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Jesus’ Final Passover Approaches

Jesus’ Final Passover Approaches

MATTHEW 26:1-5, 14-19 MARK 14:1, 2, 10-16 LUKE 22:1-13



Jesus finishes teaching the four apostles on the Mount of Olives, answering their question about his future presence and the conclusion of the system of things.

What a busy day Nisan 11 has been! It is perhaps while they are returning to Bethany for the night when Jesus tells the apostles: “You know that two days from now the Passover takes place, and the Son of man will be handed over to be executed on the stake.”​—Matthew 26:2.

Jesus apparently spends the next day, Wednesday, quietly with his apostles. On Tuesday, he had rebuked the religious leaders and exposed them publicly. They are seeking to kill him. Hence, he does not openly show himself on Nisan 12 so that nothing will prevent his celebrating the Passover with his apostles after sunset the next evening, as Nisan 14 begins.

But the chief priests and the older men of the people are not remaining quiet before the Passover. They gather in the courtyard of the high priest, Caiaphas. Why? They are upset because Jesus has been exposing them. Now they conspire together “to seize Jesus by cunning and to kill him.” How and when will they do so? They say: “Not at the festival, so that there may not be an uproar among the people.” (Matthew 26:4, 5) They are in fear because Jesus enjoys the favor of many.

Meanwhile, the religious leaders receive a visitor. To their surprise, it is one of Jesus’ own apostles, Judas Iscariot. Satan has implanted in him the idea of betraying his Master! Judas asks them: “What will you give me to betray him to you?” (Matthew 26:15) Delighted at this, they “agree to give him silver money.” (Luke 22:5) How much? They gladly consent to give him 30 silver pieces. It is significant that the price of a slave is 30 shekels. (Exodus 21:32) The religious leaders thus show contempt for Jesus, that he is of little value. Judas now starts “looking for a good opportunity to betray him to them without a crowd around.”​—Luke 22:6.

Nisan 13 begins at sundown Wednesday, and this is the sixth and last night Jesus spends in Bethany. The next day, final preparations will need to be made for the Passover. A lamb must be obtained so that it can be slaughtered and roasted whole after Nisan 14 begins. Where will they have the meal, and who will prepare it? Jesus has not provided such details. Thus, Judas cannot pass them on to the chief priests.

Probably early Thursday afternoon, Jesus dispatches Peter and John from Bethany, saying: “Go and get the Passover ready for us to eat.” They respond: “Where do you want us to get it ready?” Jesus explains: “When you enter into the city, a man carrying an earthenware water jar will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters. And say to the landlord of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you: “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ And that man will show you a large, furnished upper room. Get it ready there.”​—Luke 22:8-12.

No doubt the landlord is a disciple of Jesus. He may anticipate Jesus’ request to use his house for this occasion. When the two apostles get to Jerusalem, they find everything just as Jesus had told them. So they see to it that the lamb is ready and that the other arrangements for the Passover meal are in place to care for the needs of the 13​—Jesus and his 12 apostles.