14.02 Encouragement And Final Passover

14.02 Encouragement And The Final Passover

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02 Encouragement And The Final Passover

Unit 14

The Passion Mid-Week


Chapter 02

Encouragement And The Final Passover


14.02.00.A. THE LAST SUPPER by Benjamin West

14.02.00.A. THE LAST SUPPER by Benjamin West. The last Passover meal, as celebrated by Jesus, reflects upon the past when God saved the Israelites from the Egyptian onslaught.  It is a rememberance of the sacrificial atonement of Jesus, and reflects upon the future marriage Supper of the Lamb.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.01 NON-BELIEVERS FULFILL PROPHECY

14.02.01 Jn. 12:37-43



37 Even though He had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him. 38 But this was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said:

Lord, who has believed our message?
And who has the arm of the Lord
been revealed to? (Isa. 53:1)

39 This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said:

40 He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts
so that they would not see with their eyes
or understand with their hearts,
and be converted,
and I would heal them (Isa 6:10).

41 Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke about Him.

42 Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue.  

43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts.” It seems horrible and grossly unjust that God would prevent anyone from coming to Him. Furthermore, it appears to be a contradiction of character that God would send His Son to save humanity and then cause unbelief in their hearts. How can this be explained?  Throughout both Testaments there are numerous individuals who refused to obey God or believe in the words and works of Jesus.[1]  The explanation is that while God pursues mankind, He also gives people free will to do as they please.  Eventually He decides that “enough is enough,” and He gives them what they want. In doing so, He hardens their hearts so they cannot hear His voice and they continue to pursue their desires as they had previously determined to do.


It is often said that God is in control of all things, but it is better said that He permits many things and events to happen. To say that God is in control suggests that He approves of all events that occur. That clearly is not true. Yet while some men pursue evil, there comes a time when God intervenes to curb their actions or answers the prayers of His saints.


In this narrative, the religious leaders refused to believe Jesus even after they witnessed many profound miracles and heard Him teach.  Therefore, God granted to them their heart’s desire:  He closed their understanding to the truth so they could not believe.  They had committed the unpardonable sin of rejecting God once too often. At one time they had a choice; now they had only His condemnation. But in reality, they condemned themselves because decisions determine destiny.

[1]. See Mt. 13:14-15; Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:10; Rom. 11:8; 2 Cor. 3:14; and Acts 28:27.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.02 FINAL APPEAL TO HIS BELOVED PEOPLE

14.02.02 Jn. 12:44-50




44 Then Jesus cried out,

“The one who believes in Me

            Believes not in Me

                        but in Him who sent Me. 

45 And the one who sees Me

Sees Him who sent me. 


46 I have come as a light

into the world,

so that everyone who believes in Me

would not remain in darkness.


47 If anyone hears My words and doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: The word I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak. 50 I know that His command is eternal life. So the things that I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”


The essential message in the Fourth Gospel is that God sent His Son to save the world, not to condemn it. This message was not initiated by the wrath of God, but by His compassionate love.  Yet the coming of the Savior involves judgment for those who defiantly refuse His gift of love and eternal life. The character and love of Jesus is portrayed exceptionally well in John 13:1-17 and in His high priestly prayer recorded in John 17.


“Light … darkness.”  Light (Gk. phos) is associated with the knowledge of God while darkness (Gk. skotos)[1] is associated with the lack of that knowledge which is unbelief that eventually leads to death.  These phrases were common figures of speech, well known throughout Judaism.  The Essenes used these motifs in poetic style in their Manual of Discipline:


All who practice righteousness

are under domination of the Prince of Light

And walk in the ways of light.


All who practice perversity

are under the domination of the Angel of Darkness

And walk in the ways of darkness.


Dead Sea Scroll Fragment, 1QS 3:20[2]


The Essene phrase “Prince of Light” was not a reference to Jesus, but to one of their two expected messianic figures.[3] The words “light,” “true light,” and “glory” had messianic connections in the Hebrew Bible and to the Essenes.[4]  Everyone knew that.


Jesus now gave a final appeal to His beloved people, a warning that a day of judgment is coming. The urgency of that warning has not changed after two thousand years.  At the end of every life there will be a judgment day when everyone will have to give an account for his or her life.


“The Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say.”  This statement greatly angered the religious elitist, because in their thinking, Jesus equated Himself with God. The significant issue here is not what the Father commanded Jesus to say, but that Jesus claimed to have the privilege to speak personally with God.  They believed God was not, nor could He become a person and, likewise a person could not become God. However, this phrase not only affirmed the deity of Jesus, but He also stated that if they rejected His words, they would be rejecting God. This compounded the problem for them, as they believed in only one deity according to Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema.


“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.


            Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema)


They could not understand how Jesus could be God and yet speak to God. The idea that created a sense of repulsion is that they remembered all too well the Greek dictator, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, of the second century B.C. who claimed to be a god. But they also realized that Jesus fulfilled a number of prophecies and His kindness and compassion was unlike anyone else they had ever known.

[1]. Barclay, Jesus. 264.


[2]. Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament. 66.

[3]. The Essenes could not reconcile the biblical descriptions of a suffering servant and a victorious servant, so they concluded there would be two messiahs. See “Essenes” 02.01.06.


[4]. Gen. 1:3; Ps. 36:10; Isa 49:6, 60:1; and Dan. 2:22.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.03 Upper Room: DISCIPLES MAKE PREPARATIONS FOR PASSOVER

14.02.03 Lk. 22:7-13; (See also Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-16) Upper Room




7 Then the Day of Unleavened Bread came when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.

8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.”

9 “Where do You want us to prepare it?” they asked Him.

10 “Listen,” He said to them, “when you’ve entered the city, a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. 11 Tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished room upstairs. Make the preparations there.”

13 So they went and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

“Go and prepare the Passover meal.” In the first century, as today, the “men making preparations” is more of a formal ritual than actual cleaning.  Truth be told, it was the responsibility of the woman of the house to prepare for the Passover meal, but since the husband/father is the spiritual head of the family, he made a ritual cleaning. Therefore, when Jesus told his disciples to prepare the meal, they were not going to clean house or become master chefs, they performed the ritual obligation that every family man had to perform.[1]  The location of the upper room is seldom questioned even though scholars claim two possible locations:

  1. The Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Mark (minority view), and
  1. Mount Zion. This site is almost universally agreed upon (see 14.02.01.Q1 below)

The word “preparations” meant extensive house cleaning to remove any yeast, which is in this case, symbolic of sin in the typical Jewish home. In essence, the meal was eaten in a state of Levitical purity (Jn. 13:10; Num. 19:19). Anything related to any kind of grain had to be removed and an example of this regulation is found in the Mishnah.

These must be removed at Passover: Babylonian porridge, Median beer, Edomite vinegar, and Egyptian barley-beer; also dyer’s pulp, cooks’ starch-flour, and writers’ paste.  Rabbi Eliezer says: Also women’s cosmetics.

Mishnah, Pesahim 3.1


What Jesus meant for them to do when He said “Go and prepare the Passover meal” is unknown, because some things may have been done by the host. An abbreviated list is as follows:

  1. Select and care for the sacrificial lamb. Most certainly the disciples did not follow Jesus all over town with a little lamb. The host probably cared for it on their behalf.
  1. They inspected and cleaned the house of every crumb of leavened bread (Mt. 13:33, 16:6, 11-12)
  1. They purchased the wine,[2] herbs, spices, bread, and other foods.
  1. They had to furnish the triclinium table and the rest of the room
  1. After the ritual slaughter at the temple, they had to roast it at the home where they were going to observe the Passover Feast/Last Supper.

The number of days Passover was celebrated has not changed over the centuries. It has always been combined with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First Fruits, creating an eight-day celebration. In the course of time, all three festivals became known simply as the festival of “Passover.”[3]

Josephus presented two slightly different versions of the festival.  The festival according to Moses was for seven days when they were to eat bread made without yeast. On the first of those eight days, the yeast was to be removed from their homes.  No work was to be done during this celebration, with the exception[4] of food preparation. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated on the day God brought the Israelites out of Egypt (Gen. 12:15-17).  According to Josephus, somewhere in the course of history the Day of Preparation was considered as sacred as the other days of the festival, thereby creating an eight day celebration.  Other times it was not.  Hence, he recorded two slightly varying accounts concerning the length.

In memory of the want we were in, we keep a feast for eight days, which is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Josephus, Antiquities 2.15.1 (317)

The Feast of Unleavened Bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread.

Josephus, Antiquities 3.10.5 (249)


At the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the Passover Feast which culminated in the sacrificial offering of the lamb (Lk. 22:7). To Christians this feast became known as the Last Supper. Jesus never intended this sacred meal to be a celebration of a historic event, even though that is how every Jew recognized it.  Rather, it pointed to the future and would only be recognized after His death and resurrection.  The elements of the meal pointed to the cross and the cup of wine pointed toward the future messianic wedding banquet.  In the interim Jesus discussed the unity of the church.[5]

“A man carrying a water jug.” It was, and still is, common in this part of the world for women to carry water.  It was one of the accepted domestic tasks of women – to carry water from the village well to their homes.  An example is found in John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well.  For a man to carry a jar of water was highly unlikely, except in Jerusalem for these three situations:

  1. In the temple, so much water was used for various sacrificial rituals, as well as washing the temple floors, altars, etc., that men were assigned to carry the heavy jars.[6]
  1. Josephus said that water sellers sold water in pitchers or “standard measures” during times of drought.[7]
  1. Such men were employed by wealthy home owners. While homes had cisterns where rain water stored, that water became stagnant or stale throughout the long, hot, dry summer months. Homeowners then either carried fresh water from one of the Jerusalem pools or purchased it from a water seller.


Even after the temple was destroyed and the city was rebuilt, some men continued to function as professional water carriers serving private homes.[8] Therefore, for Jesus to tell His disciples to look for a man carrying water, this was not as much of an oddity as modern students think it would have been.


14.02.03.A. A SIXTH CENTURY (B.C.) MOSAIC OF A MALE WATER CARRIER.  This Byzantine mosaic was found in Beth-Shean. The custom of carrying water was generally the task of women, with the exception of a few men who were employed as professional water carriers.  Those of wealth could afford to have water carriers deliver fresh water from an aqueduct to their home all year long.



14.02.03.B. A RELIEF OF A MALE WATER CARRIER.  One of the oldest biblical images found in Rome is of a man carrying water at the wedding in Cana. A man was probably shown because the vessels would have been too heavy for a woman to carry. Second or third century A.D.


“A large, furnished room upstairs” The term room upstairs is from the Greek word anog, that is also translated as upper room. Furthermore, some translations use the word “couches” rather than “furnished.” The term anog appears three times in the gospels,[9]  including the incorrect translation as inn in the infancy narratives (Lk. 2:7).[10]

On occasion, a family with some financial means would build a room on the flat roof of their house. That room was normally not used as a dwelling area, but for storage. It could, however, be quickly converted into a guest room for visitors.  One church tradition states that the upper room was on the second floor of the home of John Mark, where the disciples gathered later to pray (Acts 1:12-14).


14.02.03.Q1 On what day did Jesus celebrate the Passover (Lk. 22:7-13)?

There has been considerable debate among scholars concerning the day that Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples.  As a Jew who was faithful to the law, to have it a day early would be unthinkable.  Yet He could not have celebrated on the 14th day of Nissan as prescribed by religious law, because on that day He was to be crucified.

In the western part of Jerusalem was an Essene community and, as not to be identified with the Pharisees and Sadducees, they observed all Jewish feasts on their own calendar, which in this case would have been a day early. Therefore, the upper room was already prepared for Jesus and His disciples and all that was needed was the ritual cleaning before the gathering for the Passover Seder (Heb. order).[11] The practices of the Essenes were not revealed until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between the years 1947 and 1952.[12] Scholars have always wondered how Jesus could have observed the Passover a day earlier than other Jews, and the mystery has been resolved.[13] Jesus did not endorse Essene theology, but this time He did use their calendar.

However, some interesting questions arise, the answers of which may never be unveiled.  They are:

  1. Since Jesus was an observant Jew who followed the Mosaic Law faithfully, did the disciples ever ask why they were observing Passover a day early?
  1. Since the Passover lamb was killed at the temple, did the priests question why they were observing the Passover early? The priests knew the disciples were not Essenes. Or did they accept the Essene practice?
  1. Jesus was without question the most observed Person in the land. The religious leaders and Herodians observed His every move. If His lamb was sacrificed a day early in the temple (assuming the Essenes did so), was He seen by those who planned to kill Him?


  1. Yet another interesting question remains: Where did the Essene community in West Jerusalem kill their Passover lambs if not in the temple? To complicate the potential answer, the Essenes believed the Sadducean establishment would corrupt their sacrificial lambs. Some scholars believe they may have sacrificed their lambs somewhere off the temple grounds, but that raises even more questions.

Any attempt at clarification is complicated by the fact that there was a variation between Galilean and Judean Passover observances. John’s gospel implies that the Last Supper was held the evening prior to the Passover feast while the synoptic gospels indicate that it was celebrated at the same time as the traditional Passover.[14]  Furthermore, John states (19:14) that Jesus was condemned by Pilate on the “Day of Preparation of Passover.” If Jesus had celebrated Passover earlier, there clearly would not have been a conflict here, as the “Day of Preparation” would have been the time most other Jews were getting ready to sacrifice their lambs, and Jesus was going to be the sacrificed Lamb of God.[15]

According to Jewish tradition, some weeks had two Sabbaths, with the first of the two being known as the “Day of Preparation.” Some scholars believe this would have made it impossible for Jesus to be crucified on Good Friday, which was the day of Passover, therefore, there had to be some variation of calendar dates.[16]  Other scholars have stated that Jews living in Dispersion observed Passover on Friday while those in Jerusalem observed it on Saturday.[17]  What is known is that the Last Supper was a monumental event, and while some of its historical details are confusing or unknown, the plan of God is most certainly known.  All gospels agree that Jesus died on Friday, the fourteenth day of Nissan.

14.02.03.Z. Map of Jerusalem as it was at the Tme of Jesus (2)


14.02.03.Z. Map of Jerusalem as it was at the Time of Jesus. The Essene quarter of Jerusalem was extremely close to the home of Caiaphas and where the disciples met for the Last Supper. Map courtesy of Dan Bahat.[18]


14.02.03.Q2 How authentic is the site of the Upper Room?

This is an interesting topic because scholars are rather certain that the location of the Upper Room, a/k/a The Cenaculum,  has been authenticated although the structure was destroyed centuries ago.[19] A listing of significant events, as recorded by ancient witnesses, is placed in chronological order below. Sub-titles are given for clarity. But even among reliable sources there are at times conflicts: some reports indicate that all of Jerusalem was destroyed in the First Revolt of A.D. 70, while other writings claim to be witnesses of the building that once was the site of the Last Passover.


Post-Ascension of Jesus

It has been suggested that the historical events that transpired where the Upper Room once stood are reflective of the relationship between the Christians of Jewish and Gentile background. Not only did Jesus meet His disciples there for their Passover/Last Supper, but they returned to this room after His ascension to pray until the promised Holy Spirit fell upon them on the Day of Pentecost and where Peter preached his famous sermon of Acts 2.

Scholars consider two possible sites as to where the building once stood.

  1. The home of John Mark (minority view)
  1. A home on Mount Zion in the western part of Jerusalem (majority view)

This writer agrees with the overwhelming majority view, although some good friends believe otherwise. Visitors to Mount Zion today are informed that it was also the tomb of King David.[20]  Some scholars believe that due to the loss of temple records (A.D. 70) and the deaths of key sages (A.D. 135), the precise location of the tomb is unknown.[21] Yet shortly after the crucifixion Peter said this concerning the tomb of David:

29 “Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

Acts 2:29


However, Peter said “His tomb is with us to this day,” that statement does not necessarily identify location. Obviously, the apostle knew precisely where the tomb was, because it was adjacent to the site of the Last Supper and the Pentecost event.[22] After Pentecost, the Upper Room became the center of the Judeo-Christian synagogue in Jerusalem.[23] Scholars frequently refer to the first century congregation as a “church,” when, in fact, everyone who attended was Jewish and their worship service was a slightly modified version of the traditional synagogue service.  They did not lose their Jewish culture or traditions because they became followers of Yeshua (Jesus).[24] This can be seen in Acts 1:12-13 when the Jewish believers honored the tradition of a “Sabbath’s Day walk” and went to the Upper Room.

Peter’s comment reflects the facts of biblical history, as well as the evil works of Herod the Great. At one time Herod attempted to rob the treasures from the tomb of King David.  According to Josephus, he sent several grave robbers who successfully removed some of its wealth. Upon their return to the tomb, two of the men met sudden death by a flame of fire. The horrific news quickly spread throughout the city and frightened Herod so much that he immediately constructed a monument to honor the deceased King.[25]  When Peter referred to King David, he most certainly was thinking of this event and the monument built by Herod.

The first churches, or messianic synagogues, were gatherings in homes and assembly halls.  They carried the same Greek name synagogue meaning assembly, that in Hebrew is knesset.[26]  In later years, Gentile Christians used the word ekklesia, or ecclesia, which also means assembly, for their place of gathering. Every home was called a domus ekklesia, or church house.[27] However, some scholars argue that the English word church was not accurately derived from ekklesia, but from the Greek kyriake meaning belonging to the Lord.[28]  Early Jewish believers did not see themselves as a separate religious movement, but as a part of Judaism. Since the Jewish religion was a legal religion recognized by Rome, the Jewish believers were seen as being within Judaism and they did not always receive the persecution that Gentile believers received.

However, there is today a growing opinion that some synagogues did become messianic congregations – fellowships that followed a worship format similar to traditional synagogues but with the focus of Yeshua (Jesus). Just because Acts 2:46 says the believers “broke bread from house to house,” that does not mean they didn’t meet also as congregations. With such an explosion of believers it is most difficult to think that some synagogues did not change. While there is no existing written evidence of a first century messianic synagogue, scholars debate the archaeological evidence uncovered in Magdala to support the possibility of a first century messianic synagogue at that site (see 08.05.07.D).[29]

In the meantime, the Romans always had considerable difficulty understanding Judaism, so Christianity was beyond their comprehension. They could understand a god becoming human because they had similar stories of such in their mythologies.  But to have a God become a man, suffer, be crucified, and rise from the dead was beyond their imagination! They could not understand why anyone would want to worship that kind of God.


A.D. 66-70 First Revolt

There is no question that the destruction of Jerusalem at Passover during A.D. 70, precisely forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus, was a judgment from the Divine.  For more than fifteen centuries, from the time of Moses until Titus, no enemy ever attacked the Jewish people during the celebration of their festivals. The defeat and destruction was understood by Gentile Christians as punishment of the Jewish leaders. The city and temple had been built like a super-fortress by Herod the Great, a paranoid monarch, because he constantly feared Queen Cleopatra and the Egyptians to the south as well as the growing Parthian Empire to the East. The huge stones and massive walls were a profound challenge for the ancient Roman war machines.  Amazingly, Titus recognized this and actually gave credit to God for his victory for the ability to destroy the fortified city.[30]  His profound statement was preserved.

“We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was none other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men, or any machines do towards overthrowing these towers!” 

 Titus, quoted by Josephus, Wars 6.9.1 (411)


After the Romans left the city in ruins, the Jews rebuilt it.  But they still had a passion for a messianic deliverer which, unfortunately, led to another destruction.


A.D. 132-135 Second Revolt[31]

The celebrated Rabbi Akiva (Akiba)[32] gave a messianic pretender, Simon bar Kokhba, the name “Son of the Star” and announced to the Jewish world that he was the long awaited messiah. Bar Kokhba then led a rebellion against the Romans in A.D. 132, but the Romans defeated him and his army, destroyed Jerusalem, and renamed the land Palestinia – a curse word from where the modern name “Palestine” is derived.[33]

By this time, the Romans were so exasperated with the Jews that Hadrian evicted all of them, traditional Jews and “Nazarenes” by imperial decree. Bar Kokhba was killed and the Rabbi Akiva’s body was literally butchered and his flesh sold in the Jerusalem market. Hadrian also attempted to eradicate all signs and significant sites (i.e. the crucifixion site) that pertained to the new Jewish sect known as Christianity. Today scholars debate whether the Church of the Apostles survived Hadrian’s destruction.[34] What is known is that so many the Jewish church leaders were killed that the leadership went into the hands of Gentile believers. With new Gentile leadership in the church, Jewish roots, idioms, and customs were soon forgotten. Furthermore, the Gentile leaders believed God permanently destroyed the Jewish state in His eschatological plan and all promises given to Abraham were transferred to the church. This idea became known as “replacement theology,”[35] and by the year 324, Church-sponsored anti-Semitism was firmly established.  This horrific doctrine formulated how the church would treat Jews for centuries to come – and the treatment was utterly shameful.[36]


110-180 Hegesippus (A.D. 110-180)

Evidently the Upper Room had a lasting legacy. The historian Hegesippus[37] said that prior to the eviction of all Jews from Jerusalem by Emperor Hadrian there had been 15 Hebrew Christian bishops in the Holy City.[38] The fellowship that met previously in the Upper Room synagogue became known as the Church of the Apostles,[39] although others believe the Upper Room became known as the Holy Zion Church (Latin: Coenaculum).  Franciscan father Bagatti and Bargil Pixner were among the scholars who examined the possible Church of the Apostles site and concluded that the structure was indeed a church because the niche in the north wall did not face north, nor the temple, but faced toward the crucifixion site.[40]


155-235 Cassius Dio Cocceianus (A.D. 155-235)

According to the Roman historian Cassius Dio Cocceianus, the monument built by Herod the Great that honored the tomb of King David survived the destruction of Titus, but collapsed during to the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132-135).[41]


Late 3rd Century Eusebius of Caesarea (A.D. 265-340)

The famous early church father Eusebius of Caesarea wrote in his Demenstratio Evangelica that the western hill was known as Mount Zion from which the gospel went throughout the world. Undoubtedly, the Upper Room was where the Jerusalem Council met two decades later (Acts 15:1-29; Gal. 2:10).  Today the Dominion Abbey of the Greek Orthodox Seminary is upon the Mount Zion as well as the alleged Tomb of David. Eusebius said,

This is the word of the gospel, which through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the apostles went out from Mount Zion and was spread to every nation.  It is a fact that it poured forth from Jerusalem and Mount Zion adjacent to it, on which our Savior and Lord had stayed many times and where he taught much doctrine.

Eusebius, Demonstrations of the Gospel 265-340[42]


330 Epiphanius (310-403)

Around the year 330, Sanctus Epiphanius Constantiensis, commonly known as Epiphanius,[43] traveled to Jerusalem. He wrote of a small church building in western Jerusalem that survived Hadrian’s destruction of Jerusalem as follows,

Hadrian found the city completely leveled to the ground and God’s temple treaded down, except for a few houses and the church of God, which was quite small.  To it the disciples returned after the Savior’s ascension from the Mount of Olives.  They went up to the Upper Room, for it had been built there – that is, in the part of the city called Zion, which part was exempted from destruction, as also were some of the dwellings around Zion and seven synagogues, the only ones which existed in Zion, like monks’ cells.  One of these survived until the time of Bishop Maximus and King Constantine.  It was like a tent in a vineyard, to quote the Scripture.

Epiphanius, De Mensurie et Ponderibus 14[44]



14.02.03.C. THE TRADITIONAL UPPER ROOM. The Upper Room seen by visitors today was rebuilt in European Gothic style by the Crusaders. The original one was destroyed by Hadrian’s Roman army in A.D. 135. Tradition says this is where Jesus met with His disciples for the Last Supper and where the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 believers on the Day of Pentecost. Photograph by the author.


Video Insert    >

14.02.03.V The Upper Room as an Early Church. Dr. Petra Heldt discusses the location of the Upper Room and its possible use as an early church.       





348 Saint Cyril (ca. 313-386)

The status and location of the Upper Room Church continues to be a matter of discussion for scholars. For example, Saint Cyril who, in the year 348, wrote that on the Feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended from heaven “in the Upper Church of the Apostles” in Jerusalem.[45]  Yet the question lingers as to whether the building survived the destructions of the city.  Note the words of the first century historian,

And now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city and burnt them down and entirely demolished the walls.

            Josephus, Wars 6.9.4 (434b)


However, this phrase may have been literary license to illustrate how massive the destruction was. Scholars know, for example, that not all the perimeter walls of the city were destroyed. The three towers that were built by Herod the Great and a portion of the western city wall were also excluded from the destruction.

Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne, and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side …. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence and of mighty fame among all mankind.

 Josephus, Wars 7.1.1 (1)


6th Century Madaba Map

However, a major argument for the Mount Zion location is the 6th century Madaba Map that features the Upper Room.[46] This room was supposedly destroyed in the First Revolt and rebuilt facing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which suggests that the builders were Christian.[47]  However, scholars debate this orientation and who the builders may have been after the First Revolt.[48]  Clearly, the consensus of ancient writers is that the site of the Upper Room was in the western section of Jerusalem – an area also known from other sources to have been occupied by many Essene Jews.

14.02.03.D. Jerusalem as depicted on the A.D. 542 mosaic Madaba Map. Wikipedia Commons.


14.02.03.D. Jerusalem as depicted on the A.D. 542 mosaic Madaba Map.  Wikipedia Commons.


[1]. Nelesen, Yeshua; the Promise, the Land, the Messiah. (Video Tape 2).


[2]. They could not have used grape juice because there are no grapes ripening in the spring of the year.

[3]. See Appendix 5.


[4]. 2 Kgs. 11:5; 1 Chron. 9:25; 24:19; Josephus, Antiquities 7.14.7; See also Simmons, “The Origin of Christmas and the Date of Christ’s Birth.” 321-22.


[5]. See also 1 Cor. 11:17-34.


[6]. Avi-Yonah and Kraeling, Our Living Bible. 288.


[7]. Josephus, Wars 5.9.4 (410).


[8]. Toynbee, The Crucible. 221.


[9]. Lk. 2:7; 22:11; Mk. 14:14.


[10]. See 04.03.10. For more information on a typical upper room, see video 04.07.01.V2; Cosby, Interpreting Biblical Literature. 10, 14.


[11]. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 22, page 5.


[12]. See 02.02.06.


[13]. Nelesen, Yeshua; the Promise, the Land, the Messiah. (Video Tape 2).


[14]. Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:12; Lk. 22:7; For an excellent study on the various interpretations of this subject, see Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus. London: SCM, 1966, 15-88.


[15]. See Appendix 6 concerning Old Testament sacrifices and Jesus; Appendix 9 outlines the New Testament plan of salvation as presented in the Old Testament.


[16]. Tenney, New Testament Times. 174.

[17]. Shepherd, “Are Both the Synoptics and John Correct About the Date of Jesus’ Death?” 123-132.

[18]. Bahat. Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem. 55.


[19]. Notley, In the Master’s Steps. 66.


[20].  Since the Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70, the Jews wanted to honor their ancient King David who was born in Bethlehem. So they honored him in Bethlehem because they referred to the village as the “City of David.” Consequently, for centuries it was believed that David and Solomon were buried in the little hamlet town south of Jerusalem. Several ancient writers made reference to this historical error as fact. However, the truth is that King David was buried within the city of Jerusalem according to 1 Kings 2:10.


[21]. Schmalz, 20-21.

[22]. Schmalz, 21-22.

[23]. For more information on a typical upper room, see video 04.07.01.V2.


[24]. Mills and Michael, Messiah and His Hebrew Alphabet. 7.


[25]. Josephus, Antiquities 16.7.1; 7.15.3. (Don’t you just love an attitude adjustment from God?)

[26]. The same word as modern Israel’s legislative body.


[27]. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East. 103, 112.


[28]. Pixner, “Church of the Apostles Found.” 24.

[29]. Pixner, “Church of the Apostles Found.” 24-26; See also “First Century Synagogue Found.” Israel Today E-Newsletter.  January 15, 2013;  Skarsaune. In the Shadow of the Temple. 183-88.


[30]. Titus was not about to miss any gods for his victory.  He also traveled north to Caesarea Philippi and offered sacrifices to the god Pan in thankful celebration.


[31]. A/k/a Simon bar Kokhba Revolt.


[32]. After the destruction of the temple, Rabbi Akiva ( A.D. 50-135) was the founder of a great learning center in Jaffa and today is considered to be the father of rabbinic Judaism. He was killed by the Romans for supporting the messianic figure Simon bak Kokhba.


[33]. For further study, see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History. 4:6; Dio Cassius, Roman History. 69:12-14.


[34]. Skarsuane reports that For archaeological research that suggests that he Skarsaune. In the Shadow of the Temple. .


[35]. See “Replacement Theology” in Appendix 26.


[36]. See William Heinrich, In the Shame of Jesus: The History of Church-Sponsored Anti-Semitism.


[37]. Saint Hegesippus was an early church theologian and historian who wrote against the heresies of the Gnostics and Marcion.


[38]. Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 7.


[39]. Pixner, “Church of the Apostles Found.” 24-26.

[40]. Skarsaune. In the Shadow of the Temple. 183-88; Pixner, “Church of the Apostles Found.” 24-26.


[41]. Dio Caccius, Roman History 69:14. http://orion.it.luc.edu/~avande1/jerusalem/sources/cassiusDio-69.htm Retrieved November 25, 2012. Cassius Dio Cocceianus (Dio Caccius), in A.D. 222, described how destructive Emperor Hadrian was toward the Jewish people. The historian said 580,000 men were killed, 985 villages destroyed, and the number who died from famine and disease could not be counted.

[42]. Eusebius quoted by Schmalz 22; Eusebius, Demonstratio Evangelica 1.4 ;  Baldi, Enchiridion Locorum Sanctorum. 728, 474.


[43]. Epiphanius was a monk in Egypt and Palestine and eventually became the Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus.  He was known for being a strong defender of orthodoxy.


[44]. Mackowski, Jerusalem City of Jesus. 143;  Baldi, Enchiridion Locorum Sanctorum. 733, 478.

[45]. Baldi, Enchiridion Locorum Sanctorum. 730, 475.


[46]. The mosaic Madaba Map is in the village of Madaba, located about 20 miles south of Amman, the capital of Jordan. It measures approximately 51 feet (north to south) by 19 feet (east to west) totally about 969 square feet that contained about 1.1 million tesserae, which are the small colored mosaic tiles.

[47]. See “Madaba Map” in Appendix 26; See also 14.02.03.D and 05.02.03.Z. There is a common opinion that synagogues were built facing the temple.  However, archaeological surveys on many of the 200 synagogue ruins reveal that pre-destruction synagogues did not face the temple.  Only after the temple was destroyed, were synagogues built facing the Holy City. For further study, see Hachlili, Rachel. “Synagogues: Before and After the Roman Destruction of the Temple.” Biblical Archaeology Review. 41:3 (May/June 2015) 30-38, 65.


[48]. Zondervan New International Version Archaeological Study Bible. (2005 ed.) 1654.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.04 IMPORTANCE OF OCCASION

14.02.04 Lk. 22:14-16 Upper Room (The “Last Supper”)



14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.      16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus and the disciples gathered to celebrate a feast that was ordained of God since the foundations of the earth. All seven of the so-called Jewish festivals are, in fact, God’s festivals (Lev. 23). They are “types and shadows” of Christ, meaning that, in some way, they illustrate His characteristics.[1]

While the Jews continued to observe all the feasts, scholars believe the Jewish believers observed the Passover.  In fact, scholars believe that all churches observed Passover as affirmed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23.

16 Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah.

Colossians 2:16-17

The Passover observation ended with the rise of Constantine to power. He clearly separated Judaism from Christianity in every way possible.[2]

“When the hour came.” Passover was observed in the evening, immediately after sunset when the first two or three stars were visible in the sky (about 6:00 p.m.).[3]  At that time, from the highest point of the temple, there was a three-fold blast from the silver trumpets.[4] The anticipated hour had arrived because this was a solemn moment in the life of every Jew, but even more so for Jesus and His disciples.[5] For Jesus, it was time to observe the Passover; for most other Jews, it was Preparation Day for Passover.  No doubt they wondered why Jesus and His disciples were celebrating this sacred event a day early.

He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.”  This private feast had a clear theological purpose: to bring the past vividly into the present, so that the imagery of the sacrificial lamb of Passover, celebrated for some fifteen centuries, would be recognized as representing none other than Jesus Himself.

The Last Supper was not, as most modern Christians tend to believe, simply bread and red wine (or grape juice).  Rather, as stated previously, it was a full meal in Passover style with the Communion elements integrated into it. The group probably would have been seated around a triclinium table with one or two servants serving them.  The typical social setting was for men and women to recline at a table and lean on their left elbow.  This was a custom adopted from the Greeks centuries earlier and continued throughout the Roman Period. The only purpose of reclining was to enjoy a meal together.[6]   They would eat only with their right hands. Using the left hand to pass or get food was highly offensive, as it was the hand of personal hygiene and cursing.


14.02.04.A. A RECREATED TRICLINIUM COUCH.  In this recreated setting, a triclinium is a low couch that is in the shape of a letter “U.”  Guests laid on pillows or mats and leaned on their left elbows while using the right hand to eat. Servants would be able to walk in the center of the “U” to provide beverage and food for everyone. However, some scholars believe this is an incorrect representation and that the triclinium around a square or circular table.  Photographed at the Pilgrim Center in Jerusalem by the author.


In ordinary home life, people sat on chairs.  But on festive events they reclined on low couches that were set in a “U-shaped” configuration around a rectangular table. This layout was known as a triclinium. Reclining was symbolic of freedom and wealth as opposed to the enslavement their forefathers endured in Egypt.  Rabbi Levi said, around the year A.D. 300, that,

Because slaves eat standing, here [at the Passover meal] people should recline to eat to signify that they have passed from slavery to freedom.

Jerusalem Talmud, Pesachim 10:37b[7]


At any special gathering such as Passover, the host was always the rabbi and his disciples were reclining, not seated, around the triclinium.[8] The rabbi of the group, who in this case was Jesus, was always the host.


14.02.04.B. A 6th CENTURY DEPICTION OF THE LAST SUPPER.  This illustration depicts Jesus (seated on the left) with His disiciples around a triclinium.  This Roman-Greco custom of fine dining was adopted by the Jews and nearly all other Middle Eastern cultures. It represented freedom, dignity, and wealth. This scene is part of the Rossano Codex, a parchment manuscript of the Gospels preserved in Rossano, Italy. Scholars believe it is the work of Syrian or Byzantine scribes.


Video Insert    >

14.02.04.V The Triclinium of the Last Supper. Gordon Franz discusses the triclinium couch, the seating arrangement of Jesus and the disciples at the Last Passover, also known as the Last Supper.


[1]. See “Levitical Feasts as Prophetic Reflections of Jesus” in Appendix 5.

[2]. See William Heinrich, In the Shame of Jesus: The History of Church-Sponsored Anti-Semitism.

[3]. See discussion on “evening” in Appendix 16. Vine, “Even, Evening, Eventide.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:108.

[4]. See “Divisions of the Day” 19.16.00.A; Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 2:96-97.

[5]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 425; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 813.

[6]. Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. 374.

[7]. See also http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Instone-rewer/prepub/Sanhedrin%2043a%20censored.pdf. Retrieved May 26, 2013.

[8]. Some scholars believe that the triclinium consisted of three couches positioned on three sides (“tri” means 3) of the table, and was not the U-shaped table itself.

14.02.05 The Upper Room: A MEMORIAL TO JESUS

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.05 The Upper Room: A MEMORIAL TO JESUS

14.02.05 Lk. 22:17-20 (See also Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25) The Upper Room: 



17 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.  


The Last Supper, or Passover, pointed to three eras or events:

  1. Past: It memorialized the Exodus and the passing of an old era. This meal reflected upon the protective sacrifice that afforded deliverance and protection to the Israelites at the Exodus (Ex. 12).
  1. Present: Jesus introduces new meaning even though He is about to face death. This meal points to His death that will also deliver and afford divine protection. The Passover continued in the early church as directed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7. The Christian celebration, although without a lamb, was eventually terminated by Emperor Constantine in the early fourth century.
  1. Future: Finally, the fact that Jesus said that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes, means that He will not partake of it until the great Messianic Banquet (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26). In essence, the Passover meal is the “katuvah celebration” between Jesus and His church, similar to the katuvah celebration when a young man and his bride were betrothed some two thousand years ago.



14.02.05.Q1 How was the Passover Seder observed (Lk. 22:17-20)?[1]

The Passover Seder in Jerusalem had to be observed with ten men, although in some other areas, such as Galilee, it was observed with ten people of both genders. The order of the service varied from area to area, but the Seder itself was held in the late evening[2] or night.[3]  It was the custom of the time for people to eat two meals a day.  The first was mid-morning, reckoned to modern time of 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. and the second was late afternoon. The Passover meal had to be observed in the evening, which some sources state was about 4:00 P.M. but most say after sundown.[4]  It was a full meal with a religious ritual, rather than a regular mealtime event.[5]  This particular celebration, truly a Passover meal,[6] observed remembrance of the miracle that God provided for the Israelites when He delivered them from the bondage of Egyptian slavery.  As part of the observance a lamb was killed in the temple.  When it was offered upon the altar, its blood flowed and some was collected to be taken home and sprinkled on the lintel and doorpost of the Jewish home.  A part of the lamb would be offered for sacrifice while the rest of it was wrapped in its skin and taken home where it became a part of the Passover meal.[7]  When the death angel passed over the homes of the Hebrew children (later called “Jews”) and saw the blood, the life of the eldest child was spared.

The Passover meal included unleavened bread – bread without yeast. It has three symbolic meanings:

  1. It is “unleavened” because when the Israelites left Egypt, they were in such a hurry that there was not time for the bread to rise.
  1. The unleavened bread is symbolized as “the bread of affliction” in Psalm 80:5 that they suffered in the days of their slavery.
  1. This bread is in sharp contrast to the better food that will be enjoyed at the Messianic banquet.


Jesus was about to be killed and His blood was to be shed for the sins of humanity.  Those who would accept His forgiveness and follow His ways would have their lives spared from the bondage of sin and death. In memorial to Him the Passover meal, a/k/a the Last Supper, was probably according to this order of service:[8]

  1. A benediction
  1. A cup of red wine
  1. Hands of all present were ceremonially washed as the host passed the water basin and recited a prayer. It was a time to remember tears and sorrows as well as the crossing of the Red Sea. Passover was a personal event – as if God did that incredible sacrifice for every one present.
  1. Bitter herbs dipped in a hot sauce and eaten.
  1. A benediction (a blessing, not an ending of a service)
  1. A second eating of bitter herbs was a reminder of Egyptian bondage.
  1. A second cup of red wine followed by questions and answers that pertained to the original Passover meal.
  1. Singing the first part of the Hallel (Ps. 113 – 114)[9]
  1. A benediction
  1. The hands of the host are washed. A sop is made by wrapping a bit of lamb with unleavened bread in bitter herbs and dipping it in sauce. Thereafter, everyone followed in turn. The unleavened bread was a reminder of the haste that was made to leave Egypt, so there was no time for bread to rise.
  1. Each person can eat as much as is desired, finishing the meal with a piece of lamb. However, since lamb is not mentioned and this event occurred before the regularly scheduled Passover meal, some scholars have suggested that there was no lamb served during the Last Supper.
  1. Again the washing of hands
  1. The third cup of red wine.
  1. Singing the second part of the Hallel (Ps. 115-118) which was the conclusion.
  1. The fourth cup of red wine.


During the Passover, four cups of wine were part of the celebration.[10] The “fruit of the vine” is a Jewish technical term meaning Passover wine that was naturally fermented, not fermented artificially with added sugar or dried fruit.  These four cups reflect upon the “I wills” of Exodus 6 and 7, and are as follows:

  1. The first cup of wine was known as the Cup of Sanctification, a/k/a the Cup of Separation with Thanksgiving, and is based on Exodus 6:6-7. Jesus, as the host, picked up the first cup and gave the ceremonial blessing over the wine by praying, “Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.” After this the disciples partook of their cup of wine and Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me” (Jn. 13:21).

Most likely it was at this time that the four traditional questions were asked by the youngest as to the reason for the celebration.  A brief account should be given of the bondage that the Israelites had suffered in Egypt centuries past. This must have had a powerful impact, as the disciples would realize that Jesus was applying the Passover motif to deliverance from the bondage of sin. Then Judas realized his sin was discovered.[11]

  1. The second cup of wine was known as the Cup of Deliverance and Praise, based on Exodus 6:6 (cf Rom. 6:15-18). At the first Passover the Israelites praised God for their deliverance from Egypt. Since then, they were delivered from the Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Greeks, and from numerous other foreign powers. While many suffered, amazingly, there has always been a remnant that survived. No other people group has a parallel history.[12]
  1. The third cup of wine is known as the Cup of Redemption, based on Exodus 6:6.[13] First, the host of the Passover Seder holds up the unleavened bread, known as the afikomen and prays, “Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” Jesus then took the unleavened bread, broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body given to you” (Mk. 14:22; Lk. 22:19), and “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Lk. 22:20).[14]

The group continued through their Passover meal. He then said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Believers know this Cup of Redemption as The Communion Cup, because Jesus is their Redemption.  The Apostle Paul referred to this cup as “The Cup of Blessings” (1 Cor. 10:10), because of the special blessing that was spoken over it at the end of the Passover meal.[15] By the practice of this ordinance, believers are to remember His suffering death and promised return.[16]

In a similar manner when a young girl accepted the marriage proposal and the katuvah was signed.[17] The next cup of wine would be on their wedding day. When a young man proposed marriage to his future bride, he said,

Be thou betrothed to me with this cup of wine.

            Mishnah, Kiddushin 2.2




  1. Finally, the fourth cup of wine is known as the Cup of Acceptance or Cup of Anticipation, a/k/a the Cup of Ultimate Salvation. It is celebrated at the close of the Passover and is close to the Cup of Praise, based on Exodus 6:7. Jesus said specifically that He would not partake of this cup until He and all of His believers are together at the heavenly Messianic Banquet.[18] He told everyone to partake as this was the blood of the covenant which was poured out for many (Mt. 26:27-29; Mk. 14:24).[19] The phrase “poured out” or “shed” is a clear reference to the blood covenant of Exodus 24:4-8 that made God (Yahewh) the God of Israel.[20]  This moment must have been stunning for the disciples.


However, the fourth cup of wine has the double meaning of being the cup that will be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when Jesus and His bride celebrate their wedding. In essence, it is an integral part of the katuvah celebration.

The imagery of Passover – the sanctification, the praise, the redemption, and the acceptance or anticipation – is all within communion when properly understood. All four elements are critical to every believer’s life, but are seldom acknowledged at communion because the Jewish roots of the Christian faith is seldom known, even to experienced pastors.

Concerning wine – the ancients had no method for removing the alcohol content of the wine, but they did dilute it with water.  According to the Oral Tradition even the poorest man was to have no less than four cups of “mixed” wine.[21]  The wine represented the blood of the Passover lamb and was the ancient symbol for joy.[22]  It should be noted that both “spiked” wine and drunkenness were not tolerated and were highly condemned.[23]

The Passover lamb was purchased four days prior to the sacrifice during which time it was tenderly cared for in the home.  There it was loved and nurtured, winning the affection of everyone, especially the children. On the fourteenth day of Nisan, a massive slaughter of the Passover Lambs took place inside the temple.   It was always painful to see the cute and affectionate lambs get slaughtered, but the object lesson was obvious: The price of sin is always painful and costly.

At the blast of the silver trumpets, the sacrificial lamb was killed by the head of every Jewish family. At all other times the priests slaughtered the sacrifices. A Levitical priest then removed the fat, and burned it.  If a bone was broken in this process, the Oral Law demanded that the Levite receive one less than forty stripes, indicating that great care was taken in the punishment/ritual process.[24] During the sacrificial killing, the Levitical choir chanted the Hallel as the congregation repeated the first line of each Psalm after the choir sang it.  On the final Psalm (118), verses 25 and 26 were repeated by the congregation.

Its blood was poured out at the foot of the altar.  After chanting praises to God, the lamb was taken home to be roasted and consumed as the Passover observation continued in the privacy of a family setting.[25]  Technically, according to the Jewish calendar, the lamb was killed one day (before sundown) and eaten the next (after sundown).[26] There were so many men coming to the temple to sacrifice their lambs, that Josephus recorded that the temple gates were opened until after midnight to accommodate the crowds.[27]

It is from the observance of this Passover that the church celebrates Christ in a rite known as “Communion” or “Eucharist” (Gk. give thanks).[28] There are noticeable parallels between the ancient Passover ritual and the introduction of Communion by Jesus.


The Passover                                                 The Lord’s Supper

God remembered His covenant.                     A new covenant is introduced.


Slavery in Egypt remembered                         Freedom of slavery to sin


Deliverance from Egypt                                  Forgiveness of sins (Mt. 26:28)


Blood of the Passover Lamb                          The Passover Lamb was symbolic for the

atoned for sins                                                blood of Jesus that removed sins.[29]


Interpretation of the Passover                         Interpretation of the Lord’s Supper elements



Call for continued celebration                        Call for continued celebration


Scholars also debate the influence of a community of Essenes in western Jerusalem near the Essene Gate. Josephus identified its location, which assisted archaeologists in uncovering it, but the historian said little else of it.[30]  Most scholars believe that Jesus and the disciples celebrated their Passover in an Essene home. There are several considerations for this opinion:

  1. Some believe that, since the Essenes had separated themselves from mainline Judaism by celebrating Passover a day early, Jesus and His disciples made use of such a facility.[31] They had their own community in the western edge of Jerusalem on Mount Zion.
  1. There were numerous theological differences and Jesus most certainly would not have been in agreement with the Essenes on many issues.
  1. Since the Passover meal was only between Jesus and His disciples, the observance could have been held anywhere.
  1. It was most important for Jesus to die on the cross at the same time that Passover lambs were sacrificed in the temple. Therefore, Jesus and His disciples had to have had their Passover lamb early, since it was impossible to observe Passover without a lamb in the Second Temple Period.


There is another debate among scholars as to whether the name of this Essene gate was derived from Essenes residents or from the road leading from the gate to Qumran where a number of Essenes lived. Frequently, a gate was named for the distant city to which the road from the gate led.  For example: the road from the Damascus Gate led to Damascus and the road from the Jaffa Gate led to the seaport town of Jaffa.[32]  However, not all gates have such honors, such as the Dung Gate or the Sheep Gate.  In all probability, this gate was named because there were Essenes living in the adjacent area as well as the road that led to the Qumran community by the Dead Sea.

 Video Insert    >

14.02.05.V1 The Last Passover and Possible Connection to the Essene Calendar. Dr. Paul Wright discusses the “biblical difficulty” of Jesus celebrating the Passover the day before most other Jews celebrated it. Did Jesus observe the Passover according to the Essene Calendar?


As previously stated, there were regional variations of the Passover observances. The Mishnah, for example, states that on the 14th day of Nisan the people of Judea worked until noon, while in Galilee there was no work to be done at all.[33]  Finally, the early church celebrated Passover (without the lamb) and communion for three centuries, until the practice was decreed to be illegal by Constantine the Great, who was also largely responsible for removing the last traces of Jewishness from Christianity. Until the year 325 the church fathers understood the words of Paul to be taken literally when he said,

Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:8 


These Passover-observing Christians were called the Quartodecimians or Fourteeners, by Hellenistic Christians who had no understanding of the significant meaning of Passover in Jews’ or Christians’ lives.[34] In so doing Paul implied the apostles should maintain the liturgical Jewish calendar.[35]

There are two final thoughts to be discussed.  Throughout history whenever the Jews observed the Feast of Passover and recalled their flight from Egypt, they did not use terms such as “our forefathers,” “our ancestors,” or “them.” They used the personal pronoun “us,” and, thereby, identified themselves as the recipients of God’s deliverance. In fact, they personalized the Bible as if it was written specifically for each family. Likewise, Jesus affirmed and continued the personalized element of the Passover/Last Supper Communion celebration.

Not everyone who claimed to be a believer was permitted to participate in the Lord’s Supper, that is, the Communion / Eucharist. It must be noted that Matthew 7:6 (08.04.04) quickly became a significant guidepost for admitting some and prohibiting others from attending the sacred ritual. Church growth was exploding and many false teachers entered various congregations causing chaos and confusion.  Tertullian complained that popular false teachers and heretics permitted everyone to our Lord’s Table, similar to “Open Communion” practiced by many churches today. He said,

That which is holy they will cast to the dogs, and pearls to swine.

Tertullian, De Praescriptione 41


The early church not only underscored the exclusiveness of the Lord’s Table, but also made a reference to Matthew 7:6 as follows.

Let no one eat and drink from your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord: to this, too, the saying of the Lord is applicable, “Do not give to dogs what is sacred.”

Didache 9:5[36]


The early church did not observe “Open Communion,” whereby anyone who said they were a believer could participate. Being a Christian was too dangerous to permit any stranger be part of the believer’s circle. The gospel message was available to everyone.  However, to become a part of the inner-circle of believers and partake of the Communion Table, one had to show evidence of a changed and consecrated life.  While the Didache states that all those who participate in Communion should be baptized, the cultural context of the entire passage restricts Communion to only those who were baptized and live an obedient lifestyle.[37] It has been said that the challenges that the first century church faced immediately after Jesus returned to heaven will be the same immediately before He returns. If so, then church leaders today may need to re-evaluate their open communion policies.



14.02.05.A. SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD SEAL CERTIFIED TEMPLE SACRIFICE. In 2011 archaeologists excavating at the Robinson’s Arch section of the Temple Mount, discovered a small clay seal with the inscription “Pure for God.” It is believed that when a worshiper had his sacrificial offering inspected and approved, he was given a seal like this one to carry with his sacrifice to a priest at the altar.[38]

While the theme and basic structure of the Passover Seder (Passover Service) was standardized, there were regional variations. There is no consensus on the format of a first century Passover and, quite possibly, this is because of variations that existed within Judaism.  Jewish scholars have cataloged more than 1,600 forms, three basic elements have remained consistent:

  1. The bread is unleavened,
  1. The bread is striped, and
  1. The bread is pierced.


Jesus was symbolized in the bread in that He was sinless (unleavened), He was scourged with a Roman whip (striped), and He was pierced with a Roman sword and nails.  Two writers of antiquity preserved valuable details – first Josephus followed by one of the writers of the Mishnah:

In the month of  Xanthicus, which is by us called Nissan, and is the beginning of our year on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians), the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so do we celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice until the following day. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of Passover and falls on the fifteenth day of the month and continues for seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread.  On every one of which days two bulls are killed and one ram and seven lambs.  Now these lambs are entirely burnt beside the kid of the goats, which is added to all the rest, for sins.  For it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days.  But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth for before that day they do not touch them.  And when they supposed it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision in the first place, they offer the first fruits of their barley, and that in the following manner: They take a handful of the ears and dry them, then beat them small and purge the barley from the bran.  They then bring one-tenth deal to the altar to God, they leave the rest for the use of the priest and after this, it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest.  They also at the participation of the first fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb as a burnt offering to God.

Josephus, Antiquities 3.10.5 (248-251)


On the eve of Passover, from about the time of the Evening Offering a man must eat nothing until nightfall.  Even the poorest in Israel must not eat unless he sits down to table, and they must not give more than four cups of wine to drink, even if it is from the (Pauper’s) Dish.

After they have mixed him his first cup, the School of Shammai says: he says the benediction first over the day and then the Benediction over the wine.  And the School of Hillel says: he says the Benediction first over the wine and then the Benediction over the day.

When (food) is brought before him he eats it seasoned with lettuce, until he is come to the breaking of bread; they bring before him unleavened bread and lettuce and the haroseth (the mixture of nuts, fruit, and vinegar), although haroseth is not a religious obligation.  Rabbi Eliezer ben Rabbi Zadok says: It is a religious obligation.  And in the holy city, they used to bring before him the body of the Passover-offering.

They then mix him the second cup.  And here the son asks his father (and if the son has not enough understanding his father instructs him how to ask), “Why is the night different from other nights?  For on other nights we eat seasoned food once, but this night twice; on other nights, we eat leavened or unleavened bread, but on this night all is unleavened; on other nights we eat flesh roast, stewed, or cooked, but this night all is roast.”  And according to the understanding of the son his father instructs him.  He begins with the disgrace and ends with the glory; and he expounds from a wandering Aramean was my father … until he finishes the whole section (Deut. 26:5-11).

Rabban Gamaliel used to say; “Whoever had not said (the verses concerning) these three things at Passover has not fulfilled his obligation.  And these are they: Passover, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs: ‘Passover’ – because God passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt; ‘Unleavened bread’ – because our father was redeemed from Egypt; ‘Bitter herbs’ – because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our fathers in Egypt.  In every generation a man must so regard himself; as if he came forth himself out of Egypt, for it is written: “And you shall tell your son in that day saying, ‘It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt. Therefore are we bound to give thanks, to praise, to glorify, to honor, to exalt, to extol, and to bless him who did all these wonders for our fathers and for us.  He brought us out of bondage to freedom from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning to a festival-day, and from darkness to great light, and from servitude to redemption, so let us say before him the Hallelujah.

How far do they recite (the Hallel, i.e. Ps. 113-118) the School Shammai say: “To a joyful mother of children” (end of Ps. 113).  And the School of Hillel says:  “To a flintstone into a spring well” (end of Ps. 114).[39] And this concluded with the Ge’ullah (a benediction). Rabbi Tarfon says: “He that redeemed us and our fathers from Egypt and brought us to this night to eat therein unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”  But there is no concluding Benediction. Rabbi Akiba adds: “Therefore, O Lord our God and the God of our fathers, bring us in peace to the other set of feasts and festivals which are coming to meet us, while we rejoice in the building – up of your city and are joyful in your worship; and may we eat there of the sacrifices and of the Passover-offerings the wall of your altar and let us praise you for our redemption and for the ransoming of our soul.  Blessed are you, O Lord who redeemed Israel.”

After they have mixed for him the third cup he says the Benediction over his meal.  (Over) a fourth (cup) he completes the Hallel and says after it the Benediction over song.  If he is minded to drink (more) between these cups, he may drink; only between the third and the fourth cups he may not drink.

After the Passover meal they should not disperse to join in revelry.

Mishnah, Pesahim 10.1-8[40]


It should be noted that both the circumcision and Passover symbolized the covenant God had with the Israelites.  The Passover is the memorial of when God saved the lives of Jews as He led them out of Egyptian bondage and, eventually, into the Promised Land.  Circumcision was symbolic of the covenant relationship between God and man, which was to be passed on from generation to generation, because the promises of God were to Abraham and to all of his descendants. Therefore, no uncircumcised Jew or non-Jew was permitted to participate in the Passover event (Ex. 12:48).  It appears that both rites were suspended during the forty year desert wandering, but resumed when the Israelites entered the land of Canaan (Num. 9:2). No explanation was given for its forty year discontinuance. It should also be noted that there was no sacrificial lamb during the previous exilic times. But by the first century so many Jews were living hundreds of miles from Jerusalem that the rabbis decreed every Jew needed to visit Jerusalem only once in a lifetime.[41]

For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine.”  By this statement Jesus said He would wait for His bride until the Kingdom of God is completed.  The imagery of this cup of wine was that of a bridegroom offering a cup of wine to his bride, when the katuvah was signed (a new covenant).  The couple shared the third [Passover] cup of wine on their wedding day.  The fourth cup of wine is the last of the Passover cups and has the double meaning of being the cup that will be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when Jesus and His bride celebrate their wedding. This Passover meal concluded with a dramatic change from the customary closing.  Jesus offered bread and wine to His disciples and stated that these elements were to be symbolic of Him, the new covenant, and in remembrance of Him. In later years, the observance of wine and bread became known as “Communion” or “Holy Eucharist.”

In the timeline of God, there are “Three Great Passovers” to be considered, and understanding these provides full meaning of this special and sacred observance.

  1. The Passover of Egypt when God brought His people out of Egyptian slavery and out of the environment of Egyptian gods.
  1. The Passover of the Last Supper when Jesus not only connected His life to the first Passover, but also “sealed the marriage katuvah” with his bride.[42]
  1. The Messianic Banquet is not a Passover, but there are clear resemblances to a Passover as well as to a first century wedding.


The term the “Lord’s Supper” is used only once in the New Testament (1 Cor. 11:20).  It reflects the special nature of the event in the early church. The common word eucharistic, meaning thanksgiving, was not used until the time of Ignatius in the early second century.[43] While the Eucharist / Communion is certainly something to be revered and be thankful for, unfortunately, the church has lost the full meaning of it.

Video Insert    >

14.02.05.V2 The Imagery of the Passover and Last Supper in the Messianic Wedding Banquet. Professor John Metzger discusses the purity of the (L)lamb during the Passion Week and the related imagery of the bride and groom to the Messianic Wedding Banquet.


“This is my body.” The Passover bread was the emblem, or representation of His body that is a figure of speech. In essence, bread is the all inclusive term meaning all that is required to live – the substance of life is Jesus.[44] A similar literary style is found in Deuteronomy 32:4. Other examples are these: In that passage Moses said the “He is like a rock,” the pictorial imagery of the Hebrew Law becomes quite evident.  In John 15:5 Jesus said that “I am the vine and you are the branches,” obviously not literally, but represented by the vine and branches.  In this passage, Jesus represented His “body” and “blood” with the emblems of bread and wine (or grape juice). Israel had been the vine, into which all people had to connect to worship God.  But when Jesus said, “I am the vine,” He clearly stated that He was the only way to God the Father and eternal life in heaven.

Throughout church history the phrase has been defined as “this represents my sacrifice,” as well as “this is myself.”[45] These words are a metaphor, as underscored by the Apostle Paul:  “This is my body which is for you; do this as my memorial.”  The blood of Jesus was a clear reflection upon the first Passover, when Moses sprinkled the blood of a lamb on the door openings of the Jewish homes, so that the death angel would pass over them.  He said, “This is the blood of covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Ex. 24:8). If the words of Jesus were taken literally, they would state that the church is an extension of the incarnation, which is obviously not true.[46]

Holy Communion consists of bread and wine (or grape juice).  In the Old Testament, bread was symbolic of God’s provision to His people and wine was symbolic of His joy for those who would be in the Messiah’s kingdom.  The imagery was the same during the Passover celebration.[47]  In the millennial reign Israel will offer sacrifices as memorials of the death of Jesus (Ezekiel 46:13-25), while the church will memorialize the death with the breaking of bread and drinking from the cup, as described by the Apostle Paul:

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord.

 1 Corinthians 11:23-27   




Here lies an interesting illustration between the proverbial “old law” of the Hebrew Bible and the “new law” of the New Testament.  The Apostle Paul said the believer was to come to the communion table with a pure heart (1 Cor. 11:27). Anyone who comes to partake of the bread and of the fruit of the vine is to first resolve all conflicts with his fellow man, before he can come into the presence of God.  When a Jew came to the mikvah, he or she immersed in the water before entering into the presence of God in the temple.[48]  The Jews, however, also recognized that the ritual bath was symbolic of what was to be in the heart, for the twelfth century rabbinic scholar Maimonides said, “Now ‘uncleanness’ is not a matter of mud or filth which water can remove, but is a matter of scriptural decree and dependent on the intention of the heart.”[49] So likewise, prior to coming to the communion table, believers are to resolve their differences before entering into the presence of our Lord in their fellowship. Finally, it is interesting that there is no mention of a Passover lamb in the gospel narratives. Most certainly there was a lamb or it would not have been a true Passover. The reason for the omission maybe that the last supper would be continued under the name of “communion” wherein Jesus is worshiped for being the Passover Lamb who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.

This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.” The Greek word for covenant in this phrase, diatheke is not the word used when there is an agreement between equals (which is suntheke), but the word for covenant between a superior benefactor and his inferior servant.[50] A diatheke covenant is the type of covenant whereby a group of people will bind themselves to a king or protector.  This diatheke covenant is the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Jeremiah.

“Look, the days are coming”— this is the Lord’s declaration — “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”

Jeremiah 31:31


The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:25, where he quoted Jesus, that the commemorative communion, is the new covenant. It also looks back into history upon the sacrifice of Jesus and His death and resurrection, while it looks forward to the marriage feast (a covenant feast celebration) in the heavenly Kingdom of God (Mt. 26:29).

Covenants were strong and powerful agreements between two partners and were made with the promise of death to the one who would break it. Jesus made the new covenant and then died on our behalf, because believers break covenants daily.  The phrase “My blood, which is poured out for you,” or “My blood; it is shed for you,” is reflective of the covenant established between God and Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex. 19-24). After Moses encountered God, he and the people built an altar at the foot of the mountain and sacrificed an animal. Moses poured out half of the blood upon the base of the altar and the other half he sprinkled upon the people.[51] The Last Supper was and continues to be a perfect “type and shadow” of the sacrificial offering made by Moses fifteen centuries earlier (cf Ex. 19-24; Heb. 8:8-12).[52]

When Jesus referred to “His blood,” He used the phrase figuratively just as bread was used figuratively concerning His body. It was not blood which they drank, as is evident from the fact that later he called it “the fruit of the vine.” The wine or grape juice was the emblem of His blood which was soon to be shed for many.

[1]. See video comments by messianic scholar Timothy Hegg in 01.01.02.V.


[2]. See discussion on “evening” in Appendix 16.


[3]. 1 Cor. 11:23; Jn. 13:30; Mk. 14:17; Mt. 26:20.


[4]. Ex. 12:8; Mk. 14:17; 1 Cor. 11:23.


[5]. Stein, R. Jesus the Messiah. 203.

[6]. Mt. 26:2, 17-19; Mk. 14:1, 12, 14, 16; Lk. 22:1, 7-8, 13, 15.


[7]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 423-23.

[8]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 427; Stein, R. Jesus the Messiah. 204-05.  It is not surprising that scholars may have differences of opinion on how the Passover was celebrated. Even in the first century, there were variations throughout the Mediterranean area. A slightly different Seder order of service is presented by Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 22, pages 5-13.

[9]. For identifying the connections of Jesus with the Hallel (Ps. 114-118), see 04.06.01.


[10]. Stahler, “The Four Cups.” 14-16; Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 1:216-18.


[11]. Pixner, With Jesus in Jerusalem. 93.

[12]. Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 1:218-222.


[13]. See also Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Gal. 4:4-7.


[14]. See interesting comments by Messianic scholar Timothy Hegg concerning the third cup in 01.02.01.V.

[15]. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 827.

[16]. Other references that pertain to Holy Communion are Lk. 22:19-20; Mt. 26:26-28; Mk. 14:22-25; Jn. 6:48-58; 1 Cor. 11:23-39.

[17]. The marital contract is further described in 04.03.03.A and 08.02.01.

[18]. See 1 Cor. 15:50-55;  2 Cor. 5:17-21.


[19]. Mendenhall, “Covenant.” 1:722.


[20]. Guhrt, “Covenant, Guarantee, Mediator.” 1:365-66.


[21]. Mishnah, Pesahim 10:1-2, 4, 7.

[22]. Rosen and Rosen, Christ in the Passover. 50-51.

[23]. “Spiked wine” was wine with added sugar or dried fruit that increased the alcohol content, and was known as “strong drink.” See Appendix 26.


[24]. Mishnah, Pesahim 7:11.

[25]. Rosen and Rosen, Christ in the Passover. 46-48.

[26]. Bloch, The Biblical and Historical. 101.  Sunset was deemed to be the end of one day and the beginning of the next day.

[27]. Josephus,  Antiquities 18.2.2.


[28]. Stein, R. Jesus the Messiah. 205.

[29]. See 1 Cor. 5:7; Jn. 1:29, 36.


[30]. Josephus, Wars 5.4.2 (145).

[31]. Hoffman, “The Bread of Sacrifice.” Vol. 2 Part 4.

[32]. Those who oppose the position that Jesus celebrated Passover in the Essene community of western Jerusalem cite that there is no archaeological evidence that the Essenes lived there. However, the Essene lifestyle was such that there would not have been any identifiable differences of a material nature or archaeological evidence. As to the date or location of the Passover, they are resolved that it remains a mystery.

[33]. Mishnah, Pesahim 4:5.

[34]. Garr, Restoring Our Lost Legacy. 143-45.

[35]. Garr, Restoring Our Lost Legacy. 155-56.

[36]. The Didache is a book on church order that was written within a century of the life of Jesus. For more information, see 02.02.08.


[37]. Pilch, The Cultural Dictionary of the Bible. 94.


[38]. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/jerusalem-seal-gives-evidence-for-temple-ritual/?mqsc=E3013909 Retrieved December 27, 2011.

[39]. Today Bibles have the convenience of chapter and verse divisions. Most historical sources credit Stephen Langton (1150-1228) for placing chapter divisions in the Vulgate Bible in the year 1228. Therefore, the ending of these readings was indicated by the quotation.

[40]. Insertions by Danby, ed., Mishnah.

[41]. Bloch, The Biblical and Historical. 104, 106, 109.

[42]. The marital contract is further described in 04.03.03.A and 08.02.01. See also the video 09.03.04.V1 by Rabbi John Fischer who discusses first century wedding imagery.

[43]. Wigoder, “Last Supper.”

[44]. Cranefield, “Bread.” 37.


[45]. Some Christian denominations believe that the bread and wine literally and miraculously turn into the flesh and blood of Jesus.


[46]. Kaiser, Davids, Bruce, and Brauch. Hard Sayings of the Bible. 449; Farrer, “Body of Christ.” 1:203.

[47]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 432.

[48]. Zondervan’s New International Version Archaeological Study Bible. (2005, ed.). 1562.


[49]. Maimonides. Book of Cleanness. 526., quoted by William Sanford La Sor in “Discovering What Jewish Miqva’ot Can Tell Us About Christian Baptism.” 52, 84.

  1. Ladd, Biblical Expositor. 3:67; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 356; Barclay, A New Testament Wordbook. 30-32.


[51]. For a study of Jewish covenants from a messianic Jewish perspective, see Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.


[52]. Saldarini, Jesus and the Passover. 60. See Appendix 6 concerning Old Testament sacrifices and Jesus. Appendix 9 reveals the New Testament plan of salvation as presented in the Old Testament. See Appendix 3 for a comparison of Moses as a prophetic picture of Jesus. See also “type and shadow” in Appendix 26.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.06 JESUS HINTS OF HIS BETRAYER CAUSING DISCIPLES TO ARGUE

14.02.06 Lk. 22:21-32



21 But look, the hand of the one betraying Me is at the table with Me! 22 For the Son of Man will go away as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”

23 So they began to argue among themselves which of them it could be who was going to do this thing. 24 Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest.

25 But He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles dominate them, and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. 27 For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves. 28 You are the ones who stood by Me in My trials. 29 I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one on Me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom. And you will sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.

31 “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”


As they gathered for the Passover meal, His ministry was approaching its climax.  For over three years the disciples had traveled with Him, and during that time He had told them of His impending suffering and death (Lk. 22:14). But what did their discussions focus on now?  It was a concern as to who would be the greatest among them (Lk. 22:24). Obviously, they failed to grasp what was most important to Jesus.


Their questions concerning power and authority had perplexed them on several occasions.[1]  Jesus had given ample teaching on leadership and now was the time for one last lesson.



14.02.06.Q1 Why did Jesus wash the disciple’s feet (Lk. 22:21-32)?       


As in any ancient Middle Eastern city in or near a desert, the streets of Jerusalem were covered with manure and raw sewage.  The dry Sirocco winds blow in dust from the northern edge of the Arabian Desert located east of the Jordan River.[2]  In this environment, people frequently walked barefoot or wore simple leather thongs on their feet.  Obviously, one did not have to travel far before his or her feet became filthy, sore, and tired.  As a result, it was the custom for slaves to wash the feet of a guest upon entering a home or prior to eating with a host family. It was cleansing and refreshing.


Likewise, it was the custom of disciples to care for the needs of their mentors and rabbis. They provided his food, all his worldly cares, and made his life as comfortable as possible. That included washing his feet – a relaxing pleasure at the end of a day’s journey.  In return, the rabbis taught them the Scriptures, in particular, the application of the Torah to the daily issues of life. At this Passover, everyone already had their feet washed when they entered the house.  So why did Jesus wash the disciples’ feet?  There are two possible answers:


  1. The traditional interpretation which is taught elsewhere in Scripture is that service to others should be done with humility and in the name of Jesus.


  1. But a few scholars have suggested that when the rabbi felt that one or more of his disciples were ready to “graduate,” he would wash their feet. Little did they know that soon they would no longer be disciples, but rabbinic apostles. The feet washing was both a ritual to teach humility and a commissioning service to man and God.[3] The difficulty with this viewpoint is that there is no written hint of a commissioning service – yet Jesus often said that He would soon die in Jerusalem. Had they considered what they might do after that? Apparently not.


They had just completed their last Passover together in which Jesus connected the significance of the ancient exodus from Egypt and the wedding imagery of the cups of wine to the future marriage of the Lamb. The significant point is that their service to others would be with the humility of a slave. While they were to teach and demonstrate the Kingdom of God, their lives were to be ones of humility and service. As Jesus was sent by the Father,[4] so likewise He sent out the seventy disciples (Lk. 10:1) and then the twelve.[5] 

[1]. Mt. 18:1-5; 20:20-28; Mk. 9:33-37; 10:32-45; Lk. 9:46-48.


[2].  Levy, The Ruin and Restoration of Israel. 89. For a study of historical maps of this region, see Nebenzahl, Kenneth. Maps of the Holy Land. New York: Abbeville Press. 1986.


[3]. While some scholars believe that a foot washing service was a graduating or commissioning event among some rabbis, it is important not to “read that into this text.” The genuine commissioning into ministry occurred on the Day of Pentecost. Yet the foot washing event must have made the disciples think in a broader context of their own ministry.


[4]. Mt. 15:24; Mk 9:37; Lk.9:48; Jn. 3:17; 5:36; 6:29.


[5]. Mt. 10:5; Mk. 3:14; 6:7; Lk. 9:2; Jn. 4:38.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.07 JESUS HUMBLY WASHES THE APOSTLES’ FEET

14.02.07 Jn. 13:1-10 The Upper Room




1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. 4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.           

5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.”

8 “You will never wash my feet — ever!” Peter said.

Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”

9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”



14.02.07.A.  FOOT-WASHING BASIN. A pottery basin similar to the ones that may have been used for foot washing in the first century.  Basins found in wealthier homes were made of metal, such as lead or copper.[1] Photographed by the author at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.


Took a towel, and tied it around Himself.”  A towel around the waist was the common dress of a slave. Jesus had taken off His more expensive outer clothing, put on the garment of a slave – the lowest kind of slave – and became a servant to the disciples.[2]  Household servants had no honor, dignity, or position. Jesus made Himself into the lowest human form. The Apostle Paul said Jesus made Himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant (Phil. 2:6-8).


“Began to wash His disciples’ feet.” How interesting it is that, immediately after the disciples argued as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Jesus, their leader began the most humbling act of the evening. The head of the household would never perform such an act.  Therefore, when Jesus began to wash the feet of His disciples, He broke all the cultural traditions with His message of servanthood.[3] Furthermore, the disciples already had their feet washed when they entered the house.  The act by Jesus was an object lesson of humility and servanthood.  This act is parallel to the “first shall be last and the last shall be first” teaching.  His values are essentially upside down from what the world considers to be logical and normal.

[1]. Farrar, Life of Christ. 375.

[2]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 51.


[3]. Farrar, Life of Christ. 375.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.08 JESUS EXPLAINS WASHING

14.02.08 Jn. 13:12-17




12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.

16 “I assure you:                                                                                                                   A slave is not greater                                                                                                            than his master,                                                                                            and a messenger is not greater                                                                                             than the one who sent him.                                                              

17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.  


“And a messenger is not greater.” The English word messenger is translated from the Greek word apostolos, which is more frequently translated as apostle.[1] An apostle is one who is sent forth to act on a particular matter, as in the case of the Apostle Paul who was sent forth to preach the Kingdom of God to the Gentiles. This passage is a clear indication that the disciples would become apostles.

[1]. Campbell, “Apostle.” 20-21.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 21, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.02.09 JESUS PREDICTS HIS BETRAYAL

14.02.09 Jn. 13:18-21 (See also Mt. 26:20-21; Mk. 14:17-18)



18 I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats My bread has raised his heel against Me.

19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. 20 I assure you: Whoever receives anyone I send receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

21 When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit and testified, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me!”


The one who eats My bread.” To share food with someone from a common bowl was symbolic of a most trusted friendship.  It was equal to the loyalty of a blood relative.  These words became the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9, as Jesus clearly stated to everyone that the traitor was identified.


9 Even my friend in whom I trusted,          

one who ate my bread,

has raised his heel against me.

Psalm 41:9


An example is the friendship and act of loyalty extended by King David who invited Mephibosheth to eat at his table (2 Sam. 9:7-13). Mephibosheth was the last surviving member of King Saul’s family and David had, by cultural tradition, every right to kill him. But instead, David accepted him into his own family. Another example is found in 1 Kings 18:18-20 where the prophets of Baal ate at the table of Jezebel.


Whenever a meal was shared with someone, there was a special bonding and trust for which there is no parallel in Western society.  That is why the Pharisees were extremely incensed with Jesus when He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners.  The depth of affection, loyalty, love, and bonding expressed at the gathering of the disciples for communion is profound. Conversely, to share a meal with someone and then betray him is a travesty of the highest order.  The Apostle Paul said anyone who shares communion in an unworthy manner sins “against the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27) – an equal travesty.


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