First, a basic truth: The Jewish day officially begins at sunset.
Second, a reminder of what you already know. The night before Jesus died, Jesus and his disciples had their “last supper.”
The most important Christian meal comes out of that night. We call it “Communion” and we always remember that Jesus was betrayed and arrested in the midnight hours after this famous last meal. The crucifixion came the next morning.
For non-Jewish followers of Christ, something even more basic often slips past us. That last meal was the Passover, the most famous and symbolic meal in Jewish life.
Now, put these two facts together.
A new day began at sunset and families all over Jerusalem settled in for Passover. Jesus ate the meal with his disciples that year. By the way, the record of events in the Bible identifies that last meal as the Passover more than 20 times!
If the Passover meal came on what we consider to be Thursday night, Jewish families had turned their mental calendars over to Friday.
On that year? It was what Christians know as “Good Friday.”
The symbolism is profound. Jesus — identified early in his ministry as the “Lamb of God” — died in the very 24-hour period when every Jewish family had gathered around a symbolic meal that featured a sacrificed lamb as its centerpiece.
The story of the Exodus boils down to this: God rescued His people out of slavery by way of the blood of a lamb. Read the details in the dusty pages of your Bible. If a family wanted protection from the last plague that swept across Egypt, it had to kill a lamb and paint the doorposts of their home with the blood of that lamb.
Get inside that home and your first-born will live through the night. Don’t follow the instructions? Death is certain.
The Christian story and the Jewish story merge with perfect harmony.
God saved His people once by the blood of a lamb. This is the message of Passover.
On Good Friday, God saved His people again by the blood of The Lamb.
And it happened during the 24 hours of Passover.