The approach of Passover (Jn 11:55-11:55)

“Now the Passover

Of the Jews

Was near.

Many went up

From the country

To Jerusalem

Before the Passover,

To purify themselves.”

Ἦν δὲ ἐγγὺς τὸ πάσχα τῶν Ἰουδαίων, καὶ ἀνέβησαν πολλοὶ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἐκ τῆς χώρας πρὸ τοῦ πάσχα, ἵνα ἁγνίσωσιν ἑαυτούς.

John uniquely indicated that the Passover of the Jews (τὸ πάσχα τῶν Ἰουδαίων) was near (Ἦν δὲ ἐγγὺς).  Many people (πολλοὶ) went up (καὶ ἀνέβησαν) from the countryside (ἐκ τῆς χώρας) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) before the Passover (πρὸ τοῦ πάσχα) to cleanse or purify themselves (ἵνα ἁγνίσωσιν ἑαυτούς).  This would be the third Passover in John, while the other synoptics only wrote about this final or one Passover of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Arriving early for purification was due to the fact that some people on their way to Jerusalem may have encountered a dead person or an unclean animal or done some other unclean things.  They needed to be purified before the Passover event itself.  This can be found in Numbers, chapter 9:9-11.  If they became unclean, they could postpone Passover for a month.  Otherwise, they would have to do a ritual cleansing to be clean for Passover.  In 2 Chronicles, chapter 30:15-20, some unclean people still celebrated Passover, but there was a problem.  Passover in Jerusalem was a big deal.  Do you arrive early for worship services?

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