Where will you prepare the Passover (Mk 14:12-14:12)

“On the first day

Of the Unleavened Bread,

When the Passover lamb

Is sacrificed,

His disciples

Said to him.

‘Where do you want

Us to go

And make

The preparations

For you

To eat

The Passover?’”

 

Καὶ τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν ἀζύμων, ὅτε τὸ πάσχα ἔθυον, λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ Ποῦ θέλεις ἀπελθόντες ἑτοιμάσωμεν ἵνα φάγῃς τὸ πάσχα;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:17, and Luke, chapter 22:7-8, but in Luke, Jesus was speaking to Peter and John explicitly.  All three synoptic gospel writers said that this was the 1st day of the Unleavened Bread (Καὶ τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν ἀζύμων).  Mark explained that the Passover lamb was sacrificed then (ὅτε τὸ πάσχα ἔθυον), but Matthew did not feel the need to explain that to his Jewish Christian readers.  Some unnamed disciples spoke to Jesus (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  They wanted to know where Jesus wished that they prepare to eat the Passover meal amonst themselves (Ποῦ θέλεις ἀπελθόντες ἑτοιμάσωμεν ἵνα φάγῃς τὸ πάσχα).  At that time, it was the custom to go to Jerusalem to eat the Passover, not in their homes as later, after the destruction of the Temple.  The question of whether this was the Passover or the day before the Passover seems somewhat moot, since this was the 1st day of the Unleavened Bread, when they ate the matzah bread, the Hebrew word for unleavened bread.  The Passover meal itself usually included a lamb.

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The problem of Jerusalem (Zech 12:2-12:3)

“See!

I am about to make Jerusalem

A cup of trembling

For all the surrounding people.

It will be against Judah also

In the siege against Jerusalem.

On that day,

I will make Jerusalem

A heavy stone

For all the people.

Anyone who lifts it

Shall grievously hurt themselves.

All the nations of the earth

Shall come together against it.”

Zechariah pointed out that Jerusalem was going to have a special place.  They were going to be like a cup of trembling or reeling, perhaps an allusion to the cup, bowl, or basin that caught the blood of the Passover lamb.  The neighboring people should be aware that Jerusalem was under siege.  Thus, Jerusalem was to become a heavy stone that few people could lift.  Apparently, there was a practice of lifting stones to show one’s strength among young men, like weight lifting.  Thus, anyone who tried to lift the heavy stone of Jerusalem would hurt themselves.  All the various countries in the world would come against Jerusalem, but at their own risk.

The Passover celebration (Ezra 6:19-6:22)

“On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles kept the Passover. For both the priests and the Levites had purified themselves. All of them were clean. So they killed the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile. It was eaten also by all who had joined them and separated themselves from the pollutions of the nations of the land to worship Yahweh, the God of Israel. With joy, they celebrated the festival of unleavened bread seven days. Yahweh had made them joyful. He had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”

There is an assumption that this Passover took place after the dedication of the Temple since the purification process could take place, putting this time in 515 BCE or 417 BCE. All who took part in the Passover were clean because they had purified themselves by offering sacrifices at the Temple altars. The Passover was for the returned exiles and anyone who had separated themselves from the polluted gods of Israel. They also celebrated the 7 day festival of unleavened bread. There is a comment about the king of Assyria, but it was the king of Persia who was kind to them