According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus partook of the famous, "Last Supper", before He was arrested later that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. If you read John's Gospel, you will not find any mention of the Last Supper. What you will find instead are the following three passages:
John 18:28 (NKJV)
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium [hall of
judgement], and it was early morning. But they [the Pharisees]
themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled,
but that they might eat the Passover.
19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the
sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
19:31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies
should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a
high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and
that they might be taken away.
seem to indicate that the
Passover had not been eaten yet. The other three Gospels seem to
contradict John. The following passage is from the Gospel of Mark:
14:12-16 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the
Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go
and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?"
And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, "Go into
the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow
Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher
says, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My
Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us."
So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.
(See also Mt 26:17-19 & Lk 22:7-13)
has agreed with Matthew, Mark and Luke, and has overlooked what John
had to say about it. Several people do not agree with tradition. One
theory says Jesus and the disciples ate the meal early. They suggest
that over the 1,500 years since the original Passover, some details were
ignored. Another group suggests that John was an eyewitness, whereas,
Mathew, Mark and Luke were not. This means John's details would be
accurate and the others would be generalizations.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine." Did God mess up in His Word? Of course not!
Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek languages and later
translated to other languages. The Old Testament was translated from
Hebrew and the New Testament was Greek. It is not unusual to find that
different English Translations contradict each other. So how do we know
what the original Scripture taught? By the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says in John 14:26, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to
your remembrance all things that I said to you."
pondered this, the Holy Spirit made it all make sense. The first verse,
John 18:28 says the Pharisees did not want to be defiled. The Passover
was a burnt offering to the lord. It provided a clothing of innocence
for the partaker. It would make sense that they would not want to be
defiled after the meal. The words that seem to mix this up are
the three words, "they might eat". These words seem to indicate a future
tense. However, these words come from one Greek word. The word simply
means, "eat"*. The translator would have been more correct to translate
this in the past tense. It does not make sense to be concerned about
defilement before eating the meal.
The next verse at
the top, John 19:14, has two issues with translation. First it says it
was the sixth hour. This is when they took Jesus to the cross.
Translators believe this to be a reference to the time of day. The
Jewish daytime began at 6:00am using today's time system. This would
mean that the sixth hour would be six hours after 6:00am. This would
mean it was 12:00 noon. Many translations actually say it was noon. This
disagrees with Mark. Mark said it was the third hour (9:00am) when they
took Jesus out to crucify Him (Mk 15:25). So who is right? Our answer
is in the book of Exodus.
The Bible says in Matthew
5:17, "Do not think that I [Jesus] came to destroy the Law or the
Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill."
In Exodus, chapters 7 through 12, we learn of ten plagues released in
Egypt. The first Passover is recorded in chapter 12. The Passover was
prophetic of Jesus and the cross. The ten plagues were a picture of the
Ten Commandments. The Bible says in Romans 8:2, "For the law of the
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and
death." The Bible says the Ten Commandments were the law of sin and
death. Each law was like a plague, producing sin and death.
tenth and final plague was released at midnight after the Passover meal
took place. This plague was the death angel, released to kill the
firstborn (Ex 12:29). After Jesus ate the Passover meal with the
disciples, they went to Gethsemane to pray (Mt 26, Mk 14, Lu 22). The
Bible tells us in Luke 22:42-44, "[Jesus] saying, "Father, if it is Your
will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours,
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His
sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." When
Jesus began to pray, the agony began. The angel of death had been
released onto the firstborn just like the first Passover. The Bible says
in Colossians 1:15, "He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn over all creation.
The Bible says in Matthew
26:44, "So He [Jesus] left them, went away again, and prayed the third
time, saying the same words." Jesus prayed the same prayer three times.
read in Mark 14:37, "Then He [Jesus] came and found them sleeping, and
said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?"
This says His prayer was about an hour long, and He prayed the same
prayer three times. Then He was arrested (Mt 26:46-47, Mk 14:42-43).
This would mean that Jesus was arrested at about 3:00am using today's
clock. If Jesus was crucified at about 9:00am, as it says in Mark 15:25,
then Jesus was in their custody for six hours before the crucifixion.
John 19:14 says, "Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and
about the sixth hour." This refers to the six hours
since the arrest---not the time of day.
As for it being
Preparation day of the Passover, this more correctly reads Preparation
day during Passover. The Passover meal was the kickoff for a week long
feast. The feast of unleavened bread (see Ex 12:14,15), was all part of
the Passover celebration. Luke 22:1 says, "Now the feast of unleavened
bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover." Much like Christmas time
today---it is more than just a day.
The last Scripture that seems to disagree, John 19:31 says, "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day,
that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that
Sabbath was a high day) ..." This verse clearly says it was preparation
day for a special Sabbath. People have understood this to be a Sabbath
other than the seventh day of the week.
A Sabbath was a
day to be set apart for rest. Besides every seventh day being a
Sabbath, there were other holy days when no work was to be done. One of
them was Passover. You will notice in Mark 14:12-16 above, the room had
already been furnished and prepared.
Some people have
believed that the day Jesus was crucified was preparation day for the
Passover meal because it was a special Sabbath (a high day). It was a
high day---it was a Sabbath that took place during a Holy Feast. It was
Saturday. It was special because it was during Passover celebrations.
*Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, copyright 1890 by James Strong, MADISON, NJ. Strong’s number, G5315.