Timing of Jesus’ Death
There is an abundant amount of evidence both in Scripture and in the religious practices of the Jews that God carefully planned the timing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The following are just a few examples of God’s planning:
Prophecies given hundreds of years before Jesus was even born were precisely fulfilled when Jesus died.
The high priest’s practice of killing the Passover Lamb had been in force for hundreds, perhaps a thousand years.On Friday of the year Jesus died, the Jews celebrated Passover and killed a lamb for the temple sacrifice. Jesus, the Lamb of God, died at that same time in order to take our sins upon himself.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The year that Jesus died, Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, was also the day on which the Jews celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast reminded the Jews of the bread that God provided for the Israelites when they left Egypt. Consider the significant parallels between this feast and Jesus’ death:
First, wheat seeds must die in order to bring forth crop. Similarly, Jesus had to die and be buried in order to accomplish his ministry and be raised to a new life. Second, unleavened bread was made without yeast, because yeast represented sin (1 Cor. 5:7-8). In the same way, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sinless.
Feast of the Firstfruits
On the Sunday following Jesus death, the Israelites celebrated the Feast of Firstfruits, which in this case celebrated the beginning of the barley harvest.
The Israelites returned to God the “first part” of everything they had been given to indicate their thankfulness for the harvest, their acknowledgement that God had given them the gifts, and their faith that God would continue to provide (Num. 15:17-21; Deut. 26:1-11). They gave the best part of what they received to God (Ex. 23:19).
Also, on that day, Jesus came to life as God’s firstfruits, the guarantee that the rest would follow, including the resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20-23).
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