By Larry Ray Hafley
From South Carolina: “What day of the week was Jesus crucified? According to Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:12; and Lk. 22:7, Christ ate the Passover and was crucified the next day which would be the day after the Passover. However, John’s record (19:14) states that Christ was crucified the day before the Passover. All this, of course is conditional upon my clear understanding of the Scriptures involved. “On what day of the week was the Passover that year?”
Jesus was crucified on Friday as the following Scriptures clearly show. “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate” (Matt. 27:62). “And now when even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath” (Mk. 15:42). “And that day (the day Jesus was buried-LRH) was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on” (Lk. 23:54). “There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand” (Jn. 19:42). The preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, was the day on which Jesus was crucified and buried. The day before the Sabbath is Friday, hence, Jesus was crucified on Friday.
Part of the confusion and misunderstanding over John 19:14 is perhaps due to the lack of familiarity on the part of the common reader. That is a nice way of saying that because we are often ignorant of references to Jewish events, we may reach an erroneous conclusion. John 19:14 is a good example. “And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!” The “preparation of the Passover” does not refer to the preparation of the Passover such as the disciples tended to for Christ (Matt. 26:17-19). The term “Passover” in John 19:14 refers to the entire paschal festival. The preparation of the Passover signifies “the day before the sabbath” (Mk. 15:42), which fell during the week of the Passover. It is the Friday, the preparation day, which occurred within the celebration and commemoration of the Passover. Catholics speak of “Easter Friday.” By this they do not indicate that their Easter is on Friday but that it is the Friday of their Easter activities. So, the parallel runs in John 19:14-the preparation of the Passover simply refers to the preparation of the Sabbath that transpired the week of the Passover festivities. If our querist sees the point, his problem and difficulty is rectified and clarified.
The Passover-What Day?
The passover, like our July 4th, did not fall on the same day of the week every year. It was to be observed on the 14th day of the first month (Ex. 12). Nisan, the first Jewish month, corresponds to April. So, Jesus ate the Passover on what we would call Thursday night. The next day, Friday, was the day of preparation, the day before Saturday, the Sabbath. Jesus was slain and placed in the sepulchre on the day of preparation. The Sabbath, Saturday, found the disciples resting “according to the commandment” (Lk. 23:56). Jesus’ body remained entombed during this day. However, the following day, the first day of the week, Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead (Mk. 16:9; Lk. 24:1, 13, 21).
Truth Magazine XIX: 40, p. 626
August 21, 1975