In my daily Bible reading—which unfortunately, is not as ‘daily’ as I’d like it to be—I came across these two related verses:
“28 Then they led Jesus from Caʹia·phas to the governor’s palace. It was now early in the day. But they themselves did not enter into the governor’s palace, that they might not get defiled but might eat the passover.” (Joh 18:28)
“. . .Now it was preparation of the passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he [Pilate] said to the Jews: “See! YOUR king!”” (Joh 19:14)
If you’ve been following the articles on the memorial of Christ’s death published on www.meletivivlon.com (the original Beroean Pickets site), you will be aware that we commemorate the memorial one day prior to the date Jehovah’s Witnesses do. JWs align their commemoration with the date of the Jewish Passover.[i] As can be plainly seen by these verses, the Passover was not yet eaten when Jesus was handed over to Pilate to be killed. Jesus and his disciples had eaten their final meal together the evening before. Likewise, if we are trying to approximate the commemoration of the Lord’s Evening Meal as closely as possible to the original, we will hold it the evening before Passover.
This meal is not a replacement for the Passover. Jesus’ sacrifice as the Passover Lamb fulfilled the Passover, making it unnecessary for Christian to keep. The Jews continue to observe it because they have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah. As Christians, we recognize that the Lord’s evening meal is not our version of the Passover, but our acknowledgement that we are in a New Covenant sealed by the blood and flesh of the Lamb of God.
One cannot help but wonder how those to whom Jehovah’s Witnesses attribute so much knowledge and discernment could miss something as obvious as this.
[i] This year they didn’t because they use a different starting year for the realignment of the lunar calendar with the solar one that that used by the Jews, but if the pattern continues, next year the Jewish Passover and the JW Memorial dates will again coincide.