JESUS, THE DISCIPLE'S AND THE   TRADITIONAL PASSOVER

During  the life of Jesus, the traditional Passover  was  prepared just  as in ancient times; the lamb was selected on the 10th  day  of 1st  month, slain on 14th day prior to sunset, and  roasted  and eaten  after sunset on the 15th.

The following analysis  presents, in chronological order,  the traditional Passover meal of the time and the Passover meal that Jesus and his disciples ate. A comparison of the two reveals similarities that support the  fact  that Jesus and his disciples did  indeed  observe  the Passover ceremony including the traditional meal.

SIMILARITIES  BETWEEN JESUS'  LAST PASSOVER AND  THE  TRADITIONAL PASSOVER

Traditional Passover Meal   (TPM)

Christ's Passover Meal        (CPM)

TPM  1. The first cup of wine was blessed and drank.

TPM  2. Hands were washed while a blessing was said.

CPM  Step 2 seems to correspond to the  foot-washing  ceremony being  instituted  (Jn.13:2-17). Then Jesus  warns  of  a traitor (Jn.13:18-25).

TPM  3. Bitter herbs were eaten dipped in sour broth  made of vinegar and bruised fruit.

CPM     This seems to correspond to the event in which Jesus dipped the sop and  gave it to Judas (Jn.13:26-32).

TPM  4. The  son of  the house asked his father  to  explain  the origin of the observance.

TPM  5. The lamb and the flesh of the Thank Offering were  placed on  the table and the first part of the Hallel was  sung  (Psa.113; 114).

TPM  6. The second cup of wine was blessed and drunk (followed by a 2nd hand washing).

CPM  Notice  that this 2nd cup of wine was blessed and  drunk; This seems to correspond to the event in Lk.22:17: "And he took the  cup,  and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide  it among yourselves." This event occurred  before he took the bread and  blessed and broke it; therefore, it  supports the sequence of events which were occurring.

TPM  7. Unleavened  bread was blessed and broken, a  fragment  of it  was eaten, and then a fragment of the Thank Offering was eaten, and then a piece of the lamb was eaten.

TPM  8. After the preliminary part of the ceremony was finished, the feast proceeded, leisurely  until everything was consumed. Then, there was  a 3rd hand washing.

TPM  9. After the lamb and the 3rd cup of wine were finished, the cup  of  blessing, was blessed and drunk.

CPM  Notice  the  3rd  cup of  wine, which was  called  the  cup  of blessing  was  blessed  and drunk.  This  seems   to correspond  to what Jesus did when he instituted the  new symbol of the wine. Paul refers to this and even uses the same expression "the cup of blessing": "The cup  of blessing which we bless, is it not the  communion of  the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is  it not the communion of the body of Christ?"  (1.Cor.10:16). This, together with Matthew 26:26-28, supports the position that Jesus  was following  the sequence of the traditional Passover  and  instituting  the new events and their symbolic meanings as the proper events occurred in that sequence.

TPM 10. The fourth  cup of wine was drunk and the  2nd  part of the Hallel was sung (Psa.115-118).

CPM   Notice it was the tradition to sing  the  2nd part of the Hallel (Psa.115-118); Jesus and his disciples sang a  hymn,  and  then they left for the Mount of Olives (Matt.26.30). This again supports the traditional sequence of events.

SUMMARY

The  internal evidence of the gospel accounts surrounding  the events  of  Jesus'  last meal with  his disciples  supports  the position that he was following the chronological sequence of  the traditional Passover  meal.

Jesus amplified and extended the meaning and understanding of each symbol. He also introduced the washing of feet in addition to these amplified symbols as a part of the Passover observance for his followers.

This  supports  that what was occurring was indeed a Passover meal  and not  something different, such as a Hagigah or  Lord's  supper. Therefore,  in  order  for this to be a Passover  meal, the meal must have occurred on  the Passover, or Jesus would have violated the law, which  he could not have done and still be our Savior.

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE TRADITIONAL PASSOVER MEAL & CHRIST'S PASSOVER MEAL

Traditional Passover Meal

Christ's Passover Meal

The first cup of wine was blessed and drunk.

Hands were washed, a blessing was said.

The Footwashing ceremony was instituted (Jn.13:2-17). Then, Jesus warned of a traitor (Jn.13: 18-25).

Bitter herbs dipped in sour broth made of vinegar and bruised fruit.

The son of the house asked his father to explain the origin of the observance.

The lamb and the flesh of the Thank Offering were placed on the table, and the first part of the Hallel was sung (Psa.113, 114).

Jesus dipped the sop and gave it to Judas (Jn.13:26-32).

  

   

The second cup of wine was blessed and drunk, followed by a second hand washing.

This seems to correspond with the event in Luke 22:17: "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves."

Unleavened bread was blessed and broken, and a fragment of it was eaten, and then a fragment of the Thank Offering was eaten, and then a fragment of the lamb was eaten.

Unleavened bread was blessed, broken, and a fragment was eaten (1Cor.11:24).

They feasted on the lamb and its accompanying dishes. When the feast was ended, it was followed by a third hand washing.

Jesus and the disciples ate of meal (Matt.26:20-21).

The third cup of wine, the "cup of blessing," was blessed and drunk.

 

Paul used the same expression, "the cup of blessing": "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (1.Cor.10:16).

The fourth cup of wine was drunk and the second part of the Hallel was sung (Psa.115-118).

Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn and then left for the Mount of Olives (Matt.26:30).

Bibliography

The  One  Volume Commentary,  J. R.  Dummelow,  Queens College,  Cambridge, 1908. See page 710.

The New  International  Dictionary of New Testament  Theology,  Colin Brown,  1967 in German, 1976 in English. Pages  521-522, item 3. p. 528, item (b) (ii).

The Mishna, Order Moed, Tractate Pesachim 10.9.

By Charles E. Barrett, file b5w40