Q. Why does it sound like Jesus and the disciples are celebrating Passover on the first day of the Feast of Unleaven which begins the day after passover? I am confused about the time line of when Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal, and when Jesus was crucified. The Gospel accounts seem to contradict themselves.
Leviticus 23 says Passover begins on the 14th and The Feast of Unleaven on the 15th. And the Passover Lamb from Exodus 12 was to be slaughtered and consumed on the 14th, Passover.
Do you have any articles that address this issue?
A. Actually, the four Gospels agree. Jesus was crucified on Passover. We just have to understand their customs. Here’s how it went.
After Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and burial Matt. 27:62 reads, “The next day, the one after Preparation Day …” Preparation day is the name they gave to Passover, the 14th, because it was the day they got everything ready for the big Feast of Unleavened Bread, celebrated on the 15th, when no work could be done. This tells us that Jesus was crucified on Passover.
Mark 15:42 says that Joseph of Arimathea asked for the Lord’s body as evening was approaching on Preparation Day, the day before the Sabbath. He was referring to the special sabbath known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
In Luke 21:22 Jesus spoke about how He had eagerly desired eating the Passover meal with His disciples before He suffered. He was referring to the meal after sundown on the 14th that we now call The Last Supper. Later, Luke recalled the same conversation between Joseph of Arimathea and Pilate that Mark recorded, confirming that it took place on Preparation Day (Luke 23:54).
In speaking of the day Jesus died, John 19:31 says that it was Preparation Day and the next day was a special Sabbath.
Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples after the sunset that began the 14th, Passover. He was arrested, tried, convicted, crucified and buried before the next sunset brought the 15th and the great Feast of Unleavened Bread. All four Gospels agree.