Last Supper a Passover meal? John vs. Synoptics


#1

What follows is a very brief outline of a chapter in a book by Joachim Jeremias. I find his argument very convincing and I can no longer see any reason for casting doubt on the Synoptics’ timing. Jeremias shows that John, too, was describing a Passover *seder, *despite what he says about the priests’ reasons for not entering the palace (Jn 18:28). In at least five other places John describes what can only be a Passover meal:

**1. An evening meal beginning after dark.―**This was something that happened only on special occasions, such as a wedding or a circumcision, and also the Passover seder, as laid down in Tractate Zebahim (Sacrifices) 5:8.

John 13:30, and it was night.
Mk 14:17, Mt 26:20, When evening came, …
1 Cor. 11:23, On the night he was betrayed, …

**2. They were reclining, not sitting.―**Also only on special occasions, including the Passover seder. Tractate Berakot (Benedictions), five references.

John 13:23, One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him … Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, …
Mk 14:18, While they were reclining at the table, …
Mt 26:20, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.

**3. All were ritually clean. **

John 13:10, Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet.”

**4. “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:27-29).―**Some of the Twelve thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor. Nobody asked Jesus what Judas was going out to do. “Quickly” could mean “before the stores shut.” If it was 13 Nisan, there would be no such hurry.

**5. Jesus does not return to spend the night at Bethany.―**The night of Passover had to be spent within the Jerusalem city limits, which included the western slope of the Mount of Olives.

John 18:1, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley [to] an olive grove.
Mk 14:26, Mt 26:3409, They went out to the Mount of Olives.
Lk 22:39, Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives and his disciples followed him.

Source: Joachim Jeremias, *The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, *pp. 44-55. Jeremias lists several further arguments, all pointing in the same direction. I have picked out the five I find most convincing.


#2

I like this chronology:

from the original article here. It’s very helpful to help visualize the timeline, although it loses a few credibility points by misspelling “Pilate.” :wink:

edit: oops, wow, that’s big… :blush:


#3

IDK.

Clearly, this is a 21st-century product, and the creator failed to check on his spellcheck :):slight_smile:

ICXC NIKA


#4

“Pilot” is the funniest mistake but it’s not the only one. There’s also “Sanhedron”and “Gesthemane.” Oddly, they call the Julian calendar the “American calendar,” which I don’t think, strictly speaking, it has ever been, since the British Empire, including the American colonies, switched to the Gregorian calendar in the 1750s.


#5

But the NA colonies did use the Julian until 1752, which is why GW’s birthday (b. 1732) on the calendar is labelled “Observed.”

ICXC NIKA


#6

You must have heard the joke – it’s a very old one – about the Sunday School teacher who handed out paper and colored pencils and told the kids to draw a picture of the Crucifixion. When she went round collecting them, little Jimmy had included an airplane flying high in the sky above Calvary. She asked him why. His answer: “That’s Pontius, the pilot.”


#7

You can’t take practices described in the Talmud and retroject them back (possibly hundreds of years) to the time of Jesus; that’s just not credible or responsible scholarship.

The Greeks commonly reclined at their meals; I’m hoping he at least mentioned that fact.


#8

[quote=BartholomewB]What follows is a very brief outline of a chapter in a book by Joachim Jeremias. I find his argument very convincing and I can no longer see any reason for casting doubt on the Synoptics’ timing. Jeremias shows that John, too, was describing a Passover *seder, *despite what he says about the priests’ reasons for not entering the palace (Jn 18:28). In at least five other places John describes what can only be a Passover meal:

[/quote]

Some good stuff there Bartholomew. The verse that causes the problem reads, “Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.” (Jn 18:28)

Here is another helpful quote from a book, ‘The Atonement Clock’ that may also be helpful.

Non-Jewish readers may be excused for interjecting, “But hadn’t they eaten it the night before”? That is when Matthew, Mark and Luke said it took place. Some commentators just choose to ignore John, but others make much of it, claiming the Paschal lambs were slain when Jesus died. Still others suggest there may have been several Jewish factions observing different timetables. Such explanations are unnecessary.

John was simply referring loosely to the overall ‘Passover week’ which included the feast days following the actual Passover day. On the morning of the first day following the Paschal evening, was another meal called ‘Chagigah’. This is the meal John was referring to, and as one rabbinic expert noted, “the Chagigah might not be offered by any person who had contracted Levitical defilement.” So, the ‘contradiction’ is really no contradiction at all; it was a special morning meal eaten as part of the celebration.


#9

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