Sep 1 2007
Question: I have read most of your articles over the years. Perhaps I missed something, but if Christ was crucified on Thursday, then the high Sabbath that began the 7-day feast of the Passover would have been followed immediately by the weekly Sabbath. When could the Jewish leaders have asked Pilate to seal the tomb...and the women have bought linens and spices to wrap His body...without violating either of these back-to-back Sabbaths?
Response: Here's the picture. The Jewish day begins with night right after sunset , not with morning right after sunrise . No leaven may be in the home during the seven-day feast of unleavened bread that begins with the Passover supper. All leaven must be removed beforehand. This is done during a time called "the days of unleavened bread" (Acts:12:3).
The final 24 hours just before the Passover supper are called "the day of unleavened bread"--the day (Nisan 14) "when the Passover [lamb] must be killed" (Lk 22:7) by "the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel...in the evening " (just before sunset-Ex 12:6) to be eaten "that night [just after sunset] roast with fire" (v. 8).
Of course, Christ's disciples would need all of Nisan 14 (which began with night just after sunset) to prepare the "Upper Room" for the Passover supper the following night, removing all leaven and preparing a lamb slain just before the next sunset, to be eaten that night (not knowing that Christ would have been crucified). It was during the night that preceded the slaying of the lamb the next afternoon that Christ was betrayed: "the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread..." (1 Cor:11:23). The "last supper," from which Judas went out to betray Christ, was not the Passover supper. The next day, the rabbis had not yet eaten the Passover (Jn:18:28).
Surely the rabbis would have obtained permission to guard the tomb immediately after Pilate's death sentence. They had no time to lose because of these two Sabbaths approaching. The women would have procured the spices and linens immediately for the same reason before the two pending Sabbaths.