Passover to the Resurrection

Jesus ate His last Passover meal in the “Upper Room” with His followers (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12). Throughout the Apostolic Age, the ancient Church of God celebrated this event from the perspective of the night of this Last Supper. The symbols of this New Passover consisted of unleavened bread and wine (symbolic of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood). Jesus introduced these New Covenant symbols at the beginning of Nisan 14, the Tuesday evening before His death. The first-century order of service at the New Passover included a foot-washing ceremony followed by the ritual partaking of unleavened bread and wine. Early Christians continued to keep the New Passover, annually, at the beginning of the fourteenth day of the first month, called Abib anciently and Nisan in Jesus’ day, determined by the priestly lunisolar calendar. We call it the New Passover or Christian Passover herein only to distinguish it from the Passover of the Jews, which was observed at the beginning of Nisan 15. The first Christians presumably simply referred to it as Passover. It’s important to note that the followers of Jesus kept the very first Christian Passover on a Tuesday evening, a full twenty-four hours before the traditional Jewish Passover on Wednesday night. The Christian Passover was set as an annual event, at the beginning of the fourteenth of Nisan, observed at the hour set by Jesus. It is vitally important that we understand the significance of the Passover.

Introduction

Resources

#1 – First Christian Passover

#2 – The Garden of Gethsemane

#3 – Arrested

#4 – The Crucifixion

#5 – The Resurrection

#6 – Post-Resurrection

Conclusion

The Judean Ministry

The gospel writer Matthew describes Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. What gospel did Jesus preach? “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Later in the book of Matthew, we see that Jesus continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom! “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching [what?] the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

So, we see the clear historical record of Jesus’ preaching the gospel, the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel writer Mark further describes the gospel this way: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15).

Introduction

  Resources

#1 – The Sea of Galilee

#2 – Training of the Twelve

#3 – Galilee to Judea

#4 – The Feast at Jerusalem

#5 – Later Judean Ministry

#6 – Perean Ministry

#7 – Resurrection of Lazarus

#8 – Later Perean Ministry

#9 – Jerusalem Before Passover

#10 – Olivet Prophecy

#11 – Olivet Parables

Conclusion

The Galilean Ministry

At the beginning of His ministry, “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14–15). The word “kingdom” means government. Jesus was talking about the coming government of God over this earth. He commanded: “REPENT, and believe in the gospel!” To “repent” means to be so sorry that you are not only willing to quit, but to turn around and go the other way. Of course we must repent of SIN. But what is sin? God answers: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4, KJV). So we must repent of disobeying God’s Government — of breaking His LAW! Again, notice Jesus’ own inspired words on the subject: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). In other words, Jesus in His own life perfectly performed the spiritual intent and purpose of God’s law. Why did He do this? Let God answer!


Introduction

Resources

#1 – A New Gospel

#2 – Sabbath Controversies

#3 – The Twelve

#4 – Sermon on the Mount

#5 – Christ’s Reputation Grows

#6 – Public Rejection

#7 – Parables of the Kingdom

#8 – Opposition Builds

Conclusion

The Early Life of Christ

The cultural, political, and social realities in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee during Greco-Roman times were very different than many Bible students envision. The different types of Judaism during this period were not what is thought of as Judaism in today’s world. Different threads of thinking divided the populace into contentious religious factions.

We get a flavor of this division through the New Testament as we read about Pharisees, Sadducees, and Hellenists. Most people were simply not that religious at all, though they lived and breathed the history of God’s work with them through the Law, Prophets, and Writings.

In terms of daily life, the dominant influence was Greco-Roman. In other words, the political system under which they lived was the Roman Empire, but the Greek culture was all-pervasive. It was a world of intense poverty, violence, and inhumanity, where human life was of little value and ignorance was rampant.

Greco-Roman civilization was cruel, violent, oppressive, and supremely pagan. Women’s and children’s rights were virtually non-existent. War, slavery, and brutality were ever-present.

The Jewish people accounted for about seven million, or roughly 10-15% of Rome’s subjects. A Jewish synagogue could be found in almost every sizeable Greco-Roman village and city. Substantial Jewish communities populated Spain, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Italy. About a million Jews resided in Egypt, with over 200,000 in the city of Alexandria alone. Some two million Jews lived beyond Roman borders to the east as far as India and south into Ethiopia. About one million lived in the land of Israel, referred to as Eretz-Israel, residing in Galilee and Judea.

The Gospels introduce a Jewish motherland afflicted with widespread poverty and sickness wherein the common people lived in misery, suffering and despair. Physical and mental illness was not uncommon. A heavily taxed population resenting Gentile dominance yearned for freedom.

Introduction

Resource Index

#1 – The Near East in the Days of Jesus

#2 – The Gospel Accounts

#3 – His Pre-Existence and Birth Preparations

#4 – Jesus’ Birth, Boyhood, and Baptism

#5 The Temptation and His Travel to Capernaum

#6 First Cleansing of the Temple and Nicodemus Questions Christ

#7 Jesus Departs Judea, in Samaria at Jacob’s Well and Sychar, and His Opposition at Nazareth

Conclusion