It was just before the Passover Feast. ...
The evening meal was being served, ... 131a,2a
John says Last Supper was ‘Just before’ instead of ‘at’ ‘the Passover Feast.’
He also uses phrase ‘The evening meal ...’ instead of ‘the Passover meal’.
This raises a question. Was the ‘Last Supper’ the Passover Seder meal;
or was it a ‘special’ meal on the previous day?
Math 2617 Mk 1412 and Lu 227 indicate it was the Passover.
But John shows that this ‘last supper’ was the day before.
He did not write this to confuse us. And the scripture is accurate.
One solution could be that the Essenes celebrated the Passover the day before the official Passover.
And Jesus celebrated this ‘evening meal’ as such.
He could well have done so as this would mean that when the Jews were killing their Passover lambs
on the afternoon before their Passover, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, was also being Crucified !!
This alone would be a good reason. But there is more:
1. At the trial of Jesus before Pilate,
the Sanhedrin “wanted to be able to eat the Passover.’ 1828
i.e. they had not yet eaten their Passover meal.
2. At the trial ‘It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week ...’ 1914,31
On Passover preparation day, Jews remove all leaven from the house.
They bathe to ensure they are ceremonially clean.
They kill the Passover lamb ‘between sunsets’ on 14th Nisan
There is no ‘preparation’ required for the normal Jewish Sabbath.
3. “... the next day was a to be a special Sabbath.” 1931
i.e. not the usual Saturday Sabbath but a special one.
The first day of Passover, it was a ‘special Sabbath’. Lev 233-8
4. Jesus specifically said,
“As Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a huge fish,
so the Son of Man will be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.” Math 1240
Friday and Saturday night is only 2 nights.
So this statement requires Jesus to have been crucified on Thursday.
5. If Jesus was crucified on Thursday it would have been the same time that
all the Passover Lambs were slaughtered on Preparation day.
And Passover was as traditionally accepted, on Friday.
6. The chief Priests declared on Preparation day, (the 14th Nisan).
whether any selected Passover lamb was Kosher.
Ironically it was the gentile Roman Governor Pilate on Preparation day
who declared that Jesus was innocent, kosher-clean to the Priests! Lu 234,13
7. Dead Sea scrolls have revealed much about the Essenes at Qumran.
They believed that they alone kept alive the true Jewish faith.
Sought real holiness - by repentance. Math 32 417
Also required repeated ritual cleansing.
John Baptist and Jesus, “Repent and be baptised”. Lu 32 Mk 14,14 Act 238
John and Andrew were disciples of John Baptist. 135-42
Essenes believed and longed for the coming kingdom of God and the Messiah.
Hated hypocrisy of the Temple Passover (Jesus cleared Temple. Lu 1928-44)
so they celebrated Passover a day earlier so that it may be kept pure.
Very few women allowed in their community.
The Essenes did have a guest-house in Jerusalem.
Jesus told disciples they would see a man carrying the water (very unusual)
(an Essene monk). Lu 228-13 Mk 1412-16
Peter and John told they would find a guest room furnished and ready.
8. According to moon cycles, if the crucifixion was in AD 30 or 33,
then Passover was on a Friday. Jewish months always start at new moon.
and Passover is always on the 15th Nisan (twilight of the 14th) Lev 23
i.e. 14 days after new moon.
This weight of evidence from scripture suggests at least the possibility that:
Orthodox Passover was Friday, 15th Nisan, with Seder meal on Thursday evening.
Essene Passover was on Thursday, with the meal on Wednesday evening,
and this is what Jesus celebrated in the Jerusalem guest-house.
His trial was on Thursday morning, with crucifixion the same afternoon.
Jesus was crucified at the time the Passover lambs were being slain. 1 Co 57
This seems the most likely sequence of events.
Scripture is seen to be accurate (which it always is)
and ‘Tradition’ is probably wrong on this occasion.
What matters most is not when; but what Jesus did, and why he had to do it.
The Passover lamb was a year old ram -
not cuddly, woolly animal; but in the prime of life and strength.
Jesus is no easy push-over (doing for us just what we want).
Neither was the willing Isaac. Neither is God.
Passover traditions change over years.
It began as a family meal. Exd 1221
Then Jews went to Jerusalem and sacrificed their Passover lamb in the Temple.
followed by a Seder meal, though for many it could not be at home.
Now it is a family meal again, but without a sacrificed lamb.
- only two lamb bones.
The Seder has four cups and is a full meal.
(Better than one sip and a thin wafer in church)
1. Freedom (from slavery in Egypt and from sin)
2. Redemption (Passover Lamb was killed. Cleansed by blood of Christ)
3. Chosen people (God chose the Jews. Now Christians are also chosen)
4. Hope (Anticipate God’s Kingdom. The Return of the Messiah)