The Last Supper

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Mark 14:17-25

The Last Supper infused every element of the Passover meal with new meaning.

The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.

This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

Exodus 12:5-8, 11

Bread made without yeast, bitter herbs, roasted lamb and wine all now have new meaning. The original bread without yeast was to remind the people of how they left Egypt in haste without the yeast of Egypt mixed into it. Jesus’s body became the unleavened bread, without the yeast of the Pharisees mixed in (John 6:53). He also became the manna from heaven and the bread of Presence from the Temple.

The original bitter herbs were to remind the people of the bitter labor of slavery. Thought the Last Supper passages don’t mention the bitter herbs, they would have been a part of every Passover meal. Jesus tastes the bitterness of betrayal from both Judas and Peter (John 13:27-38). He bears the weight of the bitterness of slavery to sin so that we could be set free.

The original roasted lamb was to be without blemish. Jesus, without sin or blemish, became the Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:6).

The blood of the original lamb was to be painted onto the doorframes of their houses so that the Hebrew people would be protected from the final deathblow to Egypt. Now it is the blood of Jesus, painted on the vertical and horizontal beams of the cross, that purifies us from sin and brings us salvation (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Thank you, Jesus, for becoming the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover!

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