DEFINITION OF THE DAY (LAST SUPPER)

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The last meal Jesus shared with His disciples before the crucifixion. The high point of the Bible and central event of the ages is the passion (betrayal, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension) of Jesus Christ. All that goes before it in the Bible anticipates His coming. All that comes after presents the full meaning of the person and work of Christ.      The Last Supper is reported in the four Gospels (Matt 26:20-35; Mark 14:12-31; Luke 22:14-38; and John 13:1-17:26), but the oldest and most detailed description is in 1 Cor. 11:17-34, probably written before the Gospels were published. Even early is Isa 52:13-53:12, which reads like eyewitness testimony. These two passages are used more than the Gospels to explain the significance of the passion.

As His last week unfolded, Jesus established a new celebration. The new communal meal forms the heart of Christians worship and will be celebrated until the second coming of Christ, when the symbolism will give way to the full reality the supper anticipates. The breaking and sharing of bread and the drinking of the cup were invested with new meaning, demonstrating continuity of the old and new covenants. The body and blood of Christ were given as a sacrifice to secure eternal salvation for all who trust Him as Lord and Savior. That night Jesus also demonstrated the principle of servant leadership. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, though publicly honored that night, betrayed Christ into  the hands of those who crucified Him.

Commentators love to explore apparent contradiction in timing and details of the Last Supper in relationship to the observance of Passover. The Synoptics relate it directly to the Passover meal, and John (If taking about the same event) places it on the day before. The assumption of conflict may not be correct. Often in his Gospel John related events not recorded in the other Gospels. Just as his narratives are different in other aspects, John may be describing another intimate meal with the disciples earlier in the final week of Jesus’s life.

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