Did Jesus Eat the Passover Lamb?

One obvious situation where we might see Jesus eating meat would the very important Passover meal, where lamb would be traditionally served (Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7). Passover is an extremely important part of all four gospels. The Passover meal is enmeshed into the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Moreover, the Gospel of John has three Passovers narrated, while Luke writes that Jesus’ family – when he was younger – would go to Jerusalem annually for the Passover (a pretty rare and difficult thing to do living far away in Galilee; Luke 2:41ff).

Mark refers to when exactly the Passover lamb is sacrificed (14:12), but the narration does not show Jesus and his disciples eating the meat, but eating bread (Mark 14:20, 22ff). Did Jesus and/or his disciples have a bit of lamb too?  It is unclear, but seems historically plausible, if not probable.  Luke is a bit more forthcoming than Matthew on this issue, referring to the sacrifice of Passover lamb (Luke 22:7) and preparing Passover meal in the very next verse (Luke 22:8).  This more strongly implicates Jesus and his disciples in eating a regular Passover meal (Luke 22:15), though never directly depicts him eating the meat as clearly as the wine and bread.  John is no help either on this: for the second Passover, the only food is loaves and fishes, and only bread is discussed (John 6:4-21, 26).

It is historically plausible – maybe even probable – that Jesus and his disciples would have partaken in eating lamb at the Passover lamb, but the narratives never explicitly say they refrained. Since refraining would have been the weirder course of action – and would , therefore, probably have been commented upon – it seems more likely they would have eaten. But, due to the Passover meal / Last Supper becoming the blueprint for the Eucharist, the focus here is on bread and wine.


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