“Was the Last Supper a Passover Meal?” in The Lord’s Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ until He Comes (ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Matt Crawford (NAC Studies in Bible & Theology; B&H, 2010), 6-30.
For close to 2,000 years, Christians have celebrated the Lord’s Supper, an ordinance instituted by Jesus in the Upper Room the night before His crucifixion. That Jesus ate this meal with His disciples is widely acknowledged. What is not as commonly agreed upon, however, is the nature of the meal. Was Jesus’ Last Supper the annual Passover meal observed by the Jews, or was it some other kind of meal that sustained no direct demonstrable connection with Israel’s Passover? On the surface, this question may seem inconsequential. At a closer look, however, numerous historical, biblical, and theological factors emerge that significantly affect our understanding of the Lord’s Supper. This essay examines the biblical data in order to determine what kind of meal Jesus ate with His disciples the night before He died. Was it, or was it not, a Passover meal?