We tend to always forget – Jesus’ real name was Yeshua. After all, He was a Jew. And not just a Jew, but also a Rabbi. He was constantly referred to as “Rabbi”, or “Teacher”, as some translations put it. Indeed, the word Rabbi means Teacher.
And He wasn’t just a Rabbi. He was an orthodox Rabbi. We know this because first century Jewish practice can most accurately be described as “Orthodox”.
Context, Context, Context
Consider the setting:
- A Jew
- An Orthodox Rabbi
- The land of Israel
- Jewish law was practiced
- The vast majority of the set was Jewish
The majority of the complaints about Rabbi Yeshua’s teaching and practice revolved around the Sabbath. Many of the religious people of His day didn’t think He observed Sabbath properly. He healed on the Sabbath. He picked and ate corn on the Sabbath. He helped people on the Sabbath.
Modern Christians read this and immediately assume that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath. Many ill-informed gentiles read about this and assume that Jesus was a rebel. But this was certainly not the case. Jesus didn’t come to break the law, but to teach and practice it as it was originally meant to be taught and practiced.
The problem was not with Jesus, but rather with some of His contemporaries. They didn’t know the Spirit of Law. Their understanding of the Torah was very shallow. And their practice of the Torah was hypocritical.
You see, Jesus never did break the Sabbath. If He did, He would be a sinner, and not a Savior. But we know that He lived without sin. That means that He didn’t do anything to break God’s law. He certainly wasn’t perfect in the sight of men, or more accurately stated – according to men’s faulty, and shallow understanding of the Word of God.
Was the Last Supper Passover?
In Matthew, chapter 26, we read very explicitly about this. Jesus commanded His disciples to prepare for the Passover. He gave them specific directions – unlike any other feast, Jesus made an effort to make sure the Passover was prepared for and celebrated properly.
Some argue that the Last Supper was not Passover because it was held on a different day. Others argue that the Last Supper was the feast of the firstborn.
Regardless of these arguments, we do have some clues that the Lord’s Supper, that is, the Last Supper was in fact the Passover meal.
For example, in Jesus’ instructions for the preparations of the Passover,
“… He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.“[Mat 26:18 KJV]
Jesus made it clear – He WILL eat the Passover. And all evidence points to the fact that the Lord’s Supper, the Last Supper, was indeed the Passover.
We see that the disciples prepared the Passover just as Jesus commanded.
[Mat 26: 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.]
It says in the very next verse…
[Mat 26:20-21 KJV] 20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
Obviously, in context, they sat down and ate the Passover meal!