The streets of Jerusalem were bustling with great joy and expectation for the upcoming Passover. Women were preparing the homes; men were preparing their lambs. Life seemed great even though the Roman guard was constantly watching their every move.

Judas Iscariot had become restless. He longed to see Jesus set up as the new king of Israel and to see the Roman kingdom fall at the feet of the Jews. But Jesus and all His, “I am going to die,” talk did not sit well with Him. Jesus made no sense. Maybe He was not the Messiah after all.

It was now after sunset on 27th April 28, or the 14th day of Aviv. The barley harvest was ripe, and the feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover was at hand. As Jesus and His disciples came into the city one of them asked Him where He would like to celebrate the Passover. They already had a lamb, a cute little thing that pounced around Jesus in delight. “Go into the city and there you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him to the house he enters and then ask the owner where we may spend the Passover.

Jesus pensively watched the city folk as they hurried about their business. Some noticed Him and greeted as they passed by. A few stopped and asked Him to heal them or one of their loved ones and others just walked right on by. How unaware they were that their God was in their midst and would offer them the greatest gift He could, eternal life.

His heart broke as He looked upon Jerusalem. His own people, whom He had walked with for so many years, through so many trials and tribulations, joys and victories, did not recognise Him. No matter what He did the veil that covered their eyes kept them in darkness. He sighed. Then He lifted up His eyes and smiled, knowing that soon, very soon, this veil of death would be removed and then His people and the Gentiles would all come to know Him and could call Him by His name.

Matthew watched Jesus. What was going on in His mind. His countenance changed so many times. I will ask Him later he thought as He watched this unspeakable glow of delight come across Jesus’ face. After all this time he still could not figure out what went on in Jesus mind.

The disciples came back to fetch Jesus and show Him to the upper room. His host was delighted to have Jesus in his home and would prepare the most delightful meal for Him. He hurried off as he gave instructions to his servants. In no time there were servants with water for washing, towels and toiletries, fresh fruit, nuts and dates were beautifully arranged on the dining table.

Wine goblets were placed on the table along with serving plates. Jars of water and wine were neatly set out on the table with white serviettes. The colourful embroidered cushions were puffed up and placed around the table for the comfort of their very important guests. Jesus smiled and hugged the servants as they passed Him by. He jumped in front of one of them blocking the entrance. The poor girl giggled as she tried to move past Him.

The meal was ready at around 7:30pm. It was winter and very cold out. But inside it was warm and cosy. The fireplace was ablaze with glowing coals of amber as they filled the air with their warmth. There, He did it again. What thought crossed Jesus mind as He looked into the fire. For just a moment Mathew could have sworn He saw terror move across His face.

As they settled down around the dining table, Jesus gave thanks to the Father for the bounty of His provision. Filled with joy they gave explosive praise to YHWH, their God and Father. They reclined at the table and gladly partook of its bounty.

He engaged with them about the bread and the wine which were His body and blood that He would offer up for them. Philip shook his head. He could not understand what on earth Jesus was talking about but decided not to say anything just in case the others thought he was stupid. However, he could not escape the eerie chill that crept up his spine every time Jesus spoke about dying.

“I have had a great desire to eat this meal with you all before I suffer …” Here we go again, talking about dying when we should be talking about conquering! The Messiah would come to conquer Rome and every other kingdom. Judah would reign with their king forever and ever. Isn’t this what all their kings, prophets, and teachers of the Law had said.

Jesus was lost in thought. Joining the conversation again He told them that one of them would betray Him. The air felt like it had been sucked out of the room.

He called a servant boy and asked him to bring him a bowl of water and a towel and to set it up in a corner of the room. The young lad ran out and did as Jesus requested. Jesus knelt down, just as the servant boy would have done, and one by one washed their feet. Tears flowed, both from the Lord and His disciples. Never had they encountered such a deep love from the Lord. They came undone. Peter, trying to be bold and in control, spoke up and asked for the Lord to clean all of Him not just his hands and feet. Jesus smiled and said, “Peter I have already sanctified you through My word and you are clean. All that still needs to be cleansed are your walk and your actions as you pass through this world. But not all of you are clean. One of you will betray me.” A shock wave of disbelief rippled through the air.

After a lot of hugs and kisses they again went to recline around the table. Never had they every heard any messages concerning a dead Messiah! Jesus made no sense. “… one of you are going to betray Me” Jesus had said again with sorrow in His voice. Shock and disbelief erupted from the disciples. Never, we will never betray you! Peter could be heard above them all. Jesus simply looked down and shook His head. A tear trickled down His cheek. He turned His head as He breathed in deeply to control His pain and wipe the tear away. “Help me Father,” He whispered.

As they ate, Peter leaned over and whispered in John’s ear, “Ask Him who it is that will betray Him.” John had been leaning against Jesus’ chest. He tilted his head and whispered to Jesus, “Master who is it?” “It is the one who dips his bread into the bowl with Me.” After a while Judas dipped his bread into the bowl at the same time as Jesus. Looking up Jesus beheld Satan waiting to enter his host. “Do what you are going to do quickly.” Satan entered Judas and left in haste. The disciples thought nothing of it as Jesus had sent Judas out to feed the poor many times.

Once Judas had left Jesus taught them many things about the coming kingdom of God. He spoke about the Truth and how they should treat one another. He joyfully shared about His coming glory and His going to a place that they could not come too. Peter protested and said He would follow Jesus anywhere. Jesus looked at Peter and simply told Him that before the night was over, he would have betrayed Him three times. “Never, Lord, never!” Peter protested.

Jesus discussed their provisions for their journeys, and about believing in Him. He taught about being in the Father and prayer; about heaven and not being afraid because the prince of this world was about to come. He said they would be offended with Him and that they would desert Him. If that was not bad enough, He spoke about being resurrected from the dead and meeting them again in Jerusalem in three days. He made no sense whatsoever. They had more questions than answers, but tomorrow was another day and they would ask Him to explain Himself further.

Peter argued with the Lord again saying that he would never betray the Lord. Jesus told Him a second time that he would do so before the night was over. Everyone joined in with Peter. How could the Lord say such a thing, none of them would ever betray him!

Jesus had the urge to pray.

It was late in the evening, but they were used to Jesus doing this and they eagerly obliged, even though they were tired. They were still trying to deal with their internal sorrow at the thought of someone betraying the Lord and their emotions were sapped. On the way to the garden of Gethsemane Jesus continued to teach His disciples many things. They entered the Garden and after finding a spot to rest Jesus instructed them to pray. “Pray for Me, for this is the hour of My suffering and My death.” No one answered even though they all had questions.

Taking Peter, James, and John He went a little deeper into the olive groves. He found a spot where He left them and went on a little further where He bent down to pray. Great waves of anguish flooded His soul as deep pain arose in His heart. He knew what lay before Him. He had known Satan from the beginning, and He knew the evil in the hearts of men. Every evil and dastardly deed conceptualised by man and demon bore down upon His being. The long-awaited battle for the souls of men was at hand.

Satan breathed his vile breath upon Jesus as he threatened to kill Him and that all the promises He had made to Adam and Eve way back in the Garden would never be fulfilled. Jesus did not answer, fuelling Satan’s confidence. Angels stood by and watched waiting for their Master’s command and they would pummel Satan and his horde from here to kingdom come. But no command came. They had to watch in abject horror as Satan terrorised the King of Glory.

It took all the Lord’s strength to submit to the tyranny of the wicked one. He sweated blood as He resisted the lies of the enemy and held on to the promises of the Father. With every thought and every emotion, He kept His eyes on the hope set before Him, which was our salvation from the tyranny of death. This was why He came. And He would fulfil His mission. He would conquer death, hell, and the grave. Satan would be stripped of all power and his throne of glory would be crushed forever. That which belonged to Adam, the sons of men, would be rightfully restored to them.

Jesus rose and went over to His disciples for some comfort and strength, but they were sleeping. Dripping in blood He shook them, amazed that they could not even stay awake for one hour. He left them alone to sleep for their hearts were heavy with sorrow. He continued to pray as He covenanted with the Father on behalf of humanity.

In the distance the loud clamour of people in a frenzy echoed up the Mount. Jesus rose. He walked over to His disciples and woke them up. “Come, the hour is at hand. I will now be handed over to the wicked one who will put me to death.”

Brandishing swords and staves, Judas led the maddening crowd with their priests and elders to arrest Jesus. Silencing the maddening crowd Judas approached Jesus and kissed Him. “You’re betraying Me with a kiss, Judas?” Jesus looked intently into his eyes. “Who are you looking for?” Jesus asked the crowd. In their frensy they had already forgotten who they were coming for. “Jesus of Nazareth,” they shouted. “I AM HE!” came Jesus’ loud affirmation. At the sound of his voice the entire crowd fell backwards to the ground.

As the crowd regained their composure Peter lunged forward and cut off Malchus’s ear. Put your sword away,” Jesus told Him as He picked up the ear and restored it to Malchus. “Is this not what the Father sent Me here for?” He turned and smiled at Peter.

The soldiers bound Jesus and led Him down the mountain to Annas, the father-in-law to the high priest, Caiaphas. It was midnight as they approached Annas’ home for their illegal inquisition. After some ranting and raving Annas had Jesus bound and sent Him to Caiaphas for further inquisition. Jesus never open His mouth to defend Himself until He faced Caiaphus.

Caiaphas ordered Him to tell them whether He was the Messiah, the Son of Elohim! Jesus replied, “Yes, I AM, and after this you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Almighty and coming in the clouds of glory!” Jesus glared at Caiaphas. In utter rage Caiaphas tore his robes and declared that they need no further proof that Jesus was a blasphemer and worthy of death. The crowd roared.

Peter sat outside the entrance to the courtyard of Caiaphas’s house. He had no idea where the other disciples had fled to. As he warmed himself by the fire a servant girl stared at him. “Aren’t you one of his disciples? Yes, yes, I’m sure you are.” “No! I don’t know him,” Peter spat in defiance. He left the fire and walked through the gate just to be confronted by another young maid who exclaimed, “You are one of His disciples!” “I am not!” he shouted.

As they continued to interrogate Jesus inside, Peter went back to warm himself at the fire. Bewildered and confused he stared absentmindedly into the fire. Just then someone in the crowd said that he is one of Jesus’ disciples as his accent gave him away. At this Peter again denied having known Him. By now the dawn was breaking on the horizon and a cock crowed. Anguish pierced his heart and he left the crowd with great sobs and tears streaming down his cheeks. He had denied the Lord. He looked over at Jesus who caught His eye. He could not look at the Lord and fled the scene.

Jesus, cold and tired continued to defend His teachings and that He was, is, and always will be the Son of God. Infuriating the high priest, the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees, and elders, they dragged Him off to Pilate. Blindfolded, beaten, and mocked, Jesus allowed them to do to Him as they pleased. With every sigh His breath released His life into His beloved creation. They spat on His face, beat Him with their fists, and slapped Him with their hands. They shouted, mocked and taunted Him.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the 28th April 28 BC, Jesus stood in the Hall of Hewn Stones on the Temple Mount. This very temple He declared would be pulled down and He would rebuild it in three days. Although blindfolded, Jesus could see the mighty temple and knew that its glory was about to come to an end and a new temple, a temple not made with hands, a heavenly temple, would arise in its place within three days. No more would God dwell in a temple made with hands. He would have a new temple, one which He would build in the hearts of all those who would believe in Him. Their finest creation would soon be birthed. Their sons and daughters, their holy dwelling place, would be their new home. Oh, what joy filled His heart and soul as He stood alone and gazed at the face of the Father.

Pilate awoke to the din of the crowd below his window. “What noise are these people making and why are they waking me up!” he shouted. A soldier bowed low and told him that the Jews were demanding his attention as they need him to convict a man for some or other crime. Irritated and cursing these Jews under his breath Pilate prepared to leave his bedroom. His wife warned him not to have anything to do with this as she had been warned in a dream. He pushed her aside and went out.

“What is the problem!” he demanded from Caiaphas, a little surprised to see him leading this blindfolded and badly beaten man. He ordered a soldier to have Jesus placed in the Judgment Hall. “He claims to be the king of the Jews,” Caiaphas replied as he bowed in honour before Pilate. Pilate went back into the Judgment Hall where Jesus stood and asked Him whether He was the king of the Jews. Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom was of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be delivered into the hands of these crooked religious leaders – so it should be obvious that this is not My kingdom!” “So, you are a king, then?” Pilate smirked. “You are the one calling Me a king – but this is the purpose for which I was born, and this is the reason I came into this world – so that I would bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice,” Jesus answered. Pilate, shaking his head, replied, “What is truth?” He turned his head and went back outside to the anxiously awaiting religious rulers.

Twice Pilate went out and delivered a not guilty verdict. The religious leaders became so fierce and accused Jesus of delivering His false message throughout all of Judea. When Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee, he smiled in relief and had Jesus sent to Herod. “Let Herod deal with this mess,” he thought.

Herod was so delighted to see Jesus and hoped that He would see Him perform a miracle. How long had He waited for this opportunity? But no matter how much he questioned Jesus, Jesus refused to answer. In anger Herod and his men of war belittled and mocked Jesus as they arrayed Him with a magnificent robe. When they had finished their mocking party, they sent Him back to Pilate. An in the strange twist of fate, two enemies became friends.

Pilate again stood before the crowd, together with Herod, and delivered another “not guilty” verdict. He asked whether he should release Him, but they cried for Death and not Life. Finally exasperated, Pilate handed Jesus over for them to scourge Jesus.

With glee and bloodthirst, the soldiers dragged Jesus of for scourging. With their carefully crafted whips of sharp bone and iron they tore into Jesus’ flesh. Blood poured out of the wound as His skin and muscled tore away and revealed His bones. Jesus cried in agony as His body swelled and disproportioned. With every cry He released His sound and proclaimed healing, salvation, and deliverance for humanity. Alone in His anguish He cried out for you and me.

They placed a crown of thorns upon His head, beat Him and punched Him in the face. They pulled His beard out, spat on Him, and mocked Him, ridiculing Him as the king of the Jews. They had no idea as to who they were abusing as His blood ran freely proclaiming their forgiveness. Many a man had died from the vicious torture of scourging long before they ever made it to the cross.

Weak, cold, tired, torn open, and filled with sorrow, they took Jesus back to Pilate. Again, Pilate questions Jesus and delivers another not guilty verdict. After the fourth not guilty verdict Pilate washed his hands and proclaimed that the guilt of Jesus death was upon the Jews and not on him. Then he brought Jesus before them and proclaimed, “Behold, the King of the Jews!”

The crowd cried in satanic hysteria, “Away with Him, crucify Him, crucify Him.” Pilate seethed as he relented and gave the order to crucify Him. The soldiers found Shimon and ordered him to carry the cross. They stripped Jesus of His purple robe and put His own garments back on Him. His body screamed in agony. The crowd roared with delight.

As He walked up the hill the women that had walked with Him and supported Him cried, mourned, and wailed. Jesus, knowing what lay ahead for the Jews, told them not to cry for Him but to cry for their sons and daughters. But they continued to follow Him, with great sobs of distress and grief.

On the hill of Golgotha, the place of the skull, they removed Jesus’ clothing, leaving Him naked and ashamed, as they nailed Him to the cross. The thud of the hammers echoed down the valley. Jesus breathed over His creation. He cried for His creation. He groaned inwardly for their deliverance. They offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He refused it.

It was now around 9am, the third hour of the day, when they posted the sign above His head declaring Him the King of the Jews. Two thieves hung on either side of Him. Soldiers cast lots among themselves for His garments. Spectators mocked. Soldiers jeered. Others cursed. Religious leaders gloated. Women cried. John wept.

“Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” The Father forgave.

The sky slowly darkened as the light of creation began breathing His last breaths. By noon it was dark as night and a fearful presence hung over the land. Outside the city the Passover lambs cried in death. Lanterns shone for the priest to continue the slaughter. People ran into their houses in terror. The smell of blood lay thick in the atmosphere. In fear and awe a thief asks Jesus to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. The other, afraid of dying, curses Him instead.

Jesus looked down and saw John trying to comfort Mary. His heart cried for His mother as He saw her anguish and felt her sorrow. “John, take her as your own mother, and Mary, take John as your own son.” They cried even more as Mary buried her head in John’s chest. Jesus held the women below Him close to His heart.

Fear gripped the soldiers and those standing before the cross. Torches gave some light. Suddenly Jesus cried out with a loud voice to the Father as He felt the Father and the Holy Spirit leave from His inner being. Alone in this world he took on Himself the penalties of sin and death. Someone ran to get Him a drink, but others prevented them wanting to see if God would save Him.

Around the ninth hour of the day, 3pm, Jesus breathed in the last of our sins. As He breathed out, He cried, “I thirst.” They offered Him wine vinegar on a sponge and lifted it to His lips. Once He had tasted the vinegar He cried out, “It is finished! Father into your hands I commit My spirit.” He breathed out His last breath.

At the same a mighty earthquake rumbled through Jerusalem and in the temple, where the high priest would have been ministering, the veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place tore apart from top to bottom. Can you imagine the terror Caiaphas and the other priests would have been experiencing?

Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea requested permission from Pilate to bury Jesus. They placed His body in a tomb in time to get out in the streets by the time the High Sabbath or Passover would begin. Can you imagine what the conversations would have been like at the dinner table that night?

The date for the Jewish Passover is timed by the cycles of the moon and the ripening of the barley harvest in the first month of their calendar called Aviv. Hence the dates differ every year. In the year that Jesus died the Passover began at 6pm Wednesday evening and ended at 5:59pm on Thursday. Another night and day would be from Thursday 6pm to Friday 6pm and the third day from 6pm Friday to 6pm on Saturday. This would give you exactly 3 days and three nights that Jesus was in the grave, just as He said.

A Jewish day and night always start at 6pm in the evening and end at 6pm the following day. The day of Passover is called a High Sabbath, which is different to the normal Sabbath which starts at 6pm on a Friday and ends at 6pm on a Saturday. On the Friday after the High Sabbath but before the normal Sabbath the women would have gone to buy spices to embalm Jesus’ body.

When they came to the tomb early in the morning of the first day, being Sunday, they found that Jesus had already risen. We do not know what time He rose from the dead, but it would have been after 6pm on Saturday, which would have been the start of the first day of the week.

I hope this little journey blessed you as you consider the events that would have happened on this day when our blessed Lord and Saviour gave His life for the world.

Lots of love

Yvonne

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