On Friday the 27th March 33AD, as the Sabbath prior to Passover was to begin, some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands upon them and pray a blessing over them, as was the custom on the Sabbath. But the disciples scolded the parents for doing this.
When Jesus saw what was happening he became angry with the disciples. He called for the children to come to him and he said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to the ones just like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who does not receive the Kingdom like a child will not be allowed to enter in.” He took the children in his arms and placed his hands upon them and blessed them before he left. TJB 20:1-2

This event took place just prior to Jesus making the long walk from Jericho to Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover. The exact timing of when Jesus blessed the children is not known but it has been given this possible date to coincide with the traditional blessing of children at the start of the Sabbath (Friday night) and Shabbat Hagadol (the Great Sabbath).

A Jewish custom, that still carries on today is the blessing of the children on the Friday night of the Sabbath. The father places his hands on the children and speaks a blessing over them. It usually takes the form of a prescribed blessing followed by hugs, kisses and words of praise. This is exactly what Jesus was doing and no time would be more fitting for him to do this than on the Friday night.

This Sabbath was known as the Great Sabbath or Shabbat Hagadol which was celebrated once a year on the day when the Israelites purchased lambs from the Egyptians prior to their Exodus from Egypt.

It is also the same day Pharaoh killed many of the first born Egyptians when they went to Pharaoh to demand the release of the Israelites. These same Egyptians who committed many atrocities against the Jews now fought with their lives to help set them free. This itself was considered to be a miracle by the Jews.

During the Sabbath service Rabbis all over Israel would take the opportunity to re-familiarise the people with the Passover story and all its customs.

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