The Lord’s Supper: Was It a Passover Meal? (1 of 4)
I’m starting a four-part series on the Lord’s Supper as a result of the ceremonies of Holy Week that took place last week. The more I study about it, the more I realize how inadequate my knowledge of it was. It’s possible that others are in the same situation. The series will consist of four posts spread across four weeks:
- Was the Lord’s Supper a Passover Meal or Just a Meal? (1 of 4)
- What Is the Meaning of the Lord’s Supper? (Part 1 of 4). (2 out of 4)
- What Happens During the Lord’s Supper? What is the actual ritual? (3 of 4)
- The Lord’s Supper: What Should We Do When We Celebrate It? (4 out of 4)
It is not an inevitability that anything will happen. Because the Lord’s Supper is depicted as a Passover supper in the Synoptic Gospels, the meal has traditionally been interpreted as such by Christians. According to Matthew, “on the first day of Unleavened Bread,” the disciples approached Jesus and inquired, “Where would you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” (Matt. 26:17-18). Mark and Luke both give identical stories in their Gospels (Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13), removing any question that the Lord’s Supper that followed was a Passover feast in the traditional sense.
Examples include the writings of scholars such as Scot McKnight (“Jesus and His Death”), Robert Letham (“The Lord’s Supper,” and Jonathan Klawans (“Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?”), all of whom argue that the Lord’s Supper was not a traditional Passover meal, but rather an ordinary Jewish meal imbued with spiritual significance, held one day before the Passover.
Arguments opposing the Passover Point of View based on Exegetical Evidence According to John 18:28, the Jews who escorted Jesus from the home of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters for trial “did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be contaminated, but may eat the Passover” because they “did not enter the governor’s headquarters.” According to the argument, because the Passover meal had not yet been served at the time of Jesus’ trial, the Last Supper could not have been a Passover Meal.
- Because the crucifixion occurred on the “day of Preparation for the Passover” (John 19:14), that is, on the day before Passover (that is, on Thursday), it seems likely that the Last Supper occurred on the Wednesday night of Passion Week, a full day before the formal Passover supper.
- Robert Letham contends that the Lord’s Supper is not tied to the Old Testament Passover, but rather to the covenant supper enjoyed by Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel on Mount Sinai.
- (See The Lord’s Supper, p.
- Arguments opposing the Passover Point of View based on historical evidence It is also puzzling that, since Christ created the Lord’s Supper during the Passover feast, which is a yearly event, the early church chose to commemorate it on a daily or weekly basis (Acts 2:46-47).
- They appear to be consuming solely bread and wine at this time.
- The Synoptic Gospels are organized according to a chronological order.
- 16.6.2 163–64).
- It is important to note that when John says that Jesus was crucified on “the day of Preparation of the Passover” (John 19:14), he is not referring to a day of Preparation for the Passover but to the day of preparation for the Sabbath during the week preceding the Passover.
- 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54).
21:22-23; John 19:31.) Consequently, the “day of preparation for the Passover” is the “day of preparation (for the Sabbath) of the Passover week,” not the “day of preparation for the Passover.” So the crucifixion occurs on a Friday, which corresponds to the timeline recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.
In order to avoid being contaminated, the Jews who brought Jesus to Pilate for trial “did not enter the governor’s headquarters so that they would not be defiled, but they might eat the Passover instead.” Although the term “Passover” is used here, it does not relate to the meal itself but rather to the Passover feast, which lasted for seven days.
This is supported by a simple word study on the term “Passover” (pasca).
26:2, 17, 18-19; Mark 14:1, 12, 14, 16), and they prefer the term “Unleavened Bread” (azumoß) when referring to the entire feast (Matt.
In Luke 2:41, the term “Passover” is used more interchangeably, with the phrase “Feast of the Passover” (thuv e orthuv touv pasca) and even explaining that “the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover” (Luke 22:1), demonstrating that the term “Passover” can be used synecdochically to refer to the entire feast.
- John, on the other hand, is an outlier.
- Sometimes, like in John 2:23, the word “feast” is used in conjunction with it to make the meaning obvious, but most of the time the term “feast” is used by itself (John 2:13; 11:55; 12:1; 18:28, 39; 19:14).
- It is not difficult to accept the notion that “the Passover” in John 18:28 refers to the entire feast and not just the Passover dinner, in which case they were most likely concerned with eating the feast-offering that was presented on Friday morning, as this use in John has shown (cf.
- Is there anything to be said regarding the verse in which Jesus “rising from supper” (John 13:4) in order to wash the feet of the disciples?
- in the morning and another in the late afternoon, according to the Talmud.
- 26:20; Mark 14:17; John 13:30; cf.
11:23) “The Lord’s Supper” (Thomas Schreiner’s The Lord’s Supper, page 20).
As a result, Jesus may have risen from his meal to wash the feet of his followers before the official start of the Passover festival.
24:1-11) is the primary Old Testament connection for the Lord’s Supper, it is also true that it takes place during the Feast of the Passover and not during the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot or Pentecost), which commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
However, this argument misses three essential facts: (1) The bread, which is easily broken, lends itself nicely to symbolizing the broken body of Christ, as shown in the illustration.
(3) There is a very clear theological explanation for why the Gospels do not mention the paschal lamb: the emphasis is on Jesus, who is the ultimate Paschal Lamb ready to be killed, and hence the paschal lamb is not mentioned.
“Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed,” writes the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7, and it is this sacrifice that we remember and celebrate in the Lord’s Supper.
Was The Meal Served At The Biblical Passover Seder And For The Last Supper A Healthy One?
Food has played an essential role in religious writings since the beginning of time, when the forbidden fruit was first eaten in the Garden of Eden. Meals shared throughout the Bible, whether they are rich in spices or rich in importance, may provide us with a sense of what life was like back then. It was customary for Jews to have the Passover Seder holiday supper to honor God’s generosity in sparing them from the plague of the death of the first-born son in Egypt, as well as their subsequent emancipation from slavery.
This dinner, known as the Last Supper, was a Passover Seder meal that Jesus Christ and his apostles shared to commemorate this historic occasion.
APPETIZERS: Fruit Salad (chopped apples, figs, dates, with walnuts or almonds) Parsley that has been dunked in salt water Egg Matzah is a type of Jewish bread (tortilla-sized, crispy, unleavened bread) Bitter radish or horseradish Herbs that have been soaked in Charoset Lettuce Roasted lamb is a dish that may be enjoyed by the whole family.
- It was formerly created by boiling dates, squeezing them through a cloth, and further reducing the resulting liquid.
- Fiber and antioxidants found in fruits such as these would have been beneficial in the prevention of ailments such as heart disease, cancer, diverticulitis, and diabetes, amongst others.
- The color green represented spring or youth, and it served as a reminder that God saved the Israelites by dividing the salty waters of the Red Sea to allow them to flee from Pharaoh while they were yet a fledgling nation.
- Even a modest amount of salt would have been beneficial in order to maintain correct fluid balance and maintain normal blood pressure.
- Eggs include a large amount of high-quality protein, which helps to build muscular strength, as well as nutrients such as choline (which is great for brain processes) and lutein (which is beneficial for vision) (helpful for preventing macular degeneration and blindness).
- Unleavened bread (which has a flavor similar to that of a cracker), also known as matzah, is a healthy carbohydrate source that provides fuel for the body and provides energy.
- To make this meal, radishes, chicory, and horseradish were utilized.
This group of plants and fruits contains phytochemicals that help in digestion and support intestinal health.
Lettuce represented the shift in Egyptian perceptions about Jews that had taken place throughout time.
Then they turned bitter, like lettuce that had been left out in the field for too long.
Despite the fact that the lamb was a vital component of the dinner, it was not the main course, and the amount would have been fairly little (maybe even just a few bites), especially when compared to modern-day expectations.
Aside from cattle, they also ate wild gazelle, chicken, peacock, quail, and pheasant, among other things (the most expensive after beef).
Small portions of red meat like this would have been high in iron and zinc, which would have been beneficial for development, mental attention, and the recovery from injuries.
Flavonoids, which are found in olives and other fruits and vegetables, assist to protect the body from free radicals, which are harmful substances that may damage cells and cause cancer and heart disease.
On the basis of multiple Biblical scriptures that link wine to blood, we conclude that the wine in question was most likely red rather than white in color (Ezekiel 19:10, Isaiah 49:26).
Another clue to the color of the wine comes from the Hebrew word for wine — hamra — which is derived from the term for a shade of deep red.
When eaten in moderation and in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular physical activity, red wine is known to provide heart-healthy advantages due to its favorable influence on the good cholesterol in the blood.
Estimating portion sizes from Biblical times is difficult, but the following amounts per person were considered to be typical at the time of writing: a medium boiled egg, a matzah cracker, 1 tablespoon raw chicory greens, 14 cup fruit salad (charoset), 4 lettuce leaves, 1 ounce cooked lamb, and 12 ounces (4 cups of 3 ounce each) red wine The Bible refers to Israel as “a country of milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8 and Deuteronomy 26:15), which refers to the land’s ability to provide food for God’s people.
The Passover Seder and the Last Supper in the Bible were also intended to sustain His people and serve as a significant reminder of His promises to them.
With the aid of Rabbi Judith Z.
We would like to express our gratitude to Arnold G.
The following is a reference: Feinberg Vamosh, M. From Adam’s Apple to the Last Supper: A History of Food in Biblical Times Abingdon Press published this book in 2004. Keli Hawthorne, a Registered Dietitian, is the author of this article.
Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder?
Following are comments from two sources that will give you some information on your question regarding the precise nature of the last supper. As you can see, it is a hotly debated topic. FromThe New Bible Dictionary The Last Supper. This ‘farewell meal’ was also a pre-arranged (Mk. 14:13-16) and deliberate act. It was in some sense a *Passover meal, though possibly held a day before the official celebration, in the knowledge that the next evening would be too late. (See *Lord’s Supper,I.afor details of the date.) At the meal Jesus gave some vital last instructions to his closest disciples in view of his imminent departure, and also revealed that he was to be betrayed by one of their number (though without apparently identifying the traitor explicitly, except perhaps to John, Jn.
- (though without apparently identifying the traitor explicitly, except perhaps to John, Jn.
- But the focus of the meal was the symbolic sharing of bread and wine which he gave as tokens that his coming death was to be for the benefit of his disciples (and beyond them of ‘many’).
- (See further *Lord’s Supper,.bfor the significance of the words used on this occasion.) It finally put an end to any doubts his disciples may have had of his commitment to death, as the will of the Father for him.
- The Last Suppera.
- The precise nature of the meal which the Lord shared with his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed is one of the most warmly debated topics of NT history and interpretation.
- 1.The traditional explanation is that the meal was the customary Passover feast, and this can claim the support of the Gospel records, both Synoptic (e.g.Mk.
- There are features of the meal which students of Judaism (notably P.
13:29), and the use of the ‘sop’ which is dipped in the specialh£aro„setsauce as a memorial of the bitterness of the Egyp.
See the full details in G.
106ff., and J.
The earlier judgment was similar to that expressed by Hans Lietzmann, who dismissed the Paschal theory of the Supper as containing scarcely ‘the least vestige of probability’ (Mass and Lord’s Supper, E.T.
2.The data which caused some questioning of the traditional view are mainly derived from the Fourth Gospel, which apparently dates the events of the Supper evening and the passion a day earlier than the Synoptics.
13:1; 18:28; 19:14, 31, 42, the crucifixion happened a day before Nisan 15, which is the Synoptic reckoning, and the Last Supper was, of course, eaten on the evening before that.
Thus there is an apparentimpasse, which is further complicated by the allegation that the Synoptic account is not consistent with itself; for instance, Lk.
For those scholars who prefer to support the Johannine dating (e.g.J.
Bernard in theICConJohn) and believe that the last meal could therefore not have been the Passover, the question arises, what type of meal, then, was it?
3.As a modification of this suggestion Hans Lietzmann put forward the idea that the meal was an ordinary one, and the Lord and his disciples, who shared it, formed a religious association called ah£abu„ra„h, similar to the groups in which the Pharisees met.
4.In the light of recent researches into the influence of separate calendars which were used for calculating feast-days, it is now possible to consider again the older submissions of P.
Pickl that the two strata of Gospel evidence may be harmonized on the assumption that both are understandable, with each reflecting a different tradition.
This was dismissed by critics as lacking in supporting evidence, but the Dead Sea Scrolls show that there were divergent calendars in use in heterodox Jewry, and it is possible that separate traditions were, in fact, in vogue at the time of the passion.
Jaubert has recently reconstructed the events on this basis so as to harmonize the data of the Gospels and early liturgical witnesses (in her bookThe Date of the Last Supper, E.T.
See for an acceptance of her thesis, E.
Ellis,The Gospel of Luke2,NCB, 1974, pp.
and Mlle Jaubert’s later contribution inNTS14, 1967-8, pp.
Whether the date of the Supper will ever be conclusively determined is uncertain; but we may certainly believe that, whatever the exact nature of the meal, there were Passover ideas in the Lord’s mind when he sat down with the disciples.
12 and interpreted in theHagga„da„hfor Passover and the Mishnaic tractatePesah£im, provides the indispensable key to an understanding of the meal and also the meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the early.
This conclusion is reinforced by recent studies in typology which have shown the importance of the OT events in their ‘typological’ significance for the NT writers; and no complex of saving events comes more decisively to the foreground in the thinking of early Christianity than the Exodus and redemption from Egypt (cf.H.
- 81-95; J.
- Preiss,Life in Christ, E.T.
- 90, who shows the place of ‘the totality of the events of the Exodus centering on the Passover’ in both Jewish and Christian traditions.
Christian scholarship generally accepts the traditional view that the day of the crucifixion was Friday because the day following was the sabbath (Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54; Jn 19:31), and because the women visited the tomb the next day after the sabbath, the first day of the week or Sunday (Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1).
- Assuming that Friday was the actual day of Christ’s death, the problem is in trying to determine whether or not the Last Supper was a Passover meal.
- However, the picture in John is that the Passover meal of the Jews occurred on Friday evening, after the death and burial of Christ.
- The term “preparation” both in the Synoptics (Mt 27:62; Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54) and in John (19:31, 42) always has reference to the day before the sabbath,i.e., to Friday.
- In conclusion, then, the Synoptics present the picture that the Last Supper was the Passover meal, whereas John gives the idea that the Passover was not celebrated by the Jews until after Jesus’ death and burial.
- There are several approaches within this basic solution.
- Others think that Jesus and His disciples followed Qumran calendar and ate their Passover on Tuesday evening (FLAP, p.
- Regarding these two views, however, it is difficult to understand why the priests at the temple would have slain a lamb especially for Jesus’ disciples before the official time.
- Hence, Jesus and His disciples were among those who ate the Passover on Thursday.
Mark (14:12) literally says, “when they were sacrificingthe Passover,” that Jesus’ disciples asked Him where to prepare to eat the Passover.
Jesus Didn’t Eat a Seder Meal
When it comes to Christians, P assover holds a distinct fascination. When Jesus of Nazareth gathers with his 12 disciples for the Last Supper, it is on the night of Passover, when all of Israel is sacrificing the pascal Lamb and eating matza (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs on the slopes of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, that the events of the Passion play out. This may be the most well-known of all the Passover meals. Both of these meals—Jesus’ Last Supper and the first Passover meal—serve as kickoff events for the Christian faith.
Accordingly, for the believing Christian, it is no coincidence that Jesus gathers the disciples at the exact moment of the Passover meal to signal that this meal is the fulfillment and successor to the first Passover meal, and that, like the first, the Last Supper heralds the beginning of a new religious community.
- But for Jews, the first and most significant Passover supper, as recorded in Exodus 12, is the most important of all.
- The first Passover supper is enjoyed in small groups, family by family, at each house.
- In other words, the entire Jewish family, in all of its joy and complexity, was there for that first Passover giving.
- There has been a resurgence of interest in the Jewish Passover among Christians.
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Was the Last Supper really a Passover Seder?
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is a masterpiece. The Last Supper has long been a subject of intellectual debate and half-baked conjecture, and it continues to be. In everything from the Council of Trent to The Da Vinci Code, church authorities and scholars have studied images of Jesus’ final dinner for answers to concerns both holy (such as the nature of transubstantiation) and profane (such as the nature of the devil) (increasing portion size). Within these denominational disagreements and popular theories, one relatively basic issue continues to perplex academics: what is the nature of God?
- At first inspection, the Last Supper bears a striking similarity to the customary Passover dinner, which is not surprising.
- A Passover celebration is marked by the recitation of prayers, the consumption of wine, and the breaking of bread.
- As a result, Jesus is transformed into the sacrificial “Lamb of God,” as described in John 1:29.
- According to Gregory Dix, author of the widely important book The Shape of the Liturgy, there is a direct connection between the structure of the Eucharist with that of the Passover feast.
- A deeper examination of the Gospels, on the other hand, exposes a number of inconsistencies.
Taking the example of Matthew 26:17, which tackles the argument about where to have the meal, it says, “Now on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus and said unto him, Where dost thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?” Mark, Matt, and Luke, on the other hand, are known for being untrustworthy.
According to John, the Last Supper took place on the day before Passover, which is widely considered more reliable (at least in terms of biographical facts).
What is the best way for scholars to reconcile these two seemingly incompatible accounts?
The Biblical Archeology Review quotes Jonathan Klawans as saying that the Last Supper is “typical of the Passover dinner, but it is also indicative of nearly every Jewish meal”: While reclining is unique to Passover, all Jewish dinners begin with blessings over wine and bread, which is a custom across the world.
Davies’ The Sermon on the Mount claims that the connection between the Last Supper and the Passover was forged in part by early Christians who desired to link Jesus’ crucifixion to the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt.
Sanders of the University of Oxford situates the Last Supper within the context of the Passover festival, but he avoids the more fundamental question of whether it was a Passover Seder.
In accordance with this theory, which was advanced in the 1960s by French biblical scholar Annie Jaubert and cited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, Jesus and his disciples were following the calendar of the rebellious Pharisee sect, which celebrated the beginning of Passover a day earlier than the rest of the Jewish people.
- The Passover ceremonies that Jews are familiar with today were created over many years, including Hellenistic banquet traditions, Aramaic folk music, and rabbinic commentary.
- Several of the delicacies that many American Jews associate with Passover, such gefilte fish, brisket, and matzo-ball soup, are really from Eastern European countries.
- Because it is so central to the story of Jesus’ life and death, the Last Supper is of fundamental importance to all individuals who seek to have a deeper understanding and follow the faith he established.
- Christian Seder websites such as ChristianSeder.com and Christian Haggadahs such as ChristianSeder.com make this activity more accessible.
Cackie Upchurch, director of the Little Rock Scripture Study, told a reporter for the Arkansas Catholic that her church’s Seder “truly links us with our Jewish brothers and sisters, as well as with the foundations of our religion.” “It brings to life the underlying pattern of all of Scripture, which is captivity, liberation, and covenant,” writes the author.
If the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, we may never find out whether it was. There’s only hope that all of this religious intermingling may one day pave the way for Jewish Easter egg hunts to become a thing of the past. Join the Slateon Facebook page and become a fan. You may follow us on Twitter.
The Passover meal and the Last Supper (Mark 14: 12–26) – The death and resurrection of Jesus – CCEA – GCSE Religious Studies Revision – CCEA
Passover is a Jewish event that takes place once a year. In this holiday, the ancient Israelites are commemorated for their escape from the Egyptian oppression. Jesus and his followers had gathered together for the Passover dinner. As this would be the final dinner that Jesus would have with his disciples, he adapted aspects of the Passover feast to serve as symbolic of his death. While they were seated at the meal, Jesus delivered a startling revelation. He predicted that one of his disciples, “the one who dips his bread in the dish with me,” would betray him.
- The disciples were startled and worried, and they said, “Surely not me?” Jesus declared that it would have been preferable if the traitor had never been born in the first place.
- After that, Jesus asked that his deeds be repeated, which resulted in the most important rite in Christian history: the Passover feast.
- He followed the same procedure with the wine.
- Jesus’ death would serve as the ultimate sacrifice, allowing all people to accept God’s forgiveness at the hands of the Son of God.
How could Jesus and His disciples have eaten a Passover meal on Wednesday night? Do you think that lamb was eaten during their meal?
If Jesus and His followers were not eating the Passover feast on Wednesday night, how could they have done so? What makes you believe that lamb was consumed during their meal? Received an email: I’m still leaning toward a Thursday crucifixion, as you are, and I appreciate your perspective. You didn’t answer on your website, however, one of the most significant issues with our stance, which I believe to be the most essential one: how could Jesus have a Passover supper on Wednesday, the 13th of Nisan (which is actually the Jewish 14th of Nisan, between 6 pm and midnight)?
- They would not have been able to sacrifice their Passover lamb for the final Passover/Supper Lord’s if they had been present.
- Response from Ted: First and foremost, it is critical that we use the same terminology when referring to certain time periods.
- My Good Thursdaycommentary refers to time periods from a Hebraic/Jewish perspective, which means that each new 24-hour day begins and finishes at sunset, not at midnight, as stated in the Torah.
- This day would have spanned the period of time from sunset on Wednesday to sunrise on Thursday, which would have been 14 Nisan (Thursday).
- What it appears that you are asking is how Jesus could have eaten a Passover supper towards the beginning of Thursday, 14 Nisan, and just after sunset on Wednesday, 13 Nisan, when the Jewish calendar says he should have done so.
- Although there does not appear to be any historical evidence, it appears that some Jews celebrated Passover on the 14th of Nisan, while others celebrated it on the 15th of Nisan.
- In accordance with Exodus 12:6-8, eating the meal after sunset, when 15 Nisan officially began, would be appropriate.
Some speculated that, because Judas was in control of the money, Jesus was ordering him to go out and purchase the supplies he would need for the Passover Feast.
In order to ensure that He would be alive to celebrate the ceremonial Passover dinner the next night, Jesus ate the meal with His followers on the 14th of Nisan (one night earlier than the bulk of other Jews would do).
Otherwise, He could not have been crucified at the same time that the other Passover lambs were sacrificed, which was in the middle of the day on Nisan 14, according to tradition.
Regarding the question of whether or not Jesus and His followers ate lamb that night, I have a strong preference for believing that they did not.
The disciples, in preparing for a Passover supper, would appear to have violated a more serious regulation, by slaughtering a lamb nearly a day early, than they would have broken by eating a Passover meal a night sooner than the majority of Jewish people.
As a matter of fact, as they parched their bread and drank their wine, they were consuming the “body” and “blood” of Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb, as metaphorically expressed in the Torah.
More information may be found in thelambsection of my overallPassover and crucifixion on Thursdaysection, which has more specifics.
Go back to Ted’s Email Frequently Asked Questions and Answers To Ted’s Bible Commentaries and Other Resources, click here. View the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) on the Internet. To Ted’s personal homepage, click here.
What Can the Seder Supper Teach Us about the Lord’s Supper?
According to the First Church in Albany, in Albany, New York (adapted from the Heidelberg Catechism) Prepare a special dinner (either as a family or with your church) to commemorate the account of Jesus’ final supper with his followers and repeat it to your children. For the meal honoring the Lord’s Supper, here is a list of questions you might want to consider asking. Allow youngsters or a kid to take turns asking the questions, with an elder or an adult responding in response to each inquiry.
- Describe what makes this night distinct from all the others.
This was the night that Jesus and his buddies gathered together for a special lunch. That night before he was crucified on the cross, Jesus had a dream. His body was offered up for them. He took bread and gave thanks, then broke the bread and handed it to them, saying, “This is my body given up for you.” “This is my blood that has been spilt for you,” he remarked as he took a cup of wine. In memory of me, please do this task.”
- What happens when the bread and wine are transformed into the true body and blood of Christ?
Although the bread of the Lord’s Supper does not become the actual body of Christ, it does serve as a reminder and promise of God’s love for us during this time of year.
- What is the significance of Jesus referring to the bread as his body and the cup as his blood?
The crucified and shed blood of Jesus Christ are meant to educate us that just as food and wine nourish our physical bodies, so his crucified and shed blood nourish our spiritual bodies. We should also be aware that we are participating in Jesus’ genuine flesh and blood through these signs of the bead and cup, as well as by the activity of the Holy Spirit, which we may learn more about here.
- What does it mean to be a participant in Jesus’ body and blood
It entails accepting with a believing heart that his body was provided for us and that his blood was spilt for us, and that he offers us forgiveness and new life as a result of his sacrifice. It also implies that the Holy Spirit, who dwells in Jesus, is also present in us, transforming us into individuals who are more and more like Jesus.
- Is it okay for me to bring bread and grape juice and partake of the Lord’s Supper by myself?
No, this is a supper that Jesus wants us to eat as a group, as a family. The fact that we are eating and drinking together serves as a reminder that Jesus desires for us to love one another and to forgive one another. When we consider how much Jesus suffered for our sake, we are moved to tears by the thought. The fact that Jesus resurrected from the grave and will return again makes this a feast to be celebrated and enjoyed with great glee. Come to the table to partake of the bread and drink from the cup if you have been baptized and believe that Jesus loves you and sacrificed himself for you.
Why Did Jesus Want to Eat That Last Supper?
Blog of the Bible Engager Almost every Sunday, congregations around the United States gather to commemorate Jesus’ “Last Supper” by partaking in communion together. They recall Jesus’ words while they eat bread or wafers and drink grape juice or wine, which are as follows: “Take, eat; this is My body which has been broken for you; do this in memory of Me.” This cup represents the new covenant made by My blood. As long as you drink it in recollection of Me, this is what you should do” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
As a child, I was astonished and delighted to discover that Jesus’ final supper occurred at a Passover banquet and that the bread he broke was unleavened bread (matzah). The meaning of Jesus’ words and deeds on that night were immediately crystal plain to me.
How Jesus used Passover
Passover was the very first festival ever given to the Jewish people by God himself. When the Israelites were expelled from Egypt, the Lord gave them specific instructions on how to commemorate the event—by gathering with their families and friends on the 14th day of the month of Aviv to recount the story of their miraculous exodus. The meal consisted of unleavened bread, wine, bitter herbs, and roasted lamb. This was to be a permanent regulation that would be followed by all future generations (see Exodus 12:1-18; Deuteronomy 16:1-8).
As a result, in the days leading up to his arrest, Jesus faithfully enjoyed the Passover dinner with his followers on the 14th day of Aviv, as was customary at the time (see Matthew 26:17-19; John 13:1).
When I initially learnt about this, I had a lot of questions, including: “Why is this bread?” What was the significance of that specific cup?
As a result, although there are several additional ways in which the Passover meal might assist us in understanding Jesus’ many remarks that night, let us begin with a look at the four essential elements of the Passover table: unleavened bread, bitter herbs, wine, and roasted lamb.
The Unleavened Bread (Matzah)
Over the course of seven days during Passover, God instructed the Israelites to consume only unleavened bread (that is, bread that has not been fermented with yeast). The point was to have an annual reminder of how they left Egypt in a hurry. After that, matzah became known as “the bread of affliction,” as it served as a reminder of their slavery, and “the bread of freedom,” as a symbol of their liberation following their hasty expulsion from Egypt in the first century CE (see Deuteronomy 16:3).
Because matzah has no yeast, it also doesn’t rise, and so must be pierced all over to prevent it from burning–though striped burn marks are often inevitable.
Although righteous and blameless (i.e., without sin), the prophet Isaiah foretells that the Messiah would be “pierced for our transgressions” and that “by his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Then, he broke it and divided it among his disciples. Jesus would be pierced, striped, and “broken” in the coming days. He would give himself up to affliction, explaining to his disciples that his body was to be “given for” (Luke 22:19)—in other words, for their freedom.
The Bitter Herbs (Maror)
In order to fulfill God’s command, the Jewish people were forced to consume bitter herbs during their Passover dinner (Numbers 9:11). They would celebrate much more in their liberation if they were reminded of their harrowing servitude in Egypt during their exile. It was during this portion of the dinner that Jesus revealed to his followers that one of them was going to betray him. Then he delivered Judas the matzah that had been steeped with bitter herbs (John 13:26). Jesus recognized that in order to purchase our release from the bonds of sin, he would have to face the anguish of being unfairly caught, insulted and spit upon, beaten, and finally nailed to a cross to die via crucifixion.
When Jesus gave Judas the bitter herbs and then released him from the table, he communicated his regret while also demonstrating his entire readiness to suffer and mourn on our behalf.
We are told that after breaking bread, Jesus took up a cup of wine and declared it to be the new covenant in his blood, according to three different gospel narratives. The apostles Luke and Paul go on to say that this is the cup after supper. What is the significance of the fact that the cup comes after the bread being mentioned by all four authors? In this case, Jewish tradition may be quite beneficial. The oral teachings of different rabbis – notably Rabbi Gamaliel (teacher of the apostle Paul), Rabbi Hillel, and Rabbi Shammai (both of whom were contemporaries of Jesus) – are documented in writing in the Mishnah Pesachim.
- I will release you from your servitude to them, and I will redeem you with an extended arm and with tremendous deeds of judgment, as I have done in the past.
- That is then you will realize that I am the Lord your God, who delivered you from the tyranny of the Egyptians (Exodus 6:6-7).
- While they were still captives in Egypt, this cup after supper (known as “the cup of redemption”) represented the blood of the lamb that was poured on the door frames of the Israelites’ dwellings to signify to the angel of death that they should pass over their homes.
- In his post-supper speech, when Jesus raised the cup and said that it would now represent the new covenant in his blood, he was foreshadowing his future position as the new, second, and better “lamb of God who aways the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
The Roasted Lamb (Z’roah)
After supper, we learnt that Jesus was informing his followers that he would be the Passover lamb, sacrificed for their redemption and freedom, as evidenced by the cup. And, despite the fact that Jesus and his disciples consumed the requisite roasted lamb that night, it was until 40 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection that the Jewish people discontinued the practice of eating lamb on Passover. When the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, all types of animal sacrifice, including the slaughter of Passover lambs, came to an abrupt halt.
Instead, a roasted lamb bone is placed on the Passover table in the homes of religious Jews.
Jesus has now become our everlasting “lamb of God,” who has eternally set us free from the bonds of sin and brought us into a new and eternal covenant with the Father.
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