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April 11, 2009 / Nick

Jesus ate the Passover in time to become the Passover


As we celebrate Christ this Easter season I wanted to share something here which has been a blessing to me since I first saw it back in December.   Christ ate the Passover in time that He could still be the Passover.

Let me explain.

In the Synoptic Gospel’s we learn that the last supper eaten by Jesus, with his disciples, was a Passover meal (Heb. Seder) e.g. Mark 14:12. 

And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? Marl 14:12

However, it is when we get to John’s Gospel account that we realise Jesus did not eat his Seder meal at the same time as the Jews in Jerusalem.  He ate his Seder meal early with his disciples. 

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgement: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgement hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. John 18:28

What we see here is that on the morning after Jesus had eaten His Passover meal (Last Supper) with His disciples the Priests had not yet eaten Passover, telling us that Jesus had eaten His Passover meal a night early. 

Why? 

There are a few possible reasons for this.  However, one that came to my attention  is that in the North of Israel (Galilee) their was a time difference–which meant that in the North they would have been eating their Passover a day prior to the South.  As Jesus and 11 of the 12 were from the North they ate their Passover meal according to the Galilee time.  The Priests being from Jerusalem ate theirs the following night. 

This perculiarily of time allowed Christ to eat His Passover meal in time to become the Passover Himself the following day.  At the time the lambs were being slain, which started at c. midday, Christ was on the Cross.  At the time the Jews hurried home to roast their lambs and the last of the animals was slain was c. 3pm – Christ gave up the ghost.  At the same time the Jews were rushing to put their lamb in the oven Christ was being laid in the tomb.

Jesus Christ ate the Passover and then He became the Passover, at the same time as the Passover lamb was slain.

Awesome!

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11 Comments

  1. David Moorman / Jun 19 2009 10:44 pm

    John 18:28 is recounting Caiaphas and the judges of Jesus hadn’t eaten yet. Jesus was already captive at this point. Jesus ate the passover in John 13.

    • jesusblogger / Jun 21 2009 10:59 pm

      PTL David,

      The High Priest et al at the Passover meal 24 hours later than Jesus ate with his disciples.

      This is because Jesus at His Passover early. That He might be the Passover Lamb, slain on the day of Nisan 14th.

  2. David Moorman / Jun 22 2009 12:21 am

    Well, if one understands that a Hebrew day started at sunset and and ended at sundown and it was not observed on Roman/Julian time one can see that Jesus ate His passover meal on Thursday right after sundown, which would have been Nisan 14. He was arrested that night and appeared before Caiaphas and the judges on the same night before they ate their passover meal. Since Jesus died at 3:00PM on Friday, which was before sundown (6:00PM) thus it was still Nisan 14. It only became Nisan 15 at sundown.

    If Caiaphas and the judges ate their passover meal 24 hours after Jesus (which John 18:28 does not indicate), and remember Jesus was arrested at night, then they would have eaten their passover on the 15th of Nisan, not the 14th. The NIV says it very plainly: “Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. (Caiaphas and the judges had not eaten the passover yet.). Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go in themselves because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover feast.”

    Hope that helps and I didn’t confuse the issue. I just wanted to point out that your idea of two different times, in light of how the Hebrews kept time wouldn’t be accurate.

    • jesusblogger / Jun 22 2009 10:13 pm

      Hi David,

      I understand that the Hebrew day is evening and then morning.

      You make an interesting point, that perhaps the priests ate their Passover meal after Jesus’ trial with Pilate. However, if we follow the text through from chapter 18 of John to chapter 19 we see that the priests are present throughout Jesus’ trial and scourging by Pilate, so it is unlikely they went and ate the passover meal on the same night as Jesus.

      Also, the Passover meal as I am sure you know, was an elaborate evening of events involving at least 4 courses and the re-telling of the Exodus story… this was not a quick meal. Men had to sit back and recline through it, unlike the first night it was not rushed by the Jews.

      Dr William Barclay makes the case for Jesus eating Passover early in his work The Last Supper and Lord’s Supper. He presents the several arguments to reconcile John 18:28 with the synoptics but concludes that Jesus must have eaten early.

      In actuality, Jesus eating His passover on the 13 Nisan would have allowed Jesus to fulfil the typology of the Passover lamb which was slain during the afternoon of 14 Nisan between 12pm and 3pm. Exactly when Christ was on the cross the lambs were being slain. Then as the day ended and the evening of the 15 Nisan started the Priests sat down to eat their meal, as Jesus was laid to rest… then the next day 15 Nisan AM was a High Sabbath as the first day of unleavened bread.

      • David Moorman / Jun 22 2009 10:41 pm

        Just simply pointing out that had the priests waited to eat the passover on Friday night, under Hebrew time keeping of sundown to sundown they would have eaten the passover on the first night of the feast of unleavened bread.

        Also, as far as I know, the tradition of “elaborate evening of events involving at least 4 courses and the re-telling of the Exodus story” is from Talmudic Rabbinicalism and there is no indication in the scripture that the practice of the Seder meal was done by Christ.

        If you are reasoning that Wednesday night was the 13th of Nisan and Jesus would have eaten then there really is no scriptural evidence for that. Because if Jesus began to shed blood on the 13th He would have been 4 days in the “hearts of the earth” and not 3 making the sign of Jonah meaningless.

        The Bible tells us plainly that Jesus ate the passover at night (John 13:33), on Thursday evening, the 14th of Nisan, began to bleed in Gethsemane, that He was arrested and tried during the evening.

    • jesusblogger / Jun 22 2009 10:14 pm

      Also, “Jesus died at 3pm on Friday”.

      If you check into a hotel at 3pm on Friday and leave it Sunday AM, and they charge you for 3 nights I think you’d have an argument.

      The Sabbath after Christ’s crucifixion was day 1 of unleavened bread, not the regular weekly Sabbath. Good Friday is the result of a Roman understanding of Jewish calendar/time – as you said it’s important we understand from a Jewish POV.

      • David Moorman / Jun 22 2009 10:24 pm

        Hbr 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

        Jesus began to shed His blood on Thursday evening at Gethsemane. That is where He began to take on our sins. Hence He was “3 days” in the “heart” of the earth. It is a common misconception that Jesus was “dead” 3 days and then rose. “Heart of the earth” simply means “in the middle of the action.”

        Thus we see that the scenario was Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night.

        • jesusblogger / Jun 22 2009 10:32 pm

          David, in all honesty the debate as to when Jesus was crucified is one that has been ongoing for centuries. I think the important thing is for us both to believe he died for our sin, and that he rose on the 3rd day. Fair to say I’m of the Wednesday view on this one and you are in the traditional view of Friday. Both have their merits… I won’t try to persuade you. I don’t think having a different view on the day of Christ’s death makes either of us a heretic.

          • David Moorman / Jun 22 2009 10:47 pm

            No, I would certain agree with most of what you said. I simply believe that understanding and accepting the clear evidence of scipture and accuracy of John’s account is vital in being able to understand all things regarding scripture and the fulfillment of prophecy.

            I would just point out this as I did before. If you go with Wednesday night that totally nullifies the Hebrew method of keeping time making the scripture less reliable in my mind. It leaves Jesus in the Heart of the earth 4 days and not 3 and confuses the issue in a way that Scripture doesn’t.

  3. David Moorman / Jun 22 2009 10:23 pm

    Also, “Jesus died at 3pm on Friday”.

    If you check into a hotel at 3pm on Friday and leave it Sunday AM, and they charge you for 3 nights I think you’d have an argument.

    The Sabbath after Christ’s crucifixion was day 1 of unleavened bread, not the regular weekly Sabbath. Good Friday is the result of a Roman understanding of Jewish calendar/time – as you said it’s important we understand from a Jewish POV.

    Hbr 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

    Jesus began to shed His blood on Thursday evening at Gethsemane. That is where He began to take on our sins. Hence He was “3 days” in the “heart” of the earth. It is a common misconception that Jesus was “dead” 3 days and then rose. “Heart of the earth” simply means “in the middle of the action.”

    Thus we see that the scenario was Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night.

  4. G Simmons / Sep 6 2009 9:41 pm

    Hi Guys,
    I just read all of these. I think your arguments were interesting but might have a little to do those arguments Paul was telling Timothy to avoid. Look what you could have been doing with all that time you wasted. As a matter of fact, look at the time I wasted just reading about them. Let’s just go outside, get some air, and tell someone about Jesus and what he DID do for us.
    G

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