“Christ Nullified the Paschal Lamb”: An Epigram on the Last Supper and the Lord’s Supper

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.

1 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)

For Maundy Thursday, we have a new poem on the Passover and Christ, our Passover.

Greek Anthology 1.53 is an elegiac couplet that concisely treats Christ’s abolishing of the Passover and the substitution of himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, a substitution in which Christ is both High Priest and sacrificial victim. (The theme is also used in the wonderful hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”). In this way, the Last Supper inaugurates the Supper of the Lord. The prepositional phrase should be read appositionally: Christ himself, as the Lamb of God, is our very meat; our “Supper” is the Lord.

As regularly, I give the Greek text according the Loeb, the Loeb translation, and my own version, which is in iambic tetrameters following an ABC-ABC pattern.

The Greek text:

Εἰς τὸ Πάσχα

Ἀμνὸν ἔπαυσε νόμου καὶ ἄμβροτον ὤπασε θῦμα

Χριστός, ἐὼν ἱερεύς, αὐτὸς ἐὼν θυσίη.

The Loeb translation:

Christ abolished the lamb of the law, and provided an immortal sacrifice, himself the priest and himself the victim.

Trans. W.R. Paton, rev. by Michael A. Tueller

My version:

On the Passover

Christ nullified the paschal lamb

Given according to the Law,

For it could never purge our sin–

Giving himself as Paschal Lamb

To purge transgressors of the Law

And nullify the guilt of sin.


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