Physicist Sir Colin J. Humphreys just released his new research using biblical, astronomical and historical research to try to pinpoint the timing of Jesus’ final meal with his disciples before his death.
Humphreys claim that while Matthew, Mark and Luke all say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John claims it took place before Passover.
He asserts in his new book, “The Mystery of The Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus,” that by placing the Last Supper on Wednesday instead of on Passover, Jesus’ arrest, interrogation and separate trials would have occurred over a longer period of time instead of all in one night.
“It is impossible to fit them in between a Thursday evening and Friday morning,” he said.
His conclusion is that Jesus died on April 3, and a fixed date for Easter could be set on April 5. What do you think about this new theory? Does it make sense that while Matthew, Mark and Luke agree that Jesus’ Last Supper was on Passover night, John was contradicting them?
Just because the learned professor cannot fathom how certain events recorded in the gospel accounts took place between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon — should we assume three of the four gospel writers got it wrong?
Since all the gospel writers waited years before documenting the facts and John wrote his gospel account last, should we conclude that John was trying to suggest something different than his contemporaries wrote or rather that his Gospel account was meant to complement theirs?
What does the Holy Scriptures show? Humphreys claims John said the Lord’s evening meal took place before the Passover. Is this really what John said?
Examine John 13:1 for yourself. It reads, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
Since John says “before” the Passover,” Humphreys might assume John meant an entire day before the Passover — Wednesday. But is that what John said? No. There is nothing in the Scriptures to suggest John was referring to Wednesday.
Since Passover was from sundown on Thursday to sundown on Friday, according to the Jewish calendar, John could say that Jesus knew his hour had come on that same day — Thursday.
The fact that the Last Supper took place the same night as the Passover is clearly seen at Luke 22:15-20, where Jesus tells his faithful apostles, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.” — New Living Translation.
Following that Passover meal Jesus institutes the new covenant, using unleavened bread and wine in symbol of his body and blood, which he is ready to offer as a sacrifice.
What John’s account gives us in chapters 13-17 are details of that same Thursday night that he was privileged to see and hear. For example, John 13:4 says of Jesus, “So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist.” — New International Version.
He then washed the feet of his disciples, including Judas. That this was the same night as the Passover can be seen by the fact that Jesus tells them at John 13:21, “one of you shall betray me.”
This shocking news was recorded by all four Gospel writers as happening on Thursday night, Nisan 14, 33 C.E. (Matthew 26:21, Mark 14:18 and Luke 22:21) — not Wednesday. According to John 13:22-27, on this same night Jesus identified Judas as his betrayer. Then verse 30 says of Judas, “Therefore, after he received the morsel, he went out immediately. And it was night.” — New World Translation.
There is nothing to indicate a new day came and went. In fact, John shares with us the conversation Jesus had with his faithful disciples after Judas left and the new covenant was instituted in chapters 14-16 as well as the faith-strengthening prayer Jesus gave in chapter 17 before going out into the garden later that Passover night, according to John 18:1. Aren't we glad he did?
Instead of contradicting the other Gospel writers, John seems to complement their accounts with missing details that only surfaced decades later — not regarding a Wednesday, but on that same Passover night.
As far as it being “impossible” to railroad an innocent man with false witnesses and mock trials all in one night — that sounds like a euphemistic way of questioning the account as it was written. One would think it would be impossible to see what those people saw and deny who Jesus was, but they did. Governments have toppled overnight. All things are possible.
I guess at this point in my life I have to ask myself if I am willing to doubt these Gospel writers in favor of Humphreys' new theory? Which do you think will stand the test of time? This is not one to pass over. You decide.
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