One question that comes up this time of the year is how could Yeshua have a real Passover Seder, but still be sacrificed as the Lamb of God at the appropriate time? At our Seder this year, I added a short teaching after the meal addressing this question. In response to several requests for this teaching, I’m posting it here with a few editorial changes.
Before we enter into the rest of the Seder, I have a question for you. Christians have long held that Yeshua died at the same time the lambs were being sacrificed in the temple. So how could Yeshua have a Passover Seder with his talmidim, yet die at the same time the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple?
Rabbi Matthew Salathe, of Temple Aron haKodesh, has posited some interesting points on Yeshua’s Passover week. I’ve pulled some of his points and added my own thoughts and questions as well.
During the time of Yeshua there were 24 sects of Judaism. Yeshua taught and did many things that pointed out truth and error in each of them. Could it be he was looking to bring them back together as one people?
The Essenes were one of these sects. They refused to recognize the temple leadership because they weren’t from the line of Aaron. Their calendar was also different from the temple calendar. And they were a sect of men. So when we hear that Yeshua told his talmidim to look for a man carrying water – a job usually consigned to women – it indicates it might have been an Essene. So he celebrated a legitimate Seder on the Essene calendar and then, as the Lamb of God, He took on the sin of the world at the appointed time.
Here is an historical glimpse into Yeshua’s last Seder, pulled from the Gospel accounts (CJB):
Yeshua sent Kefa and Yochanan, instructing them, “Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?” He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there.” They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder.
When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, and he said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die! For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.
While they were eating, Yeshua took a piece of matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it, gave it to the talmidim and said, “Take! Eat! This is my body!” Also he took a cup of wine, made the b’rakhah, and gave it to them, saying, “All of you drink from it! For this is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many, so that they may have their sins forgiven.
Yes! I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine in the Kingdom of God.” After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Something to ponder as we proceed to take the Afikomen and the third cup of the Seder, known as the Cup of Redemption.
Derek Leman in a recent blog post, addressed the issue of whether it was an actual Passover Seder that Yeshua had his “last supper” with his apostles. He suggested that it was not uncommon to have “pre-Seder” meals ahead of the actual Passover. Most of the people offering sacrifices in Jerusalem for Pesach had come great distances and some arrived as much as a week early, so having a number of celebratory meals before the actual event was probably an ordinary custom. This would allow the Master to have a final Seder with his talmidim and still be on the cross while thousands of Pascal lambs were being sacrificed at the Temple.
That’s interesting, James. I’ve heard a lot of different views. I keep encouraging my rabbi to put his teaching on YouTube. I think the bottom line is that Yeshua was not crucified on Friday. We miss that Passover is a Sabbath, so that week there would have been two Sabbaths.
I agree. Since he could have risen any time after sundown on Saturday, that being the first day, counting backward three days means he was probably crucified on the previous Wednesday and died and entombed shortly before sundown. At sundown, the Pascal meal would have begun.