Published on
October 30, 2023

John 13

“When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit and testified, ‘I assure you: One of you will betray Me!’ His disciples started looking at one another...”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
John 13
“When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit and testified, ‘I assure you: One of you will betray Me!’  The disciples started looking at one another – uncertain which one He was speaking about.  One of His disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining close to Jesus.  Simon Peter motioned to him to find out who it was He was talking about.  So he leaned back against Jesus and asked Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’  Jesus replied, ‘He’s the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it.’  When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son.  After Judas ate the bread, Satan entered him.”  John 13:21-27a (HCSB)

Traditional Christian assumption concerning the last supper is that the only elements involved were wine & unleavened bread.  In actuality, Jesus and His disciples were observing the Passover Seder.  The Seder is a whole meal that utilizes many symbolic elements to recount Israel’s slavery in Egypt, God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, and His provision for them during the Hebrews’ 40 years of desert wandering.

There is no Biblical evidence that when Jesus singled out 2 of the Seder’s elements, the bread and wine, He replaced the Seder.  He was simply clarifying what the two elements represented within the meal so that when the Seder was observed in the future, His followers would understand and worship Him correctly.  

Without knowledge of the Seder and its elements, many Christians believe Jesus dipped his bread into the wine and gave it to Judas.  As a matter of fact, some churches go as far as serving communion by dipping bread into wine.  The problem with that notion is that matzo (unleavened bread) is not dipped into the wine at the Seder.

Only two of the elements in the Seder are used for “sopping” or dipping matzo in Charoset (a sweet “paste” made with fruit, nuts, spices, and wine) and Maror (a bitter “paste” made from horseradish root).

The Charoset symbolizes the mortar (for bricklaying) the enslaved Israelites made in Egypt.  The Maror symbolizes the bitterness of slavery.

When Jesus dipped the bread, He most likely followed the tradition of scooping Charoset and Maror onto His Matzo, combined with lamb.  This would symbolize the bondage Jesus was about to undergo (as a result of Judas’ betrayal) and His bitter suffering for the sin of the World.  In essence, Jesus shared the gospel with Judas in a sandwich.

Today’s passage, and the events thereof, were predicted by the Psalmist hundreds of years before the “Last Seder.”  

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.  But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up, that I may repay them.”  Psalm 41:9-10 (NASB)

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