Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John; we’re in John:19:31, but we’ve been going at this gospel for a long time.
Dave: How long exactly? Do you remember?
Tom: I don’t—actually, I can’t even tell you. But why, Dave? Why pick the Gospel of John? Why spend this much time on it? We’ve mentioned it in the past, but I think it bears repeating.
Dave: Well, there are four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You get different perspectives and if, you know, a person could only read one of them, I certainly would recommend the Gospel of John because it contains more of the teachings of Jesus, and not just the healings, as an example, although there are His teachings in other Gospels. But you get some deeper insights here into the gospel—into what it means to become a real Christian, so I would certainly recommend it.
Tom: And, we don’t know where our listeners are in this. The name of the program is Search the Scriptures Daily, and that’s our encouragement, our exhortation, to get into the Word of God. We’re privileged, we’re thrilled, that we can participate in this medium and encourage people to that end. But if they don’t do it, if they’re just listening to us, it’s counterproductive to everything we say and do here, I think.
Dave: So we are in the Gospel of John:19:31: “The Jews, therefore, because it was the preparation, that the body should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, for that Sabbath day was an high day, sought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
The preparation day—let’s start with that. What does that mean? What was the preparation?
Dave: Well, they’re preparing the lamb—verse 14 says it was the preparation of the Passover. So we know what the preparation was. The lambs are being slain—this is in commemoration of the Passover, the deliverance from Egypt—and, clearly, the rabbis had not yet…and, Tom, here again, how do we avoid it? We get into a controversy, and some people will not like what we say, but you cannot avoid it. Let’s go back to chapter…
Tom: Dave, while you’re looking, if it’s a controversy, again, our encouragement is don’t buy what we say! Check it out! Go to the Scriptures yourself.
Dave: Right. Okay, you go back to Matthew:18:28: “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas…” Well, they’ve…Jesus has been before the rabbis, He’s been betrayed by Judas, they’ve arrested Him. Now, this is not the Roman soldiers yet. These are the officers of the priests—the high priests, and so forth. They’ve taken Him to the high priest. They’ve examined Him. They’re going to kill Him. But they realize that they do not have the authority to do that. The Romans could come down on them severely. So, they take Him to Pilate: “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the Hall of Judgment, and it was early, and they themselves went not into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.”
So, obviously, they have not partaken of the Passover lamb. Now this is the morning after the Last Supper. So that tells us that the Last Supper was not the partaking of the Passover lamb, as is commonly, or popularly, declared, okay? We’re not trying to pick a quarrel (chuckling), we’re not trying to cause trouble, but it’s quite clear, okay?
So they’re preparing, now, the Passover, verse 14. When Jesus is on the cross, that’s when the Passover lambs are being slain. Well, that certainly fits the Scripture, because you go back to Exodus:12:6, it’s talking about this lamb. And there’s a lamb coming, and it says, “And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” There’s one lamb coming. It’s going to be killed. When is it going to be killed? Well, on the tenth day of the month, you take a lamb out of your flock. You observe it for four days to make certain it is without spot and blemish. And then, on the fourteenth day of Nisan, you kill this lamb, okay?
Well, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, on a Sunday—that would be the tenth. That’s the day when the lambs were taken out of the flock to be under observation for four days.
Now, Jesus has been hiding out. It says, “He walked no more in Jewry, because the Jews sought to slay him.” And suddenly, here He comes! He presents Himself on a donkey—ludicrous! They’re looking for a warrior, a Messiah, leading an army to deliver them from the Romans, and here He comes, on a wobbly-legged colt of an ass, meek and lowly, exactly as Zechariah the prophet said. And they hail Him as the Messiah. “He’s meek and lowly, bringing salvation,” okay? So, that’s the tenth of Nisan.
Now, when would be the fourteenth? Well Thursday! Just count them out. So this is Thursday, now, and it’s the fourteenth of Nisan, when the Passover lambs are being slain. And they are slaying the Lamb of God! The Passover lamb, as foretold in Scripture. Another amazing fulfillment of prophecy, okay?
So now, if this is a Thursday, then why didn’t they go to the grave then? Why didn’t the women…or Saturday at least, after the Sabbath was over, the regular Sabbath would be from Friday evening until Saturday evening. Then why did they wait until Sunday morning?
Well, you get the clue right here. You just read it. It says they’re not going to leave the bodies on the cross on the Sabbath day, “for that Sabbath day was an high day.”
This was not the regular Friday to Saturday Sabbath. This is a high day. Once every seven years it would happen on a Thursday. It’s the first day of the Feast of the Passover, of Unleavened Bread, and from the evening when they partake—the Passover lamb is slain in the evening—that is, before sunset—and then that night they partake of it, they eat of it, roast of fire. It takes a little preparation to get this done. That begins the first day of a seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the first day is a high Sabbath—a special Sabbath. You don’t do any work.
If we went back to chapter 13 when Judas goes out into the night, and it says the disciples don’t know…they think he’s going out to buy something for the feast of the Passover, because you can’t buy anything in…then. Well, then, it couldn’t be the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Again, it couldn’t be the Passover, or the stores are closed!
So we know that Christ was crucified—for many other reasons we don’t have time to go into—we know that Christ was crucified on a Thursday.
Well, then, He was in the grave three days. Well, you can get three days from a Friday afternoon crucifixion, if you take a partial day. But He couldn’t be in the grave three nights! And when you go to Matthew:12:40, Jesus very distinctly says, “As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so the Son of man must be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So now we have Him in the grave Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, okay? And it fits with the Scripture. Why do we say this? Well, because it’s wonderful how everything hangs together—how the scriptures are fulfilled, the prophecies are fulfilled.
And so now they want to get Him off the cross, and I guess, Tom, I’m sorry, I rattled on, we’ve taken up our time—they want their legs to be broken. Oh! But the Bible says the Passover lamb—not a bone is to be broken. The Messiah—not a bone is to be broken. Now how is that going to take place? Well, the next verse, the soldiers come, they break the legs of the two thieves, but when they come to Jesus, He’s dead already. Well, you don’t break His legs to keep Him from supporting Himself…so that He will asphyxiate. He’s already dead. And so, “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith there came out blood and water.” And that fulfills another prophecy, Zechariah:12:10 says, “They look on me whom they have pierced,” and there it’s not the piercing of hands and feet with nails but the piercing of the side with a spear. You know, piercing to the death, with a sword, or whatever. So they did to Him what they never did—that is, they pierced His side with a sword. They didn’t do to Him what they always did. They didn’t break His legs. Amazing prophecies of the crucifixion.