Things You Get Wrong About The Last Supper

There are four accepted gospels in the Christian Bible, though others remain outside official church canon, such as the Gospel of Thomas, according to PBS Frontline. Given that the Bible includes the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and that these books all tell the same story, namely of the life and acts of Jesus Christ, it’s natural to assume that they are all on the same page, as it were, when it comes to the details of the Last Supper. But they’re not. As is often the case among the Gospels, the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke differ markedly from the Gospel of John when it comes to the Lord’s Supper. Those first three books, often known as the Synoptic Gospels per Britannica, contain details that are quite similar and often use matching language in their accounts.

As shared in a Frontline penned by an expert in classics and religious studies, one of the largest discrepancies between the Gospel of John (the Spiritual Gospel, as it is often called) and the Synoptic Gospels is the very date of the Last Supper. Whereas Matthew, Mark, and Luke place the meal during Passover, John places the Last Supper before the start of Passover, lending further credence to the unlikelihood of it having been a seder (via the Washington Post). And further, this places the day of Jesus’ execution on the same day as lambs would have been slaughtered all around Jerusalem, which forces us to equate his crucifixion with the sacrifice of thousands of innocent animals.

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