The Last Week of Jesus
Jewish Days: Evening and Morning
John undoubtedly lived according to the Hebrew calendar—as did the other apostles. Most dates noted in the Gospels should be viewed through the lens of the Hebrew calendar. The Jewish apostles of Jesus observed the calendar in the same manner as any other first-century Jew and began their days at twilight (literally, between the two evenings), not at sunrise as we do today.
This is obvious from the establishment of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread” (Leviticus 23:5–6).
Thursday, Nissan 14: The Day of the Passover
The Last Supper
Jesus and His disciples followed the Passover rituals common to the early Second Temple period.
The Passover meal took place on the fourteenth day of Nissan, which is why we suggest that this is the date of the Last Supper. According to Leviticus 23:6, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began the following day, on the 15th of Nissan, and lasted for seven days. However, both in the time of Jesus and today, these two festivals are combined in the Jewish mind. As Alfred Edershiem notes in his book, The Temple: Its Ministries and Services, “But from their close connection they are generally treated as one, both in the Old and in the New Testament (Matt 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:1); and Josephus, on one occasion, describes it as ‘a feast for eight days’ (Antiquities ii. 15, 1; but compare iii. 10, 5; ix. 13, 3). 
The Passover Service
The meal Jesus celebrated seemed to have been a Passover Seder. The meal was observed on that evening, the beginning of the fourteenth day of Nissan. The associated activities included many of the traditional elements of the Seder observed by Jewish people today. This includes the breaking of the matzah, the leaning or reclining of the participants, the taking of four cups (only two of which are named in the Gospels), the bitter herbs, the washing of the hands, etc.
We will highlight the Seder observances described by the Apostle John in his Gospel. These include the washing of feet rather than hands, the leaning of the participants, and dipping of the sop with which Jesus identified Judas as His betrayer (John 13:21–30).
The Passover Seder of Jesus would also provide the background for His teaching recorded in chapters 13–17, usually referred to as the Upper Room Discourse. The Last Seder took place in the Old City, in a large upper room (ἀνάγαιον μέγα—anagaion mega, Luke 22:12), which Luke had previously described as a guest room (Luke 22:11).
However, it must be understood that it is difficult to determine the degree to which specific traditional observances associated with the Mishnaic or contemporary Seder were observed by Jesus and His disciples. It does seem from the text that, though primitive, certain traditions were observed as part type of a liturgical meal.
The Friday Crucifixion
It appears that the crucifixion occurred at 9:00 AM the next morning, Friday, the 14th of Nissan. Jesus died at 3:00 PM around the time of the afternoon sacrifices, which were offered in the Temple.
John’s sixth hour and Mark’s third hour (Mark 15:25) can be harmonized if we understand John’s use of the sixth hour as Roman (see John 1:39, 4:61, 4:52) and Mark’s use of the third hour as reflective of a more Jewish context. Roman timekeeping began at midnight and the Jewish method at 6:00 AM (also see John 1:29, 4:6, and 4:52). John affirms the timing of early morning when he mentions that the rooster crowed after Peter’s denial (John 18:27), which the informed reader would easily understand as an early morning event. The Gospel of Mark does the same by referring to the crowing of the rooster as well. (Mark 14:72). Therefore, both John and Mark describe the crucifixion verdict decided at about 6:00 AM, and crucifixion beginning at 9:00 AM on the day of Passover.
We believe Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon as the Gospels indicate there was an urgency to remove the body and prepare Him for burial as the Sabbath was approaching. According to Mark, “When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:42–43).
Mark uses the Greek term, παρασκευή—paraskeuē, meaning “preparation,” which usually referred to Friday, the day before the Sabbath.
Harold Hoehner argues for a Friday crucifixion,
Jesus predicted that He would die and be raised on the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22). When one reads these events in the Gospels, one clearly receives the impression that Jesus rose on the third day. Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb on the evening of the day of preparation (Friday), the day before the Sabbath (Matthew 27:62; 28:1; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54, 56; John 19:31, 42). The women returned home and rested on the Sabbath—Saturday.” (Luke 23:56).
Therefore, Friday, Nissan 14 seems to best fit the facts of the New Testament. It also lines up with the prophetic and typological expectation that Messiah would die as the lamb of God whose blood covers our sins in the same way the blood of the lamb in Exodus 12 covered the doorpost of the homes. We would not build the case for the Friday crucifixion upon typology; however, the textual evidence still points to a Friday crucifixion.
Joachim Jeremias, the German scholar who wrote the excellent book, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, affirms the Friday crucifixion,
All four Gospels agree that the day of Jesus’ death was a Friday (Mark 15:42, Matthew 27:62, Luke 23:54, John 19:31, 42). Since Jesus the day was reckoned from sunset to sunset, this Friday (from 6 PM on Maundy Thursday to 6 PM on Good Friday) includes the whole of the Passion in its narrower sense: the Last Supper, Gethsemane, arrest and trial, crucifixion, and burial (Mark 14:17–15:47, Matthew 26:20–27:61, Luke 22:14–23:50 6a; John 13:2–19:42); all the four evangelists agreed also on this point.
The Passover Offerings and the Moment of Messiah’s Death
The Jewish Encyclopedia summarizes the Talmudic description of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and affirms the time of the death for the lamb.
The sacrificial animal, which was either a lamb or kid, was necessarily a male, one year old, and without blemish. Each family or society offered one victim together, which did not require the “semikah” (laying on of hands), although it was obligatory to determine who were to take part in the sacrifice that the killing might take place with the proper intentions. Only those who were circumcised and clean before the Law might participate; and they were forbidden to have leavened food in their possession during the act of killing the paschal lamb. The animal was slain on the eve of the Passover, on the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan, after the Tamid sacrifice had been killed, i.e., at three o’clock, or, in case the eve of the Passover fell on Friday, at two.
Jewish tradition indicates that the Passover lamb was sacrificed at 3:00 PM on the 14th of Nissan, which would have been Friday afternoon.
The lamb described for sacrifice at the Temple may not have been needed for the Passover meal of individual families, and it would be physically impossible to sacrifice all the lambs needed for the hundred’s of thousands of community or family Passover meals held in Jerusalem at that time. One would have to assume that some families, and especially pilgrims with nowhere to easily eat the lamb, would take place over the course of the week.
This would mean that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was crucified on the same day the Passover sacrifices were offered in the Temple and perhaps at the same time.
 There are traces of the synoptic chronology in the fourth Gospel, especially in Jesus’s Last Supper (John 13:2 ff.). The fact that John depicts here the same meal as that described in Mark 14:17–25 is shown by the betrayal scene (John 13:18–30, Mark 14:18–21) as well as by the ensuing walk to Gethsemane (John 18:1, Mark 14:26). Some of the remarks made by John presuppose that this was a Passover meal. According to John also, the Last Supper, as we have seen, took place in Jerusalem despite the overcrowding of the holy city by the Passover pilgrims (John 11:55, 12:12, 18, 20). John also indicates the Last Supper was held at an unusual hour: it lasted into the night. Jesus celebrated this meal with the closest circle of his disciples. The Last Supper was a ceremonial meal: those who took part in it reclined at table. And when the meal was over, Jesus did not return to Bethany, but rather went to a garden on the other side of the Kidron Valley. In this connection, we must also consider John 13:10: the meal was taken in a state of Levitical purity; further, John 13:29, the supposition of some of the disciples that Judas was either to purchase necessities for the imminent feast or to distribute this may also indicate that it was a Passover night. (Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus. (New York: Scribner, 1966). p. 82)
 First Century Judaism told time by beginning with sunrise
 Ibid. 821-865 Kindle Edition
 Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus. (New York: Scribner, 1966).p. 15-16
 This particular Passover sacrifice is not easily found in the Bible but is described in great detail in the Mishna, written a few hundred years later, and remains one of our best sources for Jewish information at the time.