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The "two Passovers" in Jesus' Passion Week

An Inconvenient Truth?

The "Last Supper" of Jesus was an authentic Passover Meal

before the Passover celebrated by the multitude


The purpose of this document is to remind the faithful of the biblical passages that clearly show that: (a) Jesus, at his farewell, celebrated an authentic Passover Meal, not simply "the Last Supper"; and that, therefore, (b) two different calendars, two different dates for Passover, that is, "two different Passovers" were involved in Jesus' Passion Week: the one celebrated by Jesus and the one celebrated by most Jews of His time.

The reader may find this document a useful complement to our more extensive document "The Real Timing of Jesus' Last Passover". (1)


Matthew, Mark and Luke state that Jesus was crucified AFTER having celebrated the Passover Meal. John affirms that Jesus was crucified BEFORE the day appointed for the Passover.

If Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, it cannot be that He celebrated the Passover Meal on a day other than that appointed by the Law. But the triple account of Matthew, Mark and Luke is indisputable: there was a Passover Meal before His Passion, that is, before the "parasceve (preparation) of the Passover" mentioned by John. How is this possible?

The only possible logical explanation –leaving intact the credibility of the Gospel books and Jesus' promise to fulfill the Law– is that there were two "appropriate" dates for the Passover Meal:

(a) the date that Jesus considered lawful, and

(b) the date that the Temple rulers considered lawful.


1. Jesus' Passover Meal

Jesus celebrated a Passover Meal before being crucified. It is a TRIPLICATE attested fact: by Matthew, Mark and Luke. They do not use allegories or indirect references. They state it explicitly and clearly calling the Passover by name ("Pasch" in the Douay-Rheims Bible) (2).

17 And on the first day of the Azymes, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the pasch? 18 But Jesus said: Go ye into the city to a certain man, and say to him: the master saith, My time is near at hand, with thee I make the pasch with my disciples. 19 And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the pasch. 20 But when it was evening, he sat down with his twelve disciples. 21 And whilst they were eating, he said: ...
12 Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the pasch? 13 And he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith to them: Go ye into the city; and there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water, follow him; 14 And whithersoever he shall go in, say to the master of the house, The master saith, Where is my refectory, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? 15 And he will shew you a large dining room furnished; and there prepare ye for us. 16 And his disciples went their way, and came into the city; and they found as he had told them, and they prepared the pasch. 17 And when evening was come, he cometh with the twelve. 18 And when they were at table and eating, ...
7 And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go, and prepare for us the pasch, that we may eat. 9 But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10 And he said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And you shall say to the goodman of the house: The master saith to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? 12 And he will shew you a large dining room, furnished; and there prepare. 13 And they going, found as he had said to them, and made ready the pasch. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

2. The Passover of the Temple Masters

John speaks of "the parasceve (preparation) of the Passover" during Pilate's sentence and, again, of "parasceve" at the descent from the cross and at the sepulchre. Logically, he is referring to the Passover that the Temple Masters and the multitude of Jews who followed them were preparing to celebrate – not to the Passover meal that Jesus had already celebrated with his disciples.

At the judgment

At the cross

At the sepulchre

12 ... If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. 13 Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14 And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. 15 But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified.
31 Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, [...] 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, [...] 38 And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. 42 There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.


The Parasceve = The day of Preparation

Parasceve is: (a) the day of preparation for a regular Sabbath, that is, Friday; OR (b) the eve of certain festival days of a sabbatic character (3). As it is stated in John 19:14, "it was the parasceve of the pasch" – meaning "the day of preparation of the Passover". So, in that day, at the hour when Jesus was being sentenced by Pilate, the Passover (the one that was to be celebrated at a time in accordance with the Temple Masters) had not been celebrated.

Who are "the Jews" in John Chapter 19?

Verse 31, "the Jews... besought Pilate that their legs might be broken"

Obviously, these were not all Jews, but those without scruples who were more concerned with fulfilling the letter of the Law than about having compassion for those being tortured.

Verse 38, "fear of the Jews"?

Let us not forget that Jesus, his mother, his disciples, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were Jews. When John speaks of "fear of the Jews" he is obviously referring to the fanatical Jews (4), not to all Jews. This shows –again– that the book of John can use the general term "the Jews" without referring to "absolutely all Jews".

Verse 40, "as the manner of the Jews is to bury"

Here he is referring to the Jewish culture.

Verse 42, "the parasceve of the Jews"

As we have already seen, the meaning of "the Jews" is relative. Therefore, it cannot be deduced from this "Preparation of the Jews" that Jesus and his disciples would still be preparing the Passover if Jesus had not been crucified.

"The Passover", "the Passover Meal" and "the Azymes"

The Passover, in the narrower sense used in the Gospel books, is the Passover lamb and the meal associated with it. In a broader sense –also used in the Gospel books– it is the feast that lasted several days and began on the day (or, more precisely, the evening) of the Passover Meal. Under this second sense (the broader sense), it is roughly equivalent to "the Azymes", which is the period of days in which it was established to eat unleavened bread (called azymes). Some further clarifications could be made in this regard (5), but they do would not alter the conclusions of this document.


(1) The Real Timing of Jesus' Last Passover

(2) In all tables: Quotations taken from Douay-Rheims Bible

(3) Catholic Encyclopedia: Parasceve

(4) Some fanatical Jews crucified Jesus, not all Jews!

(5) For example: How long is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, seven or eight days? When does the Feast of Unleavened Bread really begin?

Related Documents

The Real Timing of Jesus' Last Passover

Some fanatical Jews crucified Jesus, not all Jews!

Theo-logic behind the New Judeo-Christian Liturgical Calendar

The importance of the distinction between Faith and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy

En Español:  Las Dos Pascuas en la Semana de Pasión de Jesús - ¿Una verdad incómoda?

Published on April 17th, 2022 - Easter Sunday according to the traditional Roman-Catholic calendar

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