The Passover / Last Supper / Timing of the Crucifixion issue in all its glory will be re-explored on Messianic Jewish Musings. Over the years, the posts about these matters have repeatedly been the favorite and most-searched ones on Messianic Jewish Musings. Also, resources and help for those wanting a deeper understanding of Passover, the haggadah, and their history will be a recurring theme in February and into the beginning of April. So stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I’d enjoy hearing from those who are already tuned in before the inevitable explosion of visitors who will come for these posts. What are some questions and issues about this general subject area that are most important to you? Do you have any brief comments to make, resources you think people should know about, etc?
Issues include the following questions: (1) Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder? (2) Do John and the other three gospels have a discrepancy? (3) If we think there is a discrepancy, which might we accept as historical? (4) Was Yeshua crucified on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? (5) What was Passover like in the first century? (6) What elements in the synoptic gospels are clearly Passover customs? (7) Are there signs of a Passover Seder in John? (8) What is the origin of the Christian communion / Eucharist / Lord’s Supper? (9) What can we tell from the New Testament about some practices in the Pauline congregations? (10) How has the Passover haggadah and the Seder in Judaism developed over time? (11) What are some good resources for Messianic Jews to celebrate Passover? (12) What are some good resources for Christians to have an adapted Passover for non-Jews? (13) Is it improper, as some claim, for non-Jews to celebrate Passover?
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All of your questions are good ones to discuss. I’m curious to know what others think about the day of the week when the crucifixion occurred and whether it fell on Nisan 14 or Nisan 15. I’ve looked at this issue from a number of angles and realize that any position you take will have problems. Also, the conclusions one draws here will have a direct bearing on your first question of whether or not the meal was a Passover Seder. Perhaps it was a last meal commonly shared by a rabbi and his disciples upon the completion of a course of study.
I’m also curious to know how the Passover Seder was celebrated by Western Diaspora Jews as compared to what we see in the Mishna, which seems to reflect Jewish practice in Judea, Galilee, Syria and lands to the east. When looking at 1st century Christian congregations, did their customs more closely align with either of these two groups, or did they practice something altogether different?
How’s that for geting the discussion started?
Good stuff, David (healthtourist). Two books I will be adding to my reading list in preparation are Anthony Saldarini, Jesus and Passover, and I. Howard Marshall, Last Supper and Lord’s Supper. I have already read and will comment on Scot McKnight’s arguments in Jesus and His Death. I have also assimilated many commentaries on the gospels into my knowledge base since I started writing on this topic back in 2007.
Thanks, Derek. I think your coming series is well timed. I’d enjoy any insights others have on the following Passover related topics:
1) Are there details in the Passover story that hint at the rejection of the Messiah?
2) Upon reading Ex 12:5, I’m curious why only lambs were used for Pesach after the Babylonian captivity.
3) What additional Passover themes can be drawn from Pesach Sheni a month later?
4) Is the Matzah Tash evidence of Messianic influence in the traditional Seder?
5) Quartodecimanism, and how Easter became separated from Passover.
6) Did John the Baptist have the Pesach in mind when he said [John 1:29] “Behold the Lamb of G-d….”
7) Did John the Baptist meet Jewish expectations about Elijah returning at Passover to announce the coming of the Messiah?
8) Syncretism in the modern Seder.
O boy, I go through these question every year, and every year I just try keep Passover and realize the church does a better job remembering the resurrection than most Messianic groups that I know of.
The idea that these questions are coming up regularly and in the Judeo-Christian dialogue may be a sign of the times we may all give thanks for. :) I too have been addressing these questions but within my tradition of Catholicism. Yes jrickardj, Christians as a whole do a good job of celebrating the resurrection of Messiah, but even within the Protestant/Catholic divide, there is a stirring interest in rediscovering the resurrection within the traditional context of the “Paschal [Passover] Mystery.” A term used regularly every weekend Liturgy. So often, we’ve lost touch. In a sense the best contextual reminder for me has been the Triduum – which Catholics celebrate beginning on Thursday before and through Easter Sunday. The Triduum begins with the Institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. It’s all bound together in a common narrative. One many of us “cradle Catholics” would do well to rediscover. And a context that is practically lost in Protestant traditions that are more evangelical, fundamentalists or self designated non-denominational.
Th L_rd, is sureley leading us all toward the unity Yeshua prayed for and I doubt it’s anything we’ve rightly conceived of at this time in history. Yeshua, we trust in you!
One question I have always had and failed to find any answers to is about Matthew 27 v.52,53. when it talks about many people coming back to life and walking around jerusalem. Is there any Historic evidence for this (not that I need any to believe). It is just out of interest.