Last Supper

Last Supper

Overview
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 belief, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".

The First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 is the earliest known mention of the Last Supper. The overall narrative of Canonical Gospels share the elements that the Last Supper took place towards the end of the week, after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion....

 and that Jesus and his disciples shared a meal shortly before Jesus was crucified at the end of that week.
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Encyclopedia
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 belief, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".

The First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 is the earliest known mention of the Last Supper. The overall narrative of Canonical Gospels share the elements that the Last Supper took place towards the end of the week, after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion....

 and that Jesus and his disciples shared a meal shortly before Jesus was crucified at the end of that week. During the meal Jesus predicts his betrayal
Jesus predicts his betrayal
Jesus predicts his betrayal is an episode in the New testament narrative which is included in all four Canonical Gospels.This prediction takes place during the Last Supper in Matthew 26:24-25, Mark 14:18-21, Luke 22:21-23 and John 13:21-30....

 by one of the disciples present, and foretells that Peter will deny knowing him
Denial of Peter
The Denial of Peter refers to three acts of denial of Jesus by the Apostle Peter as described in the three Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament....

 later that day.

The three Synoptic Gospels and the First Epistle to the Corinthians include the account of the institution of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 (and a new covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

) in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to the disciples, saying: "This is my body which is given for you". The Gospel of John does not include this episode, but tells of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles, and has a detailed Farewell discourse
Farewell discourse
In the New Testament, Chapters 14-17 of the Gospel of John are known as the Farewell Discourse given by Jesus to eleven of his disciples at the conclusion of the Last Supper in Jerusalem, the night before his crucifixion....

 by Jesus, calling the Apostles who follow his teachings "friends and not servants", as he prepares them for his departure.

Scholars have looked to the Last Supper as the source of early Christian Eucharist traditions. Others see the account of the Last Supper as derived from 1st-century eucharistic practice as described by Paul in the mid-50s.

The name and its usage


The term "Last Supper" does not appear in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. However, traditionally, many Christians refer to the New Testament accounts of the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples as the Last Supper. The Last Supper was likely a retelling of the events of the last meal of Jesus among the early Christian community
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

, and became a ritual which recounted that meal.

Anglicans and Presbyterians use the term "Lord's Supper", stating that the term "last" suggests this was one of several meals and not the meal. The term "Lord's Supper" refers both to the biblical event and the act of Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

ic celebration within liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

. Many Protestants also use the term Lord's Supper.

The Eastern Orthodox use the term "Mystical Supper" which refers both to the biblical event and the act of Eucharistic celebration within liturgy.

Scriptural basis


The last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples is described in all four Canonical Gospels, namely in Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39 and John 13:1-17:26. This meal later became known as the Last Supper.

Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 (11:23-26), which was likely written before the Gospels includes a reference to the Last Supper, but emphasizes the theological basis rather than a detailed description of the event, or its background.

Background and setting


The overall narrative that is shared in all Gospel accounts that leads to the Last Supper is that after the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion....

 early in the week, and encounters with various people and the Jewish elders, Jesus and his disciples share a meal towards the end of the week. After the meal Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried and then crucified
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

.

Key events in the meal are the preparation of the disciples for the departure of Jesus, the predictions about the impending betrayal of Jesus, and the foretelling of the upcoming denial of Jesus by Apostle Peter.

Prediction of Judas' betrayal



In Matthew 26:24-25, Mark 14:18-21, Luke 22:21-23 and John 13:21-30 during the meal, Jesus predicted that one of his Apostles would betray him. Jesus is described as reiterating, despite each Apostle's assertion that he would not betray Jesus, that the betrayer would be one of those who were present, and saying that there would be woe to the man who betrays the Son of Man
Son of man
The phrase son of man is a primarily Semitic idiom that originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, used to denote humanity or self. The phrase is also used in Judaism and Christianity. The phrase used in the Greek, translated as Son of man is ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου...

! It would be better for him if he had not been born.
In Matthew 26:23-25 and John 13:26-27 Judas is specifically identified as the traitor. In the Gospel of John, when asked about the traitor Jesus states: "He it is, for whom I shall dip the sop, and give it him. So when he had dipped the sop, he taketh and giveth it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot."

Institution of the Eucharist


The Eucharist, which "is recorded as celebrated by the early Christian community at Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

 and by St. Paul on his visit to Troas", is held to have been instituted by Christ.

The institution of the Lord's Supper is recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels and in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians. The words of institution differ slightly in each account, reflecting a Marcan tradition (upon which Matthew is based) and a Pauline tradition (upon which Luke is based). In addition, Luke 22:19b-20 is a disputed text, which does not appear in some of the early manuscripts of Luke. Some scholars therefore believe that it is an interpolation
Interpolation (manuscripts)
An interpolation, in relation to literature and especially ancient manuscripts, is an entry or passage in a text that was not written by the original author...

, while others have argued that it is original.

A comparison of the accounts given in the Gospels and 1 Corinthians is shown in the table below, with text from the ASV
American Standard Version
The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version , is a version of the Bible that was released in 1901...

. The disputed text from Luke 22:19b-20 is in italics.
Mark 14:22-24 And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, ‘Take ye: this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’
Matthew 26:26-28 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, ‘Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.’
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.’
Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you.’


Jesus' actions in sharing the bread and wine have been linked with Isaiah 53:12, which refers to a blood sacrifice that, as recounted in Exodus 24:8, Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 offered in order to seal a covenant with God: scholars often interpret the description of Jesus' action as asking his disciples to consider themselves part of a sacrifice, where Jesus is the one due to physically undergo it .

Although the Gospel of John does not include a description of the bread and wine ritual during the Last Supper, most scholars agree that John 6:58-59 (the Bread of Life Discourse
Bread of Life Discourse
The Bread of Life Discourse is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John 6:22-59.The title Bread of Life for Jesus is based on this Biblical episode which takes place in the Gospel of John shortly after the Feeding the multitude episode after which the crowds follow...

) has a Eucharistic nature and resonates with the "words of institution" used in the Synoptic Gospels and the Pauline writings on the Last Supper.

Prediction of Peter's denial



In Matthew 26:33-35, Mark 14:29-31, Luke 22:33-34 and John 13:36-38 Jesus predicts that Peter will deny knowledge of him, stating that Peter will disown him
Denial of Peter
The Denial of Peter refers to three acts of denial of Jesus by the Apostle Peter as described in the three Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament....

 three times before the rooster crows the next morning. The three Synoptic Gospels mention that after the arrest of Jesus
Arrest of Jesus
The arrest of Jesus is a pivotal event recorded in the Canonical gospels. The event ultimately leads, in the Gospel accounts, to Jesus' crucifixion...

 Peter denied knowing him three times, but after the third denial, heard the rooster crow and recalled the prediction as Jesus turned to look at him. Peter then began to cry bitterly.

Elements unique to the Gospel of John


In John, Jesus has his last supper and is executed not on the day Nisan 15 (the first night of Passover) but on Nisan 14, when the Passover lambs were slaughtered. Presumably the author preferred this date because it associated Jesus as the Lamb of God
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

with the sacrificial lambs of Passover.