Holy Week: Day 4: Wednesday
What did Jesus do this Holy Wednesday? Honestly, nobody knows with 100% certainty! It is commonly believed Jesus rested this day. After all, he did have a busy Tuesday. However, there is a good chance that we don’t know as much as we think we do:
Luke 21:37-38 (NIV): Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
This seems to imply that Jesus was teaching everyday of the Holy Week.
I am not sure it really matters in the long run, but I wonder if Jesus would take a day off knowing His time here was so short. On the other hand, He may indeed needed to rest before going through what He was about to go through.
So, on Jesus’ final Wednesday, He either rested on continued to teach.
There is also the possibility that we don’t understand the timeline as much as we think we do. Some teachings that we attribute to Tuesday, may have actually occurred on Wednesday.
Why so much confusion and misunderstanding?
Well, we tend to count the days according to our calendar, failing to make adjustments according to the Jewish calendar (days are from sunset to sunset).
Yesterday, I included the story of the woman with the alabaster jar with Tuesday’s teachings, which may have been in error. The main reason I believed it occurred on Tuesday was that it went right along with the teachings on Tuesday. Matthew 24 & 25 and Mark 13 were just discussing the destruction of the Temple and the End of Times and went right into the next chapter without mention of a new day. However, I failed to consider that the Jewish day ended at sunset.
Mark 14:1-2 (NIV): Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” 3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
Some say since the Passover was two days away, then obviously this occurred on Tuesday. However, the words “being in Bethany” give me pause. If Jesus had been preaching in Jerusalem all day, and now he is back in Bethany, it is likely evening (after dusk); therefore, making it possible that the woman with the alabaster jar came into play on Wednesday (according to Jewish Calendar).
Another event that likely took place Wednesday (and not Tuesday): Judas takes steps to betray Jesus:
Mark 14: 10-11 (NKJ):
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.
So, here we have early Wednesday (Jewish Calendar) Judas taking the first steps to betray Jesus. This is what I call premeditated. It is not like Judas, in a weak moment, gave Jesus up. No, he had a thought out, deliberate plan.
Now, I would love to say that this timeline and such gets much easier from here on out, but it actually gets even murkier. It wasn’t even until two years ago that I realize there was such a great debate on whether or not the Last Supper was actually the Passover meal. Once again, in the long run, it doesn’t make much difference, but for some looking for something a little “meatier” this Holy Week, I suggest you look into the matter a little more thoroughly. I have included some links to some very interesting articles:
Take the time to read these articles. They may not change your mind on where you stand with the Last Supper being the Passover meal, but it will give you some important background information that might help clear up a few other questions you may have. I will warn you…you may come away a little overwhelmed…..it takes time to digest.