Last Supper

Matthew 26:14-29 (Last Supper)

Connects to: JUDAS

            Then one of the twelve disciples—the one named Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?” They counted out thirty silver coins and gave them to him. From then on Judas was looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them.

            On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Where do you want us to get the Passover meal ready for you?”

            “Go to a certain man in the city,” he said to them, “and tell him: ‘The Teacher says, My hour has come; my disciples and I will celebrate the Passover at your house.’”

            The disciples did as Jesus had told them and prepared the Passover meal.

            When it was evening, Jesus and the twelve disciples sat down to eat.

            During the meal Jesus said, “I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

            The disciples were very upset and began to ask him, one after the other, “Surely, Lord, you don’t mean me?”

            Jesus answered, “One who dips his bread in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man will die as the Scriptures say he will, but how terrible for that man who will betray the Son of Man! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born!”

            Judas, the traitor, spoke up. “Surely, Teacher, you don’t mean me?” he asked.

Jesus answered, “So you say.”

            While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take and eat it,” he said; “this is my body.”

            Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and gave it to them. “Drink it, all of you,” he said; “this is my blood, which seals God’s covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Matthew 26:14-29 (Good News Translation)

Notes

John’s Gospel calls Judas a thief, so the chance to sell some inside info for thirty silver pieces might have been hard to pass up. While it’s hard to pin down a precise monetary equivalent, this amount represented 4-5 months of wages for a common laborer. Some have speculated that Judas was driven by political or religious motives, but greed (or at least thievery) is the only thing that Scripture specifically mentions.

Jews have long celebrated the Passover as a remembrance of how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt. Here Jesus gave his followers something new to commemorate. The meal includes food and drink that carry specific meanings relating to Israel’s history. In that mode, Jesus gave new meaning to the bread and wine, connecting them with his impending sacrifice. Christians now observe “the Lord’s Supper” (aka Communion or the Eucharist) regularly, in remembrance of this meal and the events that followed.

Why do you think Christians still commemorate this last supper even today?

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