morning,
    the dew of your youth will be yours.
The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
    after the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
    filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
    over the wide earth.
 He will drink from the brook by the way;
    therefore he will lift up his head.

In this Psalm Yeshua is described as king descended from David, and Lord over David, and priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (a theme the writer of Hebrews would later pick up on – Heb. 5:6106:207:1721.) He is so much more than the pharisees comprehended when they thought of Messiah.

In His teaching He said, “Watch out for the Torah scholars, who like to walk around in long robes. They like greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at feasts. They devour widows’ houses and make long prayers as a show. These men will receive greater condemnation!”
Mark 12: 38-40 TLV

And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Luke 20:45-47

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,  “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.  They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.  
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.  Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.  The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Seven Woes

You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?  So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.  Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?  
Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Matthew 23:1-36 ESV

His detractors had disengaged, frustrated by the way He “moved mountains(ʿōqēr hārîm) as an eminent sage whose profoundness of learning and splendour of virtue overcome all the obstacles and objections of those who tried to contend with Him. None of them had been able to trap Him in His words. Now He turned to His disciples and addressed the crowd for the last time, giving a farewell address that returned to the theme of the Parable of the Vineyard He had shared with them that morning. 

He sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot. Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny.  Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box!  For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.”
Mark 12:41-44 TLV

Then Yeshua looked up and saw the rich dropping their gifts into the treasury box. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two small copper coins.  And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all the rest. For all these put in their gifts from their surplus. But she, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 TLV

Yeshua was now in the treasury, that part of the women’s court where the trumpet-shaped brazen chests (שׁוֹפָרוֹת) were placed for receiving the offerings of those who came to worship. Each of these thirteen chests were fixed to the pillars of the portico which surrounded the court and had an inscription on them signifying for what use the offerings put into them were destined. Here Yeshua drew attention away from those who considered themselves important as His final discourse in the temple focused instead on someone considered of little consequence – a poor widow. What is important to man is of little regard to God, and what God sees as noteworthy was despised by man because we cannot see it – the attitudes of the heart.

Reference List

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12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/.
13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm.
14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday).
15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm.
16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm.
17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#.
18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131.
19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html.
20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/.
21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/.
22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html.
23. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week.
24. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1.
25. Chein, Rochel. What was the purpose of “keeping” the Paschal lamb for four days? Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/657692/jewish/What-was-the-purpose-of-keeping-the-Paschal-lamb-for-four-days.htm.
26. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb.
27. Easton, M.G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Bethany. Bible Study Tools. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bethany/.
28. . ANCIENT JEWS & CLEANLINESS. Early Church History. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://earlychurchhistory.org/medicine/ancient-jews-cleanliness/.
29. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era.
30. Encyclopaedia Judaica. Israel Environment & Nature: Fig. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] [Cited: October 27th, 2023.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/fig.
31. Bible Focus. The Fig Tree and Israel. Bible Focus staff. [Online] May 12th, 2007. https://biblefocus.net/consider/v15FigTree/Fig_Tree_and_Israel.html.
32. Andrews, Samuel J. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth – Part VI – Last Teaching in the Temple. Bible Study Tools. [Online] 1904. [Cited: November 6th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/andrews-the-life-of-our-lord-upon-the-earth/part-vi/lasxt-teaching-in-the-temple.html.
33. What Does It Mean to Cast a Mountain into the Sea? Another Look at Mark 11:23. Ortlund, Dane C. 2, s.l. : Bulletin for Biblical Research, 2018, Vol. 28. https://doi.org/10.5325/bullbiblrese.28.2.0218.
34. Hort, Fenton John Anthony. Mark 11 – Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: November 6th, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/cambridge/mark/11.htm.
35. Roberts, Alastair. The Politics of the Vineyard of Israel—Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:7-15; Matthew 21:33-46. Political Theology. [Online] October 2nd, 2017. https://politicaltheology.com/the-politics-of-israel-the-vineyard-isaiah-51-7-psalm-807-15-matthew-2133-46-alastair-roberts/.
36. The Bible Says Commentary author. Matthew 21:33-41 meaning. The Bible Says. [Online] [Cited: November 7th, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/matt/matt-21/matthew-2133-41/.
37. Koester, Nancy. Commentary on Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24. Working Preacher. [Online] April 12th, 2009. https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/resurrection-of-our-lord-2/commentary-on-psalm-1181-2-14-24-3#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThis%20is%20the%20day%20that,later%20on%2C%20from%20the%2
38. Padfield, David. There Is Still Room – An Indepth Examination of the Parable of he Wedding Feast . Padfield. [Online] 2021. [Cited: November 8th, 2023.] https://www.padfield.com/acrobat/sermons/there-is-still-room.pdf.
39. Gafni, Professor Isaiah. Herod the Great – Herod’s rule accomplished a political and social revolution. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: November 12th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/herod-the-great/.
40. Schiffman, Lawrence H. The Land of Israel Under Roman Rule – Judea becomes a Roman tributary. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: November 12th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/palestine-under-roman-rule/.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* How do you understand Jesus’ words “if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.“?
* How did Jesus respond to the accusations that He lacked the authority to do what He was doing?
* What was the sign of the Jew’s covenant with God and how were their leaders planning a most heinous breach of God’s covenant with them?
* What do we learn from the parable of the wedding feast?
* Explain the significance of the Psalms that Jesus’ quoted from when answering His accusers.