The week that changed history

THE WEEK THAT CHANGED HISTORY

(Used the New King James Bible Translation)

(Written by Dr Christo Nel and translated by Marjaan Groenewald, Scroll down for the downloadable version.)

Take 2 minutes... To reflect on this week of the 6th to the 12th of April 32 AD and tell yourself:
This is how much He loved me!
This week, we as followers of Jesus, have the opportunity once again to reflect on the key events of our faith.  The following is my explanation of the events during the week of His crucifixion.
Palm Sunday
During this particular week the new King of planet Earth would be crucified and rise again so the world could know for certain that He is the King.  For this reason, it is of importance that the events during this particular week starts where Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, as described in Luke 19 and John 12:12 NKJ.  This was the fulfilment of prophecies spoken centuries before in scriptures like Zech. 9:9 and Dan. 9:25-27.  This was the 10th day of the first month of that year.  According to Exodus 12, the Passover Lamb had to be chosen on the 10th day of the first month of the year.  During the days of Jesus only lambs from Bethlehem were deemed suitable as Passover lambs.

Therefore, on this specific Sunday, a lamb born in the district of Bethlehem was chosen and brought into Jerusalem from the mount of Olives, through the "sheep gate".  Thus, exactly the same road by which Jesus came into Jerusalem during His triumphal entry on this particular Sunday!

As He entered the city, the people shouted:  Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the kingdom of our Father David!  With great acclamation Jesus was appointed by the multitude as the promised Messiah and the people chose Him as their Lamb for this particular Passover.  The Lamb had to be examined first by the spiritual leaders, because the Torah teaches that it had to be perfect and without blemish for it to be suitable for sacrifice as a Passover Lamb.  That is why we read how Jesus, after His entry into Jerusalem, went first into the temple to teach there.  While He was there, the Pharisees, Sadducees and other Scribes came to Him with many difficult questions trying to expose him and prove Him a liar.  But they could not find any fault in Him.

Dating:  6 April 32 AD - based on the old Julius Calendar (or so-called "moon calendar"), and not the current Gregorian Calendar (in use since 1582, based on the movement of the sun).

Monday

According to the instructions in the Torah, every form of evil had to be removed from the house in preparation for the Passover later in the week.  For this reason, every Jewish mother used a candle to search through her house for any form of evil or impurity.

Therefore, it is remarkable that Jesus went to the temple on this specific Monday to drive out all the money-changers (Luk. 19:45 NKJ) to remove the “evil” from “the house of His Father” in this way.

Tuesday evening

Because Jesus and his disciples were not in Jerusalem, but in Bethany, a small town outside Jerusalem, they were allowed to start with the preparations, the previous day. (See Luk. 22:14 NKJ; Mat. 25:17-35; Joh. 13:36-38).

Later that evening, Jesus was taken captive in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the road from Bethany to Jerusalem.

Early on Wednesday morning at 06:00

According to the Jewish festival Calendar, it was “the day of preparation”, with a view to the Passover meal which would take place later that evening. 

Simultaneous to this, Jesus is judged and sentenced by Pilate (Joh. 19:13-16).  The Lamb, without blemish, to be slaughtered and die in our place, was chosen.  Jesus, our perfect Passover Lamb.  Derek Prince said that our most powerful declaration about our salvation can be the following:  I am delivered from the hands of the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb!

Where we confess this out loud in faith, things must change!

While we are together to call these events into remembrance, we must remind each other of the wonderful, complete salvation Jesus brought about for us on the cross, as the final Passover Lamb.

An extremely important fact

It is very important to remember that the week during which Passover was observed, could sometimes have 2 Sabbaths if the Passover occurred during the middle of the week.  If this was the case, they had a special Sabbath the day after the Passover meal was observed the previous night. (In the Jewish festival calendar the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” was observed as a Sabbath).  Then, later during this particular week, the ordinary Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, was kept.

The week when Jesus had to be crucified, was such a week where the Passover observance was during the week and thus there were two Sabbaths during this particular week.

Let us arrange the events chronologically considering this:

The Crucifixion – Wednesday morning at 09:00

Concurrently with the events where the High Priest bound the chosen lamb to the horns of the altar, on the 14th day of the Jewish month, Nissan, Jesus is nailed to the cross that morning at nine o’clock.

Wednesday afternoon at 15:00

It was dark for three hours from 12h00 to 15h00 on this particular Wednesday (Mat. 27:45 NKJ).  After 3 hours of “hell”, He could say: “It is finished”.

Everything that was necessary to enable the holy God to forgive people their sins, was fulfilled.  The victory was won and therefore He could give over His life to the Father.

Three o’clock that afternoon, at the same time when the lamb’s throat was slit and it was slaughtered for the Passover later that evening (Ex. 12:6), Jesus died on the cross.

The Lamb brought the perfect sacrifice and thus fulfilled the Old Law completely.  So, with His death, a New Testament with a New Covenant and Law came into being.

Dating:  9 Apr. 32 AD

Late afternoon (before 18:00), Wednesday

Jesus’ body is taken from the cross and buried in the tomb (Mark 15:42). (Do not be deceived by the new Afrikaans Translation of “It was Friday”.  This is not in the original Greek.  Read the 1953 Afrikaans Translation or in the English Translations what is written in the original Greek.)

Three days in the grave

According to Scripture and prophecies, Jesus would be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.  Thus, He was there on that special Sabbath (or first day of the “Feast of Unleavened Bread”) which extended from the Wednesday evening 18:00 until Thursday evening 18:00); followed by the Friday (which extended from the Thursday evening 18h00 until the Friday evening 18h00); and also during the ordinary Jewish Sabbath (from the Friday evening 18:00 until the Saturday evening 18:00).

Thus, three whole days and three whole nights, as He prophesied beforehand.

The Resurrection

During the Saturday night after 18:00, (at the beginning of the Jewish first day of the week), Jesus rose from the dead after three days in the grave.  We don’t know at precisely what time it happened that night.

Dating:  12 Apr. 32 AD

Jesus himself prophesied that He would be crucified, die, spend three days in the grave, and then rise again.

Many other prophecies were also fulfilled, like Hos. 6:1,2; and the sign of Jonah (Mat. 12:40).  That Saturday night, according to the Jewish Calendar, the priest waved the “first-fruit” of the harvest before God, dedicating the new harvest to God.

For this reason, the resurrected Jesus is also called the “Firstborn” in 1 Cor. 15:20-23.

Early Sunday morning

Mary Magdalene as well as the other Mary, and later some of the other disciples, discovered that Jesus rose again like He said it would happen (Mat. 28:1 NKJ).

We truly follow and serve a living, risen Lord! (1 Cor. 15)

Hear how Paul testifies about the meaning of this concerning the Gospel, or Good News, which changed our lives, in 1 Cor. 15:1-7: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.”

There can be no doubt about this:  The Lord we worship and follow, truly was risen and He is alive.  The new King of Planet Earth, is a living, risen Lord!

Dr Christo Nel