Home » Advanced Search » John 19:14

John 19:14

John 19:14
View Download and Print Options


John 19:14, “Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover.”

John mentions no account of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. He does, of course, recount a lengthy discourse Jesus had with His disciples at a supper (13:1-2), but we never get a traditional account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (i.e., “this is my body, this is my blood”). Why is this?

Some would say that the Johannine version of the institution of the Last Supper comes in John 6 where Jesus tells His disciples that unless they “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (6:53). However, in that context, “eating” Jesus “flesh and blood” refers to the reception by faith of Himself as the crucified Revealer of God to the world….it means to “feed by faith” on all that God reveals Himself to be in the crucified Jesus. There are certainly echoes of the Eucharistic tradition in ch.6, but that is not John’s main point (note also that, had he wanted to make this a more explicit reference to the Lord’s Supper, he would likely have used “my body” rather than “my flesh,” since “body” is consistently used in the traditional language of the actual Eucharist).

Where then is John’s Last Supper account? Does he just leave it out? I would contend that the evangelist may be presenting the crucifixion itself as his equivalent to the Last Supper.

Here in 19:14, John makes the seemingly unnecessary aside that Jesus was crucified on “the day of Preparation of the Passover”—there is debate about to what precise day this refers (Thursday or Friday), but what seems clear is that John presents Jesus’ death as coinciding with the slaughter of the Paschal lambs which would be eaten that evening as a covenant meal for the people of Israel.

It seems possible to me that John gives no account of Jesus’s Last Supper with His disciples because the evangelist intends us to see the crucifixion itself as the substitute for the Supper. When we couple Jesus’ words in John 6 about the necessity to feed on Him by faith together with Jesus’ crucifixion as the Paschal Lamb, it may be that the Johannine Eucharistic meal takes place on Calvary, where Jesus embodies rather than speaks the words of the tradition (this is my body, this is my blood) and where all who desire might partake by faith in flesh and blood of the True Lamb and so be gathered into the True Covenant people of God. THIS is the Feast of YHWH (Isaiah 25:6-9).