The Fourth Cup by Scott Hahn

Scott Hahn addresses the following 3 major points in his talk on “the fourth cup”… The following are quotes taken from this lecture series:


1. How Christ in the Last Supper and in the Eucharist offers himself up as the new covenant Passover, and how the Eucharist and the Old Testament Passover are in a sense two sides of the same coin. 

Christ and His disciples were in the upper room celebrating the Passover – arguably the most important feast signifying the Israelites exodus out of Egypt, commenced by the slaughter of a lamb, shared in a meal, with the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the doorposts to prevent the first-born son being killed from the angel of death. God led the Israelites to Mount Sinai where He established His covenant (a sacred family bond) with them. The Passover became a celebrated event throughout the centuries – the unblemished lamb, through the shedding of blood, became the voluntary sacrifice, as the sign of the Mosaic covenant.

The Jews still celebrate the Passover with the well-known ancient liturgy structure. There are four cups of wine that represent the structure of the Passover:

1st cup – the kiddush cup – represents the blessing of the festival day.

2nd cup – occurs at the beginning on the Passover liturgy and involves the singing of psalm 113.

3rd cup – the cup of blessing – involves the actual meal, the unleavened bread, and so on.

Before the 4th cup, you sing the great hil-el psalms: 114 to 118. After,

4th cup – the climax of the Passover.

Now in the Gospel accounts, Jesus says, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until I am entering into the kingdom of God.” And it says, “Then they sang the psalms.” And then they went out into the night. No 4th cup. They side-stepped the most important part of the Passover. It would be like saying the Mass and skipping the Eucharist, forgetting the words of consecration.

So why did Jesus do it?

Well. Lets look at what happened next. Jesus led His disciples to the garden of Gethsemane. Crying aloud, “Abba, Father! … “All things are possible to Thee. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”  Remove this cup. What is this cup? Must be the 4th cup!

Our Lord’s sacrifice became the culmination, the fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover. Here is the true priest (offering the sacrifice), the true victim (the lamb of God, the unblemished sacrifice – none of his bones were broken).

Then, in order to fulfill the Scriptures, “I thirst” – They put a sponge full of the sour wine on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine he said the words that are spoken of in the fourth cup consummation,It is finished.”  Interestingly the sour wine on hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on the door posts. 

The sacrifice of Christ did not begin with the first spike, or when the cross was sunk into the ground. It began in the upper room. That’s where the sacrifice began. Also, the Passover meal did not end in the upper room, but at calvary. It’s all of one piece. Calvary begins with the Eucharist. The Eucharist ends at Calvary.

But, it’s not over yet. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, “Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, therefore“—what?—we don’t need to have any more sacrifice? Therefore we don’t need to have any more ritual, therefore all we have to do is have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and invite him into our hearts and everything else is taken care of? No, he’s too knowledgeable about the Old Testament to say any of that. He says, “Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed; let us therefore celebrate the feast.” What feast? The whole Passover feast. It’s not complete yet. What do you mean?

In the book of Exodus, the family had to eat the sacrificed lamb. It wasn’t enough to kill it. The goal was to restore communion with God. It wasn’t enough to say, ‘Well we don’t like lamb do we, kids? Why don’t we make lamb cookies? Little lamb wafers that symbolize the lamb? We’ll eat those and those’ll be enough, right? Symbolic presence of the lamb, and all that?’ No, you’d wake up and you’d be dead.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.” – John 6:50

What did Jesus say? Come on, guys, I was only speaking in symbols, huh? I was only using an image. I don’t mean to offend you. Come on back. I’m about to lose a few thousand here; come on, Twelve, help me. No, he turned to the Twelve and he said to them, “Do you also wish to go away?” He’s not going to water down the truth. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”


2. The nature of the Mass as a sacrifice. 

” Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” – Revelation 5: 5-6

John expected to see a lion, yet saw a lamb, looking as if it had been slain. Why? because Revelation 5, and then 6 and 7 and 8 all describe what St. John saw in spirit on the Lord’s Day up in heaven.

The Passover sacrifice in the Old Testament was not complete until all of God’s people who trusted the Lord and wanted to obey the ordinance received the Lamb and received the covenant and the sacred family bond of the Lamb.

We are God’s children, purchased with the Lamb’s blood, and that Lamb is there for us to receive. The Lamb is a continual celebrant in heaven. He is our high priest and he is our king. You read in Revelation 5 that Christ is continually re-presenting his paschal sacrifice as the Lamb of God, looking as though he’d been slain, before the Father forever, for our sake.

1 Corinthians 11. St. Paul says in verse 27, “Whoever, therefore, who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. And that is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died.”  He goes on, “But if we judged ourselves truly we should not be so judged, but when we are judged by the Lord we are chastened so that we are not condemned along with the world.”

First we can see that the new covenant Passover is the Eucharist which is a re-presentation of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice on Calvary. We don’t kill him again, he doesn’t suffer and bleed, he’s not humiliated again on the cross on Calvary. That was once and for all that he died, and now his death and resurrection are re-presented forever in heaven as the Lamb leads them all in worship, and it’s re-presented here below as the Eucharistic Lamb leads all of us in worshipping the Father as good faithful children in His family. That’s the heart and soul of our faith, that’s the ground of our hope; that is the soul of our life as Christians, as the mystical body of Christ, the corpus Christi. We are what we eat.



3. What should be our proper response to our Lord in the Eucharist, in the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharistic Adoration). 

Let’s renew and deepen our commitment to Christ by renewing and deepening our commitment to the Holy Eucharist in the blessed sacrament of the altar. This isn’t superstition or hocus-pocus. I was teaching class earlier this week, and about 30 of my students were there and I said to them, “Suppose you’re in your dorm room tonight and you were watching the six o’clock news and all of a sudden you saw Roger Mudd come on and say, ‘There’s evidence now, the report is confirmed now, that Jesus Christ is back on earth and is walking the streets of Jolliot about two blocks from the College of St. Francis.’ You’re hearing this and you’re sitting back with your feet up on a chair and suppose your roommate came in and said, ‘What’s that?’ You say, ‘They say Jesus is walking around a couple of blocks from here, and they’re trying to get an interview with him.’ What would you do?” They all said spontaneously, “I’d run to see him.” Now what would you say to your roommate if he replied, ‘Aw, Jesus is God and God is everywhere; I can talk to Jesus right here or in the bathroom or out in the country, so why go out and see him?’ No, no, if you love Jesus and he’s really there two blocks away, you’d go rush to see him. If you love him. And then I said to my students what I’m going to say to you: He’s less than two blocks away.

Why is adoration of the blessed Sacrament so important? Because it’s Christ whom we adore—the most adorable being in the whole world.

 St. Augustine:No one eats the Flesh without first adoring it. Not only do we not commit a sin by adoring it, but that we do sin by not adoring it.” 

St. John Vianny—the Cur of Ars—said, “To pray well there is no need to talk a lot. One knows that the good God is there in the holy tabernacle. One opens his heart to him, one rejoices in his presence; this is the best prayer.”

Our Lord is just a few feet away. He is no less real here and now that he was two thousand years ago on the dirty streets of Judea. It’s only our five senses that block our view. The eyes of faith can see it, and we are the ones who walk by faith and not by sight. Do we really believe that? Do we really love him? 




  1. Patricia Azarbod says:

    This article did a nice job of clearing some questions I had on the subject which I just learned about April 29th at bible class taught by our deacon..

  2. Awesome. So many need to read and understand. Thank you for putting this truth so beautifully apparent. Amen amen amen!!!🙏🏼😇❤️✝️🌈

  3. Ma elena noriega says:

    Thank you for a great wisdom learned from you. Just early morning perhaps almost 4am i dreamd of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ given to me by a nun b4 receiving it she told me to fulfill something within a span of 4 days i dont know the meaning of this. Please pray for enlightenment.

  4. Joseph Mutumba says:

    Thanks for this teaching


  1. […] THE FOURTH CUP – The Sacrament of the Eucharist by Scott Hahn  […]

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