Lesson 43 of the Discipleship Making process.
Jesus knows that His time is short and begins to prepare the disciples for the days ahead. They will be going to Jerusalem where He will suffer, die, and be raised from the dead as the Scriptures have foretold. He commands His disciples to “Behold”. The word, “behold” means “to see with understanding”. In other words Jesus is telling them that they should gain full understanding of the events that they are about to observe in Jerusalem.
Read: Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 10:32-34, Luke 18:31-34
In this lesson we will focus on the timing of and historical significance of the events leading to and surrounding Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The first issue we need to deal with is time. We in Western cultures base our time on the Gregorian calendar. This calendar was derived from the Julian calendar developed by Julius Caesar in 46 BC and modified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 AD. The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, basing its calculations on the earth’s movement around the sun, which makes a complete cycle about every 365 days. The calendar consists of twelve months: 7 of 31 days, 4 of 30 days and 1 of 28 days. An extra day is added to the 28-day month every 4th year and every 100th year to keep it accurate. The Gregorian calendar does not have a recurring cycle of dates.
The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. It is based on the movement of the moon around the earth, which makes a complete cycle about every 29-1/2 days. This calendar also consists of twelve months, but the beginning of each month is determined by visual observation of a new moon. In order to maintain accuracy with the solar year, an extra (13th) month is added seven times within a nineteen-year period. This extra month follows the twelfth month, Adar and is called Ve Adar or “second” Adar. The Hebrew or Jewish calendar has a recurring cycle of dates every nineteen years.
January 1st is New Years Day on the Gregorian calendar but the Hebrew year contains two New Years Days. In Exodus 12:2, God ordained that the first month of the year for Israelites would be Abib. The name Abib means “green ears” and was used to indicate the time of year when the corn of grain first appears in the head of wheat and barley. It is from the new moon of Abib that all the Feasts of the Lord (“appointed times of Jesus Christ”) as ordained by God in Leviticus 23, are determined. The Jewish people currently call this month Nisan and it corresponds to our March/April time frame.
The Jewish people also have a civil calendar, which begins at the new moon of Ethanim, the supposed birth date of Adam. We know this date as Rosh Hashanah meaning “Head of the Year”. They use this New Year’s date to mark the beginning of the year for kings, childbirth and contracts. The name Ethanim means “permanent” and is the seventh month of the God ordained year. The Jewish people currently call this month Tishri and it corresponds to our September/October time frame.
In Western cultures our day begins at 12:00 am or midnight. In Hebrew or Jewish culture the day begins with the appearance of three stars in the evening (about 6:00 pm), which is six hours earlier than ours.
The days of the week on the Gregorian calendar are named after various gods. The Hebrews simply numbered their days . . . 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. The 7th day of the week is the Sabbath (“Rest”); it begins at approximately 6:00 pm on Friday night and ends at approximately 6:00 pm on Saturday night.
The point of the lesson is to see with understanding.
With that, allow me to leave you with these two questions to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:
Where does faith come from? and How do you get faith?
. . . and the homework assignment . . .
The following timeline of events was developed from Biblical chronology and the Jewish calendar with its nineteen-year recurring cycles. The timeline is based on the Hebrew dates of each event but I have included the Gregorian day of the week to help the reader understand when the events transpired.
Jesus’ Final Week
Timeline of Events
Until next time . . . Godspeed!