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All Scripture citations are to the King James (Authorised) Version


Question: The day on which Jesus was crucified is identified in the Gospels as the ‛day of preparation’. What is it?


Answer: Several verses use this expression:


Matthew 27: 62: ‛Now the next day, that followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate.’


Mark 15: 42: ‛And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, . . .’


Luke 23: 54: ‛And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.’

John 19: 14, 31 and 42: ‛And it was the preparation of the passover . . . . The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day) . . . . There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.’


The lamb of the Jewish Passover was customarily killed on Nisan 14 (Exodus 12: 5, 6; Esther 3: 7). Following that day, there began seven days of feasting, called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12: 14-16).


Jesus is the antitypical Passover Lamb.


In the early part of Friday, Nisan 14 (that is, after sunset on the 13th), Jesus ate the traditional Passover meal with His disciples. After that, He instituted a special meal, which has come to be known as the Last Supper or the Memorial Supper. Immediately after this, Jesus went to Gethsemane with His disciples, was arrested, passed back and forth between Pilate and Herod, and sentenced to death by crucifixion. All these events occurred within the Friday.


The following day was Nisan 15, Saturday, the Jewish weekly sabbath. The sabbath was traditionally a holy day; on this occasion it was especially holy as it began the week of the Passover feast.


Nisan 14 then, was the day of preparation for this feast.



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