Passover vs Last Supper
The distinction between Passover and Last Supper lies in what each meal represents. Passover in Israel is the most important religious festival that commemorates the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, where they had lived as slaves and were instructed by God to be freed from the yokes of slavery. He asked them to wait until he visited 10 plagues on Egypt. The Pharaoh eventually banished Israelites from Egypt. Millions of people believe that Jesus’ Last Supper was, in fact, a Passover meal in commemoration of the Jewish festival called Passover. Experts in biblical studies claim the Last Supper to be the Passover, while many do not believe in drawing parallels between the Last Supper and the Passover. Let us take a closer look though we may never be able to get to the truth as we can only speculate.
What is the Last Supper?
The Last Supper, which is a very important event in the life of Jesus, and perhaps the whole of Christianity, relates to the first day of the unleavened bread, which is indeed the Passover day. The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus prepared the supper that he had with 12 of his disciples. Jesus sacrificed the Passover lamb in the morning, and he and his disciples gathered to have a meal soon thereafter. This suggests that it certainly would have been a Passover meal. The most authoritative book of Last Supper, written by Joachim Jeremias, lists no less than 14 parallels between the Last Supper and Passover Seder.
What is Passover?
Passover is a significant event of remembrance of the exodus of Israelites from Egypt. In Exodus 12, God instructs the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb before the sun has set on the 14th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. The blood of the lamb has to be smeared on the doorposts so that when God sees it, he passes over the houses of Israelites without harming them while bringing upon the Egyptians, the last and the 12th plague killing the first born sons of every Egyptian family. The event became a religious festival of the Jews, and they make the sacrifice of the lamb on this day in the morning and then consume it in the evening.
After the creation of Israel, and construction of a Temple in Jerusalem, the festival of Passover changed and now all Israelites sacrifice a lamb at the temple on the 14th of the month of Nisan and then consume it on the 15th. Slowly and gradually, many rituals got built around the feast, and the event was referred as Seder. The unleavened bread started to be used with the wine being served. The diners started to sing hymns and, during the event, the story of the 12th Exodus began to be told, and the use of bitter herbs and wine began to be explained. This, of course, looks similar to the explanation given by Jesus about the use of bread and wine during the Last Supper.
What is the difference between Passover and Last Supper?
• Definition of Passover and Last Supper:
• The event Passover, which signifies the remembrance of the exodus of Israelites from Egypt, is a very important religious festival observed by Jews.
• The Last Supper, which is a historical event, is very important in the life of Jesus.
Therefore, all Christians, bear much resemblance.
• It is believed that Last Supper was a Passover meal.
• The two events are related and bring the Christians and the Jews emotionally together.
• Passover is an event where Israelites sacrifice the lamb on the 14th day of the month of Nisan and consume it with bread and wine on the 15th.
• The Last Supper was the last meal Jesus had with his 12 apostles, after sacrificing a lamb in the morning and then consuming it with bread and wine in the evening.
• Different Views:
• There are those who say that Last Supper was a Passover meal.
• The Eastern Orthodox Church strongly rejects this idea and says the Last Supper was a separate meal.
As you can see, different people have different views about Last Supper being a Passover meal. One can only follow what one believes to be true.
The Last Supper, ca. 1520, by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
Passover by Eczebulun (CC BY-SA 3.0)