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There are slight differences in the four accounts of thein the NT (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22- 25; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Luke and Paul introduce the words “do this in remembrance of me.” Matthew and Mark have “this is my blood of the covenant” instead of “this cup is the new covenant in my blood.” The synoptic accounts each preserve a pledge by Jesus to abstain from drinking the fruit of the vine till the kingdom has come. Paul, instead, gives the rubric: “whenever you eat . . . and drink . . . you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” In certain texts of Luke, two cups are mentioned, one before and one after the bread, and scholars differ about what could be the original text. The varied nature of the accounts enriches our understanding of the incident. The large area of consensus no doubt arises from our Lord's careful impression of Himself, His words and actions on His immediate followers at this time.
The synoptic accounts indicate that the supper was a Passover meal eaten on the Passover night, but according to John, Jesus was slain on the cross when the Passover lambs were slain in the Temple. There may therefore have been two different current calendars for calculating the feast date, each followed by a rival group. Some suggest that Jesus deliberately ate a Passover meal earlier than on the official date. Others suggest that the meal was a farewell festive meal of a type common among friends, or a Jewish Kiddush-a simple meal of preparation either for a Sabbath or a festival.
See also Communion, Holy.