Was Jesus crucified before the Passover meal or after?

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The Gospel of John states that Jesus was crucified BEFORE the Passover meal – John 19:14. John says that on Friday morning “they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat Passover.” John 18:28..

However, according to all four of the Gospels, Jesus ate the Passover meal before he was crucified. (Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-22; John 13:1-30). Matthew states that “on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, ‘Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover’” Matthew 26:17….hmmm…if John is correct, then how could have Jesus been crucified before the Passover meal, yet eaten it with his disciples? 

Well, the simple answer is that Jesus commemorated the Passover during a meal with His disciples, but the meal they had wasn’t eaten on the Passover. In fact, the meal itself wasn’t even the right food for a Passover meal. 

First, a key component of the traditional Passover meal would have been unleavened bread. The Greek word used for the bread eaten at the last supper is Artos, which is the word used for common leavened bread. Traditionally, no Leaven can be consumed at all at Passover. If Jesus was eating Passover, as he did many times before, he would have used unleavened bread. There also would have been Lamb. There is no mention of a Lamb being eaten in any of the Gospels. It would not have been possible in the first place for there to have been a Lamb, because a Lamb could not have been slaughtered on the day before Passover. 

The Last Supper, therefore, was not the Passover meal, it was a meal eaten in anticipation of the Passover.