Thank you for taking my question, My question is about the meal talked about in Exodus, that was eaten in haste, in which they ate the lamb they sacrificed. My question is this: in Jesus’s day, would that meal have been eaten on Friday night? Is that called the Passover meal? If it was eaten on Friday night, then what was the name of the meal that was eaten on Thursday night, (which we would call the Last Supper?) That has always confused me. Again, thank you. I’m sincerely glad and thankful that the Lord is using you to help the rest of us Christians with these types of questions.


You may be a bit surprised to know that the day of the week when the original Passover event happened is not relevant to Christianity or even to Judaism.  The Jews have always used a lunar rather than a solar calendar.  The Passover meal is celebrated on the 15th of the Jewish lunar month Nisan.  The date of the Passover is based on the occurrence of a New Moon.  Jewish months begin at a New Moon.  It circulates from late March to mid-April, depending on the date of the New Moon that year.  So, the Passover can be celebrated on any day of the week, depending on when a New Moon falls.  Therefore, the day of the week of the Passover would depend on what year Jesus was executed.

This makes the question of the day of the week that Jesus was crucified a bit of a difficult one.  What day of the week that Passover fell on depends on which year we are talking about.  The “traditional” date of the death of Jesus is AD 33, but most scholars will put it at AD 30 or perhaps AD 29.  Bear in mind that Jesus was born while Herod was alive, which means that he was born either 4 or 5 BC (with a small possibility that it could even have been 6 BC).  The Bible does not give Jesus’ exact age at his death, only noting that he had reached the age of 30 when he started his ministry for sure.  In principle, any age in his early or mid 30s is possible based on the biblical text. 

Making it even harder, John clearly states that the crucifixion was on the day before the Passover and, therefore also before the Seder meal (which you have apparently noticed), but the synoptic gospels seem to imply (but not definitely state) that the Last Supper was a Seder.  The solution to this conundrum that I have accepted is that Jesus and his apostles had a Seder-like meal the day before the Passover.  I note that there is no evidence of any lamb being shared at the Last Supper.  In fact, Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7).  Jesus had this last meal with his apostles the day before the actual Passover that year because he was well aware what was to happen to himself the next day, as he was to become a Passover sacrifice, fulfilling the prefigure implied by the original Passover lambs.  As with the Jewish Passover, he was slain on the day before the evening Passover meal, which is consistent with both John and with the synoptic gospels if we allow that the meal Jesus shared with his apostles was the evening before the actual Jewish Passover that year.  Let me be clear.  I propose that Jesus had a Passover-like meal, including unleavened bread, wine and bitter herbs, but without the eating of lamb, as the lambs had not yet been sacrificed.

You should do your own research on this.  Many volumes have been written on this rather difficult question.  However, my understanding is that the Last Supper happened on the evening of Thursday, AD 30, which would be the 14th of Nisan, and that Jesus was killed on Friday (still part of 14 Nisan), allowing him to be a Passover sacrifice for us.  The Passover Sabbath that year was celebrated Friday evening (Nisan 15), and lasted through sundown Saturday.  Jesus was resurrected from the dead very early on Sunday, probably before sunrise.

You will find different opinions on this, including among faithful, conservative, biblically knowledgeable people, but it is the solution to the “problem” of the apparent contradiction between John and the synoptic gospels, which I believe is only an apparent, but not a real contradiction.  Some propose that John was simply wrong, but I find this to be extremely unlikely.  How could John possibly have forgotten the day of the week that Jesus was crucified?

I hope this helps.

John Oakes

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