The Last Supper was the final official meal that Jesus had with his disciples, his closest followers and friends. This meal took place during the annual Passover meal. The Passover meal commemorated Israelâ€™s escape from Egypt and took place on one night but the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was celebrated with it, continued for a week. The Last Supper was held in an upper room in a house in Jerusalem. The Passover meal included the Passover lamb and unleavened bread, sauces and other ceremonial foods and drinks. It was at this meal that Jesus took the bread and broke it and while passing it out to his disciples he told them, â€œThis is my body given for you; eat this in remembrance of me.â€ After that he took the common cup and said, â€œThis cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Drink from it, all of you.â€ Jesus was telling the disciples that he would not be celebrating Passover with them again on earth. He was telling them of his arrest and death that was going to happen in the following hours and days. The reference to the new covenant was also a foretelling of the new relationship that they would have with Jesus after his death and resurrection and that it would no longer be necessary to bring sacrifices before the Lord because Jesus was to be the final sacrifice. Jesus assured his disciples of victory over death and of their future with him.
It was also at the Last Supper that Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him. It was common practice at these dinners for there to be a common bowl that the people would dip their hands into and eat from. Jesus told the disciples that the one who dipped his hand into the bowl at the same time as Jesus would be the one to betray him. All of the disciples began to deny that they would ever betray their Lord and they began to eat while this discussion was taking place. At that time Jesus reached out to eat from the bowl and his disciple Judas reached his hand in the bowl at the same time. Judas was not the obvious one to betray Jesus because he was the one the disciples trusted to keep the money for their group. At the time Judas realized he was the one he got up from the table and ran out of the house.
The Bible also tells about Jesus teaching his disciples to be servants during this same meal. While the food was being served, Jesus got up and wrapped a towel around his waist. This was the highest symbol of servitude. Jesus then got a bowl and a cloth and went around the room washing the feet of his disciples. In those days, the men wore sandals, which meant that their feet were extremely dirty because of the dirt roads. It was customary for the servants of the house to wash the feet of the guests as they came in to a household. For Jesus to take on the responsibility of the lowliest job of a servant, he was trying to teach his disciples to be servants to others once he left them behind to carry on his ministry.
The celebration of the Last Supper is still celebrated by Christians of all nations and languages, under all sorts of conditions. It is considered one of the sacraments and is an act by which Christians affirm their faith in Christ. The terms Holy Communion, Lordâ€™s Supper and the Eucharist are all used interchangeably to refer to the modern day celebration of that final Passover meal with Jesus, the Last Supper.
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