Was Jesus' Crucifixion and Death On the Wrong Day?
|Nisan 10||11||12||13||14||15 ???|
|Lamb selected||lamb slain|
You can see that a Sunday, Nisan 10 selection of the lamb and a Friday, Nisan 14 slaying of the lamb cannot be. The fact is that Jesus could not both observe the Passover at the prescribed time and be sacrificed as the antitypical Passover Lamb the same day (actually a few hours before the time of the meal). We could debate which was more important for Him to do:
Clearly, He could not do both. However, we do not need to debate because, when scripture is carefully examined, it is clear what happened as far as the timing. Here is a thought that affects this problem and is probably new to you.
Is it possible that, in God's "Plan A," Jesus would have been accepted by the priests and people and sacrificed by the high priest on the altar of sacrifice in the temple, on Nisan 14, as the official Passover lamb was every year?
The penalty for sin is death and Jesus was the Lamb (planned to be) slain from the foundation of the world. But what lamb was ever crucified? Even Abraham's almost-sacrifice of Isaac which typified Christ's sacrifice, on Mt. Moriah (centuries later, to be the very site of the altar in the temple in Jerusalem where Jesus should have died) followed the style of animal sacrifices - there was no cruel cross, no crucifixion involved.
Plan A would have required acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, and recognition of His role as the Lamb of God, by the spiritual leadership and the people of Israel. Surely, the Father would have preferred that and did not compel them in any way to reject His Son. While the spiritual leaders should have understood from scripture, even Jesus' closest companions didn't understand His role as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Because Jesus was rejected, God's "Plan A" was thwarted. However, God's eternal purpose was still carried out - the sins of the world were atoned for by the death of Jesus. The way it happened was that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem as the Sacrificial Lamb on time on the tenth of Nisan. He was examined and tested as He taught in the temple in the following days. On the day (Nisan 14) the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed, had He been accepted as the spotless Lamb of God that He really was, He should have been sacrificed for the sins of the world. Sacrificed in the temple, not executed by crucifixion outside the city walls of Jerusalem as a common criminal.
There is evidence, from the actions of Jesus Himself, that, in fact, the day before the crucifixion in that year, Thursday was Nisan 14 (see part 2).