Holy Week #2: Was Jesus crucified at the same time as the Passover lamb was sacrificed?

Jesus was nailed to and hung on the cross from approximately 9:00am – 3:00pm. There is a debate whether the Passover lamb was also sacrificed at the exact time Jesus died, or if the lamb was offered the day before, on Thursday, the night of the last supper and the eating of the Passover. So, it seems logical that the Passover lamb would have been sacrificed on Maunday Thursday.

Though some still insist that the Passover lamb was sacrificed on Friday, is it not necessary to illustrate that Christ was the Passover Lamb.

Jesus Christ was the Passover Lamb of God and it is illustrated in the daily sacrifice known as a “continual burnt offering” that took place twice a day: at 9:00am, (known as the Tamid), and at 3:00pm (also known as “the Evening Sacrifice”). During these times an unblemished male lamb was sacrificed and bread and wine was offered. (This is dictated in Numbers 28:1-8 and in Exodus 29:38-42)

Although the Torah does not say exactly the times of the morning and evening sacrifices took place, according to ancient Jewish sources, (Josephus, Antiquities 14.4.3), the morning offering of the Tamid took place at 9 am, while the evening offering took place at 3 p.m.

What is fascinating about these daily sacrifices, is that there were also daily prayers being offered along with the sacrifice. This is referenced in Acts 3:1; and 2:15, “Now Peter and John went up to the Temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” The ninth hour was nine hours after the sun rose, (approximately 6:00am) making the ninth hour to be about 3:00pm. Jewish tradition tells us exactly what these prayers said. They were called the “Eighteen Benedictions”.

If these ancient Jewish traditions are correct, then the Jews in the Temple would have been daily praying these benedictions during the Tamid and the Evening Sacrifice, and would have also been praying them on Friday at the same time Jesus was nailed to the cross (9:00am) and when he died around 3:00pm. Four of these daily benedictions were finally fulfilled when Jesus Christ was being crucified…

1. The 6th Benediction: According to Jewish tradition, at 9am and 3pm, the Jews in the Temple would have been praying for the forgiveness of sins: “Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, O our King, for we have transgressed; for you pardon and forgive. Blessed are you, O Lord, who is merciful and always ready to forgive.”

2. The 7th Benediction: the Jews in the Temple would have been praying for redemption: “Look upon our affliction and plead our cause, and redeem us speedily for your name’s sake, for you are a mighty redeemer. Blessed are you, O Lord, the redeemer of Israel.”

3. The 15th Benediction: According to Jewish tradition, at 9a.m. and 3p.m., the Jews in the Temple would have praying for the coming of the Messiah: “Speedily cause the offspring of your servant David to flourish, and let him be exalted by your saving power, for we wait all day long for your salvation. Blessed are you, O Lord, who causes salvation to flourish.”

4. The 2nd Benediction: According to Jewish tradition, at 9a.m. and 3p.m., the Jews in the Temple would have been praying for the resurrection of the dead: “You, O Lord, are mighty forever, you revive the dead, you have the power to save. You sustain the living with loving kindness, you revive the dead with great mercy, you support the falling, heal the sick, set free the bound and keep faith with those who sleep in the dust… Who resembles you, a king who puts to death and restores to life, and causes salvation to flourish? And you are certain to revive the dead. Blessed are you, O Lord, who revives the dead.”

The next three hours, after Jesus died, from 3:00pm to sundown, (which occurs at approx 5:45pm in Jerusalem during this time of the year), Joseph of Arimathaea would have had to request the body of Jesus from Pilate, Jesus’ body would have to be taken down from the cross, and transported to his tomb. Then, the linen cloths and 100# of spices have to be purchased, the body quickly cleansed, hastily prepared with the spices, and placed in the tomb. All this has to be done before sundown. This character sketch documents the precise and miraculous details of how God orchestrated the events and transformed Joseph of Arimathaea’s heart so that it all gets done and Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *