Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

John’s Account of Preparation Day

Again seems strange, yet appropriate, to be reading these accounts during the Christmas season.

There is some mystery as to the exact timing of Jesus crucifixion. I am most persuaded by John’s account and the synoptic gospels. One of the best discussions of the dating issues can be found at: Can John’s Passion chronology be reconciled with that of the Synoptics? This might be easily understood by this statement quote:

The difficulty is not in the sequence of events, but in properly understanding the terms John used to locate those events in time. The key to understanding John’s choice of terms lies in the historical context of the Gospel.

Joh 19:14  And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

Joh 19:31  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Joh 19:42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand

Previously John had written…

Joh 11:55  And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.

Joh 12:1  Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

Joh 13:1  Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

Joh 18:28  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.

Joh 18:39  But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

John 13:1 Gill

Now before the feast of the passover,…. This feast was instituted as a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and was an eminent type of Christ; and this passover was what Christ had greatly desired, it being his last, and when he was to express his great love to his people, mentioned here, by dying for them. It was two days before this feast, so the Persic version reads this text, at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, that the things recorded in this chapter were transacted; see Mat 26:2;

Mat 26:1  And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

Mat 26:2  Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Matthew 26:2

Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover,…. Which was kept in commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt; and was typical of Christ the passover, who was now to be sacrificed for his people. This was said on Tuesday, and on the Thursday following, the passover began. Christ speaks of this as a thing well known to the disciples, as it must be, since it always began on a certain day, the fourteenth of the month Nisan; which month answered to part of our March, and part of our April; and though there was very frequently an intercalation of a whole month in a year, made by the sanhedrim, to keep their festivals regularly in the proper season of the year; yet previous public notice was always given of this, either by fixing a paper upon the door of the sanhedrim (r), signifying such an intercalation made, which served for the inhabitants of Jerusalem; or by sending messengers with letters into all distant places (s), acquainting them with it. So that the times of these festivals were always well known; even to the common people:

Matthew further describes the events of the last supper, in the terms of the Passover, his orientation is to bring the gospel to the Jewish people.

Mat 26:14  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,

Mat 26:15  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

Mat 26:16  And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Mat 26:17  Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

See note below…

Mat 26:18  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

Mat 26:19  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

Mat 26:20  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

Mat 26:21  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Mat 26:22  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

Mat 26:23  And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

Mat 26:24  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Mat 26:25  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

Mat 26:26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Mat 26:27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

Mat 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Mat 26:29  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Mat 26:30  And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Mat 26:31  Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Mat 26:32  But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

Mat 26:33  Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.

Mat 26:34  Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Mat 26:35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Mat 26:36  Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Mat 26:37  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

Mat 26:38  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Mat 26:39  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Mat 26:40  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

Mat 26:41  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Mat 26:42  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Mat 26:43  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

Mat 26:44  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Mat 26:45  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Mat 26:46  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Mat 26:47  And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Mat 26:48  Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

Mat 26:49  And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

Mat 26:50  And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

Mat 26:51  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.

Mat 26:52  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Mat 26:53  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

Mat 26:54  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

Mat 26:55  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.

Mat 26:56  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mat 26:57  And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

Mat 26:58  But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

Mat 26:59  Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

Mat 26:60  But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

Mat 26:61  And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

Mat 26:62  And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?

Mat 26:63  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

Mat 26:64  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Mat 26:65  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Mat 26:66  What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

Mat 26:67  Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

Mat 26:68  Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

John had discussed these events in the prior chapter:

Joh 18:12  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

Joh 18:13  And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

Joh 18:14  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

And previously John had pretty much document many of the details of Jesus’ last words and prayer in Chapters 13-17.

Btw John Gill explains somewhat the timing found in this verse.

Matthew 26:17

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread,…. There were seven of these days, and this was the first of them, in which the Jews might not eat leavened bread, from the fourteenth, to the twenty first of the month Nisan; in commemoration of their being thrust out of Egypt, in so much haste, that they had not time to leaven the dough, which was in their kneading troughs: wherefore, according to their canons (c), on the night of the fourteenth day; that is, as Bartenora explains it, the night, the day following of which is the fourteenth, they search for leaven in all private places and corners, to bring; it out, and burn it, or break it into small pieces, and scatter it in the wind, or throw it into the sea. Mark adds, “when they killed the passover”, Mar 14:12; and Luke says, “when the passover must be killed”, Luk 22:7; which was to be done on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, after the middle of the day; and this was an indispensable duty, which all were obliged to: for so they say (d),

“every man, and every woman, are bound to observe this precept; and whoever makes void this commandment presumptuously, if he is not defiled, or afar off, lo! he is guilty of cutting off.”

The time of killing the passover was after the middle of the day; and it is said (e) that

“if they killed it before the middle of the day it was not right; and they did not kill it till after the evening sacrifice, and after they had offered the evening incense; and after they had trimmed the lamps, they began to slay the passovers, or paschal lambs, unto the end of the day; and if they slayed after the middle of the day, before the evening sacrifice, it was right.”

The reason of this was, because the lamb was to be slain between the two evenings; the first of which began at noon, as soon as ever the day declined: and this was not done privately, but in the temple; for thus it is (f) affirmed,

“they do not kill the passover but in the court, as the rest of the holy things.”

The time and manner of killing the lamb, and by whom, of the sprinkling of the blood, and of their flaying it, and taking out the fat, and burning it on the altar, may be seen in the Misna (g).

The disciples came to Jesus; that is, Peter and John, as may be learnt from Luke 22:8, for these only seem to have had any notion of Judas’s betraying Christ, from what had been said at the supper in Bethany, two days before; the rest thought he was gone to prepare for the feast, and therefore were under no concern about it; but these two judged otherwise, and therefore came to Christ to know his mind concerning it; for it was high time that a preparation should be made; for this was Thursday morning, and the lamb was to be killed in the afternoon, and ate at even.

Saying unto him, where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? This question in Luke follows upon an order which Christ gave to these disciples; “saying, go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat”, Luk 22:8, for masters used to give their servants orders to get ready the passover for them; and which were expressed in much such language as this (h):

“he that says to his servant, צא ושחוט עלי את פסח, “go and slay the passover for me”: if he kills a kid, he may eat of it.”

It is reported (i) of

“Rabban Gamaliel, that he said to his servant Tabi, צא וצלה, “go and roast” the passover for us upon an iron grate.”

The disciples having received such an order from their master, inquire not in what town or city they must prepare the passover, for that was always ate in Jerusalem; see Deu 16:5, where they were obliged, by the Jewish canon (k), to lodge that night; though they might eat the unleavened bread, and keep the other days of the feast any where, and in every place (l); but they inquire in what house he would have it got ready; for they might make use of any house, and the furniture of it, where they could find room, and conveniency, without any charge; for they did not let out their houses, or any of their rooms, or beds, in Jerusalem; but, at festivals, the owners of them gave the use of them freely to all that came (m): and it is (n) observed among the wonders and miracles done at Jerusalem, that though there were such multitudes at their feasts, yet

“a man could never say to his friend, I have not found a fire to roast the passover lambs in Jerusalem, nor I have not found a bed to sleep on in Jerusalem, nor the place is too strait for me to lodge in, in Jerusalem.”

(c) Misn. Pesach. c. 1. sect, 1. Maimon. Chametz Umetzah, c. 2. sect. 3, 4. & 3. 11. (d) Maimon. Hilch. Korban Pesaeh. c. 1. sect. 1. 2. (e) Ib. sect. 4. Moses Kotsensis Mitavot Tora pr. affirm. 39. (f) Maimon. lb. sect. 3. (g) Pesachim, c. 5. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10. (h) Ib. c. 8. 2. (i) Ib. c. 7. sect. 2. (k) T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 95. 2. & Gloss in ib. (l) Maimon. Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 6. sect. 1. (m) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 12. 1. Megilia, fol. 26. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Maimon Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 7. sect. 14. & Ceseph Misna in ib. (n) Abot R. Nathan, c. 35. Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 5.

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