12 Passover References

There are exactly 12 references in the Gospels that specifically use the word Passover (Greek: pascha). This word 'pascha' is used 12 times and shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus and his twelve disciples prepared for and did eat a legal Passover meal (see Matt.26:2; 17-19; Mk.14:12,14,16; Lk.22:7-8,11,13,15).

The Passover (Pesach) is mentioned 4 times in reference to the time before the preparation of the Passover that Jesus and his disciples observed (Matt. 26:2; Jn.11:55; 12:1;13:1).

There are three references that mention a preparation for another Passover that was to be observed after Jesus and the twelve had finished a Passover observance (Jn.18:28,39; 19:14).

John 18:39 uses the word 'pascha', which clearly shows a reference point in time that is during a festival day after Jesus and the twelve observed the Passover and before a Passover observance (see Matt. 27:15; Mk.15:16; Lk.23:17).

The Jews' Passover 

Only the apostle John mentions a Passover (Pesach) as being the Jews' Passover. He mentions this twice prior to the Passover observance of Jesus and the twelve and he mentions it once after (Jn.2:13; 6:4; 11:55).

There are two basic conclusions people normally reach from John's statements about the Jews' Passover: (1) Jesus observed the correct Passover and the Jews did not; or, (2) The Jews observed the correct Passover; and Jesus did not.

There is no contesting the fact that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah and the apostles were national Jews, even though some were descended from other tribes of Israel. Why would John specifically mention the Jews' Passover? The answer to this question is found in a short history of the Gospel of John. John's Gospel was written to a broad audience about 60 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It seems that John's statements were made to show the nationality and location of those who were observing this particular Passover and not to differentiate between a right and a wrong Passover observance.

In context, the Jews' Passover seems only to reference those who were observing the Passover and does not define a specific date of observance, because Jerusalem was the only place that a Passover could legally be observed by an Israelite.

By B.L. Cocherell         b5w39