The Last Supper

Peter and John Prepare the Passover Meal (Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-13)

It was Thursday, the first day of the festival of Unleavened Bread. It was the day the Passover lamb was sacrificed. Peter and John came to Jesus and asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal?” Jesus said, “Go into Jerusalem. There you will meet a man carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Tell the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I will celebrate the Passover meal at your house with my disciples.’ ” He will show you a large furnished guest room upstairs in his house. Make the preparations for the Passover there.” So the disciples did as Jesus told them. They prepared the Passover meal.

Note: Although some Bible teachers suggest that the Passover meal actually took place Wednesday night (Thursday morning Jewish time), the preparations for the Passover meal was probably made on Thursday afternoon. Jesus and the disciples ate the Passover meal around 6 p.m. on Thursday evening, which was the start of Friday in Jewish time. The location of the Passover meal with his apostles—the Last Supper—was an upper guest room in a private home in Jerusalem that was located in the southern part of Jerusalem. It was usually reached by an outside stairway. This upper guest room became known as the “Upper Room.” Based on the early chapters of the book of Acts, the apostles used the Upper Room as a temporary residence or regular gathering place. According to church tradition since the AD 300s, the Upper Room has been identified with the room (Cenacle) located in the David’s Tomb Compound. The current structure of the room dates approximately from the AD 1300s, which accounts for its existing Gothic-era columns. It is located in the southern part of the Old City of Jerusalem on Mount Zion. Based on the early chapters of the book of Acts, the apostles used the Upper Room as a temporary residence or regular gathering place.

The Passover Meal (Matthew 26:20, Mark 14:17, Luke 22:14-16, John 13:1)

Jesus and his apostles reclined to eat a Passover meal together. Jesus said to them, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. The time is near for me to leave this world and return to the Father. I tell you the truth: I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Jesus loved his disciples to the end.

Note: The process and content of the meal of Jesus and his apostles does not seem to follow the traditional Passover meal.

The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20)

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and gave thanks. He then broke the bread and gave the pieces to his disciples. He said, “Take and eat, for this is my body.” Then Jesus took the cup of wine and gave thanks. He then gave it to his disciples. He said, “Drink from cup. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins of many people. I tell you the truth: I will not drink wine again until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God.”

One of the Apostles Will Betray Jesus (Luke 22:21-23)

During the Passover meal, Jesus said to his disciples, “One of you will betray me. For what will happen to the Son of Man will happen as it has been determined by God. But how terrible for the one who betrays him!” The apostles began to ask each other which of them would who betray Jesus.

Note: Jesus identifies himself as the “Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14.

Jesus on Servanthood (Luke 22:24-27)

Then the Twelve Apostles began to argue among themselves about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus said to them, “Non-Jewish kings exercise power over the people. Those who rule with authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to act like them. Instead, the greatest among you will be like the youngest. A leader is the one who serves others. For the master who eats at the table is greater than the one who serves. But I live among you as the one who serves.”

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet (John 13:4-11)

Jesus got up from the table. He removed his outer clothing (cloak), and wrapped a towel around his waist (this is what a servant does). He filled a bowl with water. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He and dried their feet with the towel wrapped around his waist. Jesus came to Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus said, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later on you will understand.” But Peter said, “No! You will never wash my feet!” Jesus said, “You will never be my disciple unless I wash your feet.” Peter cried out, “Lord! Then wash not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus said, “Whoever washes their feet; their whole body has been bathed. You are all clean, although there is one who is not.” For Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot was going to betray him. After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus put his outer clothing (cloak) back on and returned to his place at the table.

Follow Jesus’ Example of Servanthood (John 13:12-17)

Jesus said to his apostles, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me your ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right. For that is what I am. Now that I have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I washed your feet to give you an example to follow. I tell you the truth: A slave is not greater than his master. And a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know my teaching, you will be blessed if you do it.”

The Betrayer of Jesus (Matthew 26:21-25, Mark 14:18-21, John 13:18-30)

Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth: One of you will betray me.” All the disciples were very troubled. One by one they asked Jesus, “Lord, is it me?” Jesus said, “It is the one who has dips bread his into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will suffer just as it is written about him in God’s word. But how terrible for the one who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas Iscariot asked Jesus, “Surely it isn’t me?” Jesus replied, “Yes, it is you.” The devil had already put in the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything under his power. He knew he had come from God. And he knew he was going back to God. Jesus said, “I am not speaking about all of you. For I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill Psalm 41:9, ‘He who ate my bread has gone against me.” I am telling you before it happens. So that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. I tell you the truth: Whoever receives anyone I send receives me. Whoever receives me receives the one who sent me into this world.” After Jesus had said this, his heart was troubled in spirit. He told his apostles, “I tell you the truth: One of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another. They were confused about what Jesus was saying. The apostle John was reclining next to Jesus at the table. Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask Jesus which one of us he is talking about.” John leaned against Jesus. He asked him, “Lord, which one of us is going to betray you?” Jesus said, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread after I dip it in the dish.” Then Jesus dipped the piece of bread into the dish and gave it to Judas Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered his heart. So Jesus told Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly!” But the apostles did not understand why Jesus had said this to Judas. Judas was in charge of the money bag, so the disciples thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Passover (the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread). They thought he was told to give some money to the poor. As soon as Judas took the bread, he left.

Note: Jesus identifies himself as the “Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14.

When Jews ate together they shared from the same dish and used bread as their utensil. This probably does not refer to the bowl of bitter herbs that was part of the traditional Passover meal.