Saturday, April 16, 2022

Why did Jesus die at Passover?

John mentioned three different Passovers in his Gospel. Many of Jesus' teachings were centred on the celebration of Passover. The day before Passover or Passover Eve seems significant in John as it is highlighted throughout in the final hours of Jesus' life. Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9am and died at 3pm at the time of the daily evening sacrifice of a lamb in the temple courts. Why did Jesus hang on the cross for 6 hours? Actually death by crucifixion could take days as it is the severest of all forms of capital punishment reserved for rebels, murderers, and those who commit treason against the Roman State. It is extremely painful form of suffering and death where one fights for air into the lungs and blood dripped from nailed hands and feet. But Jesus died after 6 hours on the cross.

Long enough that the Son of God and Son of Man really suffered and it was relatively brief because Jesus had taken a terrible beating the night before and crowned with thorns which means he lost a great amount of blood even before going up to the hill of Calvary. Jesus was even too weak to carry the cross when he was paraded in the streets of Jerusalem on the way of his death. Passover is the first great Feast in the Hebrew calendar. Lambs are slaughtered on Passover Eve on 14th Nisan. The next day is Passover and also the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This year our Good Friday coincides with 14th Nisan but next year 2023 14 Nisan falls two days before Good Friday. That is another history lesson behind this difference in dates. The main point for John was that Jesus was the paschal lamb slaughtered to deliver Israel, not from Egypt but from their sins and broken relationship with God. The curtains of the Temple were torn from top to bottom signaling that Israel's relationship with God is restored. They can access God's holy presence by the blood of the Lamb, the Son of God. 

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