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Lesson 27

Jesus died in the early evening just as the passover lambs were being slaughtered. His friends had to rush to get him into a tomb before sunset and the Sabbath began.

Matthew 27:57 Easy-to-Read Version
57 That evening a rich man named Joseph came to Jerusalem. He was a follower of Jesus from the town of Arimathea.

John 19:42 Evangelical Heritage Version
42 So they laid Jesus there, because it was the Jewish Preparation Day, and the tomb was near.

Mark 15:42 Common English Bible
42 Since it was late in the afternoon on Preparation Day, just before the Sabbath,

Luke 23:56 Contemporary English Version
56 Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. But on the Sabbath they rested, as the Law of Moses commands.

There is little dispute over the fact Jesus died and was in the tomb just before the Sabbath started. The dispute is over what preparation day did Jesus die on and which Sabbath was it? Was it an annual or a weekly Sabbath? Some answers to those questions can be found in the book of John. 

John 19:31 Amplified Bible
31 Since it was the day of Preparation [for the Sabbath], in order to prevent the bodies from hanging on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high holy day) the Jews asked Pilate to have their legs broken [to hasten death] and the bodies taken away.

Jesus was crucified on the preparation day for the first spring holy day of Unleavened Bread. That is why it was a special high holy day. 

The symbolism of Jesus dying the same time the sacrificial lambs were being slain is not lost on Christians today. Christians recognise Jesus is our passover sacrifice that saves us from death. Was it just a coincidence Jesus died on the day he did or was it part of God’s plan? Did God reveal that plan when Moses led the Isrealites out of Egypt? What might we learn from the rest of God’s holy days? To find out we’ll need to know what they are and when they should be celebrated. What do you know about the other festivals of God? Have you ever kept any of them as a Christian celebration to commemorate an event?

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