Q. Could you elaborate on the exact dates this year for Palm Sunday, the passover meal, the Crucifixion, and Resurrection Morning. This is the first year I was aware of the difference between Easter and the Passover. I abstained from the first celebration and would like to honor the Lord at the Passover. Thank you very much.
A. Passover is a date specific holiday and always comes on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, no matter what day of the week it is. This year, 2008, Passover is Sunday April 20 on our calendar. Resurrection morning is always on the Feast of First Fruits, the first Sunday after Passover, so this year it’s on Sunday April 27.
There are really 2 Passover meals. The first is after sundown and before midnight on the 14th. It’s a quick ceremonial meal that’s no longer even observed by many Jews. The great festival meal, called the Seder, is eaten on the 15th, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread which is a Holy Day.
Remember that on the Jewish calendar evening precedes morning, so Jesus ate the ceremonial Passover meal, was arrested, crucified and buried, all on Passover. The special Sabbath that John referred to and that required that the Lord’s body be taken down before sunset was the first day of the Feast of unleavened bread. (John 19:31) He referred to Passover as the day of Preparation, because that’s the day on which all the work necessary for the Seder meal is done.
Only in some years do things line up as they did in the year Jesus was crucified because Passover can be any day of the week that’s also the 14th day of the month. But Resurrection morning is always the following Sunday. In the year of His death Passover was on the Thursday between Palm Sunday and Resurrection morning.
The anniversary of the first Palm Sunday will be April 13 this year, so you still have time to observe all the events of Holy Week on the anniversary of their occurrence. It’ll just require two weeks to do it.