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Passover and Eucharist in the Fourth Gospel
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 February 2009
The events of the Exodus, in which the Passover occupied a central and dominant place, were one of the most deeply rooted of all Israel's traditions. The Passover itself lay at the very heart of the covenant concept and forms the basis of the Heilsgeschichte which records the redemptive acts of God for His people Israel. In later Judaism it became overlaid with eschatological ideas, especially those associated with a Messianic deliverance for the people of God, as God's saving act in the past became the prefigurement of an even greater saving act in the future. The Passover night was thus a night of joy for all Israel, the night on which Israel's future redemption, effected through the Messiah, would be revealed. The early Christians, however, believed that this Messianic deliverance had already appeared in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and consequently, in Preiss' expression,‘the totality of the events of the Exodus centering on the Passover’ together with its associated ideas occupied a dominant position in Christian soteriological thought in the New Testament period, especially as Jesus Himself had instituted the eucharist in a distinctly Paschal setting. We may trace, as has been done in recent years, the idea of the Exodus complex of events running as a constant theme through the New Testament writings, and Jesus is pictured both as a second Moses leading His people forth from a bondage far greater than the slavery of a human despot, from the thraldom of sin and death, and as the Antitype of the very Passover sacrifice itself, through which the redemption of the New Israel was effected.
- Research Article
- Copyright © Scottish Journal of Theology Ltd 1967
page 329 note 1 Exodus Rabbah 15.1, 18.11, 12, Mekhilta Exodus 12.42.
page 331 note 1 Lightfoot, R. H., St. John's Gospel, A Commentary, 1956, pp. 34gffGoogle Scholar, to which note the present writer wishes to state his considerable indebtedness.
page 331 note 3 R. Bultmann, op. cit., p. 67n.
page 333 note 1 Tasker, R. V. G., The Old Testament in the New Testament, 1946, p. 50.Google Scholar
page 334 note 1 Higgins, A. J. B., The Lord's Supper in the New Testament, 1952, pp. 798ff.Google Scholar