J N Darby on the Passover  – The Passover in the New Testament – ‘Christ our Passover’

He desired to eat this last Passover with His disciples, because He would eat of it no more until the future kingdom s – His death came first. Now we enjoy the kingdom as it is now, not the millennium. Observe also what a touching expression of love we have here: His heart needed this last testimony of affection before leaving them.

The Passover

The Passover is the first in our series of JND on Selected Subjects


  1. Scripture quotations here are from the Darby Translation
  2. The notes are a combination of those from the 1890 and 1961 editions of the Darby Bible. Where notes refer to another scripture, the notes from that scripture are used. In many notes in the 1890 edition there is a list of which manuscripts (MSS) use which terms.  These MSS have not been listed.
  3. The Synopsis has been slightly edited to simplify the English.


Matthew 26

Mark 14

Luke 22

1And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2Ye know that after two days the passover takes place, and the Son of man is delivered up to be crucified.


17Now on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 18And he said, Go into the city unto such a one, and say to him, The Teacher says, My time is near, I will keep the passover in thy house with my disciples. 19And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.

. . .26And as they were eating, Jesus, having taken the bread and blesseda, broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 27And having taken the cup and given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it. 28For this is my blood, that of the newb covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins. 29But I say to you, that I will not at allc drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father. 30And having sung a hymn, they went out to the mount of Olives.

1Now the passover and the feast of unleavened bread was after two days. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might seize him by subtlety and kill him. 2For they said, Not in the feast, lest perhapsa there be a tumult of the people.

. . . 12And the first day of unleavened bread, when they slew the passover, his disciples say to him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare, that thou mayest eat the passover? 13And he sends two of his disciples, and says to them, Go into the city, and a man shall meet you carrying a pitcherb  of water; follow him. 14And wheresoever he enters, say to the master of the house, The Teacher says, Where is myc guest-chamber where I may eat the passover with my disciples? 15and he d will shew you a large upper room furnished ready. There make ready for us. 16And his disciples went away and came into the city, and found as he had said to them; and they made ready the passover.

. . .  22And as they were eating, Jesus, having taken bread, when he had blessed, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, Take this e: this is my body. 23And having taken the cupf, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank out of it. 24And he said to them, This is my blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many. 25Verily I say to you, I will no more drink at all of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it newg in the kingdom of God. 26And having sung a hymnh, they went out to the mount of Olives

1Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the passover, drew nigh, 2and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

. . . 7And the day of unleavened bread came, in which the passover was to be killed. 8And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it. 9But they said to him, Where wilt thou that we prepare it? 10And he said to them, Behold, as ye enter into the city a man will meet you, carrying an earthen pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he goes in; 11and ye shall say to the master of the house, The Teacher says to thee, Where is the guest-chamber where I may eat the passover with my disciples? 12And he will shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13And having gone they found it as he had said to them; and they prepared the passover.

14And when the hour was come, he placed himself at table, and the [twelve a] apostles with him. 15And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. 16For I say unto you, that I will not eat any more at all of it until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17And having received a cup, when he had given thanks he said, Take this and divide it among yourselves. 18For I say unto you, that I will not drink at all b of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God come. 19And having taken a loafc, when he had given thanks, he broke [it], and gave [it] to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20In like manner also the cup, after having supped, saying, This cup [is] the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.




aOr ‘given thanks’

b Not in all MSS

c Strengthened negative

a or ‘lest it may be, suggesting something uncertain which might happen at any time. –‘for’ refers to ‘subtlety’

b or earthen pitcher

cαὐτός/autos/Strong846 intensive pronoun ‘the same’

 dSome MSS read ‘the’

esome MSS read ‘take eat’

for ‘a cup’

gκαινός/ kainos/Strong2537 ew’‘in a new way’, not ‘an

hὑμνέω/humneó/Strong5214 -to sing a hymn or song

a Not all MSS, some omit ‘apostles’

b Some add ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ‘from now’

c Or ‘bread’ as I Cor 11:23




The Lord had finished His discourses. He prepares to suffer, and to make His last and touching farewells to His disciples, at the table of His last passover on earth, at which He instituted, the simple and precious memorial which recalls His sufferings and His love. This part of our Gospel needs to be felt rather than explained.

With what simplicity the Lord announces that which was to happen!  He already arrived at Bethany, six days before the passover (John 12:1): there He abode, with the exception of the last supper, until He was taken captive in the garden of Gethsemane, although He visited Jerusalem, and partook of His last meal there.


He then points out that it is the slain Saviour slain who is to be remembered. His pathway as the living Messiah was over. It was no longer the remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. Christ, and Christ slain, began an entirely new order of things.  He draws the deciples’ attention to the blood of the new covenant, saying that it was ‘shed for many.’ – i.e. Jew and Gentile.  It was shed for the remission of sins.


The scribes and Pharisees were already consulting how they might take Him by craft and put Him to death. They feared the influence of the people, who admired the works and goodness and meekness of Jesus. Therefore they wished to avoid taking Him at the time of the feast, when the multitude flocked to Jerusalem: but God had other purposes. Jesus was to be our Paschal Lamb, blessed Lord! and He offers Himself as the victim of propitiation.

But the time drew near for the last feast of the Passover that took place during the life of Jesus, the one in which He was Himself to be the Lamb.  The memorial to faith was that of Himself and of His work. He therefore sends His disciples to prepare all that was needed to keep the feast. In the evening He sits with His disciples, to converse with them, and to testify His love for them as their companion, for the last time. But it is to tell them (for He must suffer everything) that one of them should betray Him.


It was Himself, His sacrifice, not a temporal deliverance, that they were to remember. All was now absorbed in Him, and in Him dying on the cross. Afterwards, in giving them the cup, He lays the foundation of the new covenant in His blood (in a figure), giving it to them as participation in His death. When they had all drunk of it, He announces to them that it is the seal of the new covenant a thing well known to the Jews, according to Jeremiah; adding that it was shed for many. Death was to come in for the establishment of the new covenant, and for the ransom of many.  Death was necessary, and the bonds of earthly association between Jesus and His disciples were dissolved

The chief priests, fearing the people, seek how they may kill Him. The day of Passover comes, and the Lord shows the character of the gospel.  Thus He desired to eat this last Passover with His disciples, because He would eat of it  no more until the future kingdom s – His death came first.   Now we enjoy the kingdom as it is now, not the millennium.  Observe also what a touching expression of love we have here: His heart needed this last testimony of affection before leaving them.

The new covenant is founded on the blood here drunk in figure. The old was done away. Blood was required to establish the new. At the same time the covenant itself was not established; but everything was done on God’s part. The blood was not shed to give force to a covenant of judgment like the first; it was shed for those who received Jesus, while waiting for the time when the covenant itself should be established with Israel in grace.



John 2

23And when he was in Jerusalem, at the passover, at the feast, many believed on a his name, beholding his signs which he wrought. 24But Jesus himself did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men, 25and that he had not need that any should testify of man, for himself knew b what was in man.



a εἰς/ eis/Strong1519 Strong says ‘indicating the point reached or entered, of place, time,  purpose, result’ JND on 2 Tim 1:12 ‘εἰς τίνα/eis tina/ – followed by εἰς/eis and the accusative (frequently in John) is to believe on a person as an object of faith


Strong1097 – a strong word, meaning ‘to know well’ or ‘recognise’






John 6

1After these things Jesus went away beyond the sea of Galilee, or of Tiberias, 2and a great crowd followed him, because they saw the signs which he wrought upon the sick. 3And Jesus went up into the mountain a, and there sat with his disciples: 4but the passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5Jesus then, lifting up his eyes and seeing that a great crowd is coming to him, says to Philip, Whence shall we buy loaves that these may eat? 6But this he said trying him, for he knew what he was going to do.




aThe mountain country – note to Matt 5:1 – not a particular mountain, but mountain in contrast with the plain.



It was on the occasion of the Passover, a type which the Lord was to fulfil by the death of which He spoke. Observe, here, that all these chapters present the Lord, and the truth that reveals Him, in contrast with Judaism, which He forsook and set aside


John 11

45Many therefore of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what he a had done, believed on him; 46but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47The chief priests, therefore, and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many signs. 48If we let him thus alone, all will believe on him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 49But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, Ye know nothing 50nor consider that it is profitable for you b that one man die for the people, and not that the whole nation perish.

. . . 55But the passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the passover, that they might purify themselves. 56They sought therefore Jesus, and said among themselves, standing in the temple, What do ye think? that he will not come to the feast? 57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandment that if any one knew where he was c, he should make it known, that they might take him.



a Some MSS read ‘Jesus’

b Some MSS read ‘for us’ or omit these two words completely

c Lit ‘is’




John 12

1Jesus therefore, six days before the passover, came to Bethany, where was the dead man Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from among the dead.

. . . 20And there were certain Greeks among those who came up that they might worship a in the feast; 21these therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and they asked him saying, Sir, we desire to see Jesus. 22Philip comes and tells Andrew, and again Andrew comes and Philip, and they tell Jesus.


aπροσκυνέω/proskuneó/Strong4352 Strong- to do reverence to – (prós, “towards” and kyneo, “to kiss”) – properly, to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready “to fall down/prostrate oneself to adore on one’s knees”.  JND (Matt 4:9 ‘an act of personal reverence and homage – not ‘worship’ as ‘service’ in modern language.





John 13

1Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come that he should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the enda.



a ‘To the end’ does not give the full force, for it makes it refer to time, whereas going through with everything is impled.




John 18

38Pilate says to him, What is truth? And having said this he went out again to the Jews, and says to them, I find no fault whatever in him. 39But ye have a custom that I release some one to you at the passover; will ye therefore that I release unto you the king of the Jews? 40They cried therefore again all, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.







When brought before Pilate (although because of truth, confessing that He was king), the Lord acts with the same calmness and the same submission; but He questions Pilate and instructs him in such a manner that Pilate can find no fault in Him. Morally incapable, however, of standing at the height of that which was before him, and embarrassed in presence of the divine prisoner, Pilate would have delivered Him by availing himself of a custom, then practised by the government, of releasing a culprit to the Jews at the passover. But the uneasy indifference of a conscience which, hardened as it was, bowed before the presence of One who (even while thus humbled) could not but reach it, did not thus escape the active malice of those who were doing the enemy’s work. The Jews exclaim against the proposal which the governor’s disquietude suggested, and chose a robber instead of Jesus.


1 Corinthians 5

6Your boasting [is] not good. Do ye not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Purge out a the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, according as ye are unleavened. For also our passover, Christ, has been sacrificed; 8so that let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.



a As in 2 Tim 2:21 – ἐκκαθαίρω/ ekkathairó/Strong1571 – Strong ‘cleanse out, clean thoroughly

JND The word translated purified in 2 Tim 2:21 with his addition [in separating himself from them] is found only in 2 Tim 2:21 and 1 Cor 5:7 translated ‘purge out’.  There it was to get rid of the old leaven out of the lump; in 2 Tim it is for the one who names the name of the Lord to purge himself from among the vessels. Hence we have the additional preposition ἀπό /apo/Strong575 ‘away from’, which is rendered ‘separating from’.  Lit ‘purified himself away from these’



Discipline follows; for Christ had been offered up as the Paschal Lamb, and they were to keep the feast without leaven, keeping themselves from the old leaven; in order that they might be in fact, what they were before God an unleavened lump.


Hebrews 11

27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing a the wrath of the king; for he persevered, as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he celebrated b the passover and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.



a These are aorists, but in English the present participle is joined to the present tense as characterising the action. ‘He refused…choosing’.  ‘He refused…having chosen’ would make a different time of it, not the same.  In Greek all is referred to the time of speaking.

bHere, as in verse 17, the offering up of Isaaac, the verbs are in the perfect.  This is remarkable.  The other facts are generally passing facts, part of the whole history; these are of standing significance, either figurateively standing the believer on a new ground, or viewed as continuing till the time of the epistle: ‘By faith Abraham has offered’, ‘By faith he has celebrated’, but this is not possible in English.  It was not external continuence, for the blood sprinkling was only once.



Faith recognised the testimony of God by trusting to the efficacy of the blood sprinkled on the door.  God would come in judgment, and seeing the blood, would pass over His believing people.  By faith Moses kept the passover.  Observe here that, by the act of putting the blood on the door, the people acknowledged that they were as much the objects of the just judgment of God as the Egyptians. God had given them that which preserved them from it; but it was because they were guilty and deserved it. No one can stand before God.


Author: Sosthenes

Once the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth Then a co-writer of a letter by Paul - just a brother - no longer an official Now a blogger seeking to serve the Lord by posting some words that the Lord has given His Church.

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