Preparing for Difficult Times

MEMORY SELECTION: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” —Matthew 26:39


JESUS, of course, was aware that he was the antitypical Passover lamb and that the time was approaching when he was to be offered. Jesus said to his disciples, “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” (Matt. 26:2) In the type the children of Israel were, on the tenth of Nisan, to take from their flocks a lamb of the first year, a male without blemish. They were to keep this lamb separate until the fourteenth of Nisan and were to kill it in the evening (or after sundown—Deut. 16:6). The Israelites’ day began at sundown instead of midnight as we reckon time.

When we examine the account of the last few days of our Lord’s life, we are struck with wonder and admiration because of the way the Heavenly Father arranged events in the life of Jesus to be an exact fulfillment of the type. In John 12:1 we read, “Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.” According to the Israelites’ reckoning of time, six days before the Passover was the ninth of Nisan. We are delighted to note that in verses 12 through 15 the account reads: “On the next day [which would be the tenth of Nisan] much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.” This was in fulfillment of a prophecy recorded in Zechariah 9:9 and it was also a fulfillment of a part of the Passover type.

Just as the lamb was selected on the tenth of Nisan in the type, and was to be the means of deliverance of the firstborn and the whole nation of Israel, so Jesus presented himself as the Messiah and the real deliverer of the nation of Israel from the bondage of sin and death. The people accepted Jesus, but their leaders, jealous of their position, plotted to kill him.

It was necessary that Jesus, since he was under the Law, follow exactly the instructions contained in that Law concerning the celebration of the Passover. So at evening (the going down of the sun—Deut. 16:6), the beginning of the fourteenth day of Nisan, the disciples began to make ready the Passover. (Matt. 26:16; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7) The lamb was slain and prepared for the evening meal. As was the custom among the Jews, the head of the house—in this case, Jesus—presided over the meal. And as was the custom, Jesus undoubtedly recounted the circumstances of the deliverance of the children of Israel from slavery and bondage in Egypt. Jesus must have been aware that the focus of time and prophecy was upon that little group in the upper room, for this Passover was to mark the fulfillment of the type.

Jesus eagerly anticipated this time and this feast, for he knew that it would also mark the beginning of the fulfillment of all the related prophecies that promised the deliverance of the world of mankind from the bondage of sin and death. In Luke 22:15,16, Jesus said to his disciples, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

We believe that the Apostle John gave much more of the detail of what occurred at that last Passover supper. This record is given to us in the thirteenth through the seventeenth chapters, including, of course, the beautiful prayer of Jesus in the seventeenth chapter.

After Jesus had inaugurated the Memorial supper they went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed. He was taken from the garden for trials before the high priest and the Roman governors, and at 9:00 a.m. on the fourteenth of Nisan they crucified him. He suffered on the cross until 3:00 p.m. the same day, when he died. (Mark 15:28-37) So Jesus, the antitypical Passover lamb, was slain on the fourteenth of Nisan as was also the typical Iamb.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |