(Editor’s note: This is part one of an 8-part series on the last days of Jesus by Pastor Gilbert Owens. This series highlights every key event of Jesus Christ last days leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. This series is based on Pastor Gilbert Owens study and research.)
After preaching on sin, the lost sheep and forgiveness in Galilee, Jesus departs Galilee and goes into the coast of Judea beyond the Jordan River to a place, then called Peres. This day is Friday, a week before Passover and a week before Jesus is crucified on a cross.
On this day, many Jews around the world have already begun their preparations for the upcoming Passover. Many have already traveled great distances and arrive in Jerusalem to begin their purification process in order to celebrate Passover in all purity. The process includes, but not limited to, (1) the non-touching of any reptile, (2) not coming close to a dead body or a grave, and (3) men decease for a week from having sex with their wives. It is also necessary for all Jews to purify themselves in purification pools called “mikvah” before entering the Temple.
It is on this day, while still in Peres, that Jesus proclaims to his disciples in Matthew 20:18 that they are going to Jerusalem and He would be betrayed, condemned to death, mocked by Gentiles, scourged, crucified and on the third day He would rise again.
While traveling on this day from Peres to Jerusalem, dissension, envy, pride and jealousy erupts among Jesus’ 12 disciples. Ten of them are incensed at the request of James and John to have seats of honor when Jesus enters into His Kingdom. Jesus becomes aware of this and tells all of them, “whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as He has not come to be served to serve and give his ransom for many.”
As Jesus and his disciples draw near to Jerusalem and the sun is going down. They approach the village of Bethany, which is a 45 minute walk from Jerusalem. The going doing of the sun, starts the beginning of the Sabbath. They decide to stay at the home of Lazarus for the duration of the Sabbath and make their entry into Jerusalem on Sunday.