We’re in for a treat this weekend, dear friends! The Jewish feast of Passover coincides with the Christian commemoration of the death, burial and victorious resurrection of Jesus!
As you probably know, Jewish feasts occur according to the Hebrew (lunar) calendar, as opposed to the modern Gregorian calendar of which we are familiar. Thus, it is rare that the holiest days of Judaism and Christianity happen simultaneously.
For Christians, resurrection weekend was originally determined by a resolution of the 325 AD Nicaea Council who established that the official date of Easter would be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. (Though a slightly different method is used now, it makes virtually no difference.)
Passover, on the other hand, is established according to the Hebrew calendar. Pesach, as it is known in Hebrew, begins during the first full moon of the first month of the year. (Nissan 14) This year (2018), the Biblical new year began on March 17 of the Gregorian calendar, making March 31 the beginning of Passover.
But, not so fast! One must also understand that a day on the Hebrew calendar begins at sundown of the previous day! That is because the Jewish word for day, yom, is defined in the creation account in Genesis 1. At the end of each day of creation we find a common statement:
And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Indeed, the Hebrew day begins at sundown. So, the eight-day Passover observance begins Friday night…the day Christians will commemorate Good Friday!
We’ll discuss more about these Christian and Jewish observances in the coming days, so stick with us!