Bible Story of The Last Supper

The story of the Last Supper is about a wonderful invitation from Jesus to receive his gift! This is a summary of the Last Supper Bible story as told in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke below. Read more in-depth Bible verses from the Scripture below and use the articles and videos to understand the meaning behind this teachable event in the Bible. 

The last supper took place on the first day of Passover, or the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Jesus sent his disciples ahead into the city to prepare a meal to celebrate Passover. Passover is the remembrance of Israel being freed from slavery to Egypt and specifically when the angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites that had lambs' blood over the doors.

As the disciples reclined and ate dinner with Jesus, he explained to them that one of the twelve of them would soon betray him. One by one the disciplines denied that it would be them, including Judas who would be the betrayer. Jesus responded that the person who betrays him will have a terrible fate and that indeed, it was Judas.

Jesus prayed and thanked God for the meal. He then broke the bread and shared the wine with the disciples and explained to them how the bread was a symbol of his body, broken for them, and the wine a symbol of his blood which would be poured out for their sins to be forgiven. This is where the church's tradition of communion comes from.

After the meal, Jesus became like a servant and washed the feet of the disciples. Peter did not feel right having Jesus wash his feet but Jesus said that He was doing it to be an example to them. Now the disciples would be able to wash each other's feet, meaning they could be servants to all. 

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Bible Commentary on The Last Supper

The following is a Bible commentary by Matthew Henry on the last supper of Christ with disciples from the book of Matthew, chapter 26:

The Passover Verses 17-25 ~ Observe, the place for their eating the Passover was pointed out by Christ to the disciples. He knows those hidden ones who favor his cause, and will graciously visit all who are willing to receive him. The disciples did as Jesus had appointed. Those who would have Christ's presence in the gospel Passover must do what he says. It well becomes the disciples of Christ always to be jealous over themselves, especially in trying times. We know not how strongly we may be tempted, nor how far God may leave us to ourselves, therefore we have a reason not to be high-minded, but to fear. Heart-searching examination and fervent prayer are especially proper before the Lord's supper, that, as Christ our Passover is now sacrificed for us, we may keep this feast, renewing our repentance, our faith in his blood, and surrendering ourselves to his service.

Christ institutes His Holy Supper Verses 26-30 ~ This ordinance of the Lord's supper is to us the Passover supper, by which we commemorate a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. Take, eat; accept of Christ as he is offered to you; receive the atonement, approve of it, submit to his grace, and his government. The meat looked upon, be the dish ever so well garnished, will not nourish; it must be fed upon: so must the doctrine of Christ. This is my body; that is, spiritually, it signifies and represents his body. We partake of the sun, not by having the sun put into our hands, but the beams of it darted down upon us; so we partake of Christ by partaking of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his body. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine. He gave thanks, to teach us to look to God in every part of the ordinance. This cup he gave to the disciples with a command, Drink ye all of it. The pardon of sin is that great blessing which is, in the Lord's supper, conferred on all true believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings. He takes leave of such communion; and assures them of a happy meeting again at last; "Until that day when I drink it new with you", may be understood of the joys and glories of the future state, which the saints shall partake with the Lord Jesus. That will be the kingdom of his Father; the wine of consolation will there be always new. While we look at the outward signs of Christ's body broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, let us recollect that the feast cost him as much as though he had literally given his flesh to be eaten and his blood for us to drink.

What Was the Meaning of the Last Supper?

Oh, the depths of the meaning of the Last Supper, when the Lord invited His disciples to break bread with Him one last time on earth (Luke 22:14-16). In the Bible, the Lord Jesus established two ordinances every believer is to follow. One is baptism, wherein the believer publicly acknowledges Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior. The other is Communion, or The Lord’s Table, which is modeled after the Last Supper Jesus enjoyed with His disciples. Its meaning encompasses these elements:

The death of Jesus. Without His atoning death and resurrection, we have no part of Him (John 6:53, 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17), because, without either, we cannot be saved. The bread symbolizes His body, broken for us, and the wine (juice in most cases) symbolizes His blood poured out for us. By following His command, we proclaim what He did for us.

We gain benefits from His death. As we partake, we are once again pointed to the truth of Christ’s work for us. He defeated death! Because He lives, so too do we believers! 

Taking part in what Jesus commanded during the Last Supper (the ordinance of communion) provides spiritual sustenance (John 6:53-57)Meditating on what Jesus did enhances and grows our faith in a way literal food cannot (John 4:32, cf. Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4).

On a mission trip to India, I had the privilege of commemorating the Lord’s Last Supper through communion with my Indian brothers- and sisters-in-Christ. The event transpired in the same way I’ve partaken here in the States, but the setting proved profound. Believers all over the world are commanded by Jesus to remember what He did on a regular basis—together (Matthew 26:26-29, 1 Corinthians 11:25). Though we are separated by thousands of miles, we are spiritually united (Ephesians 4:4), and when I participate in sharing the Lord’s Supper (Communion) with my local church family, I join other believers from all over the earth in proclaiming His death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Christians everywhere share a common bond in Christ. As we saw in the above paragraph, this ordinance, unique to believers, brings unity. No matter the state of the world, Christ is the same (Hebrews 13:8), and His church stands as one in Him (1 Corinthians 10:17).

In addition, in our time of quiet, personal reflection while holding elements of communion, we are affirmed that Jesus loves us, He has blessed us as one of His own (John 17:20-23), and we each affirm our faith in Him.

Why Was the Last Supper so Important?

Jesus’ eyes had been fixed on Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-52). He knew what He had to do and did not waver from what the Father laid before Him. He told the disciples He had to die, and His exclamation point was He would rise on the third day. But the disciples remained dull to His news (Matthew 16:21-23, Mark 8:31-33, Luke 9:22). (Not until His ascension would they understand, and not until He appeared to them for forty days after His resurrection did they fully realize what he meant).

The gathering of Jesus and His disciples in the Upper Room would be His last time of instruction and outward display of love to them. Soon the disciples would be bereft of and ripped apart from their Savior via His crucifixion and death.

Jesus sent Peter and John to make the plans for the preparation of the room for the Last Supper. He knew Judas sought a way to betray Him, and He wanted a private meeting with His loyal disciples before being hauled off to Caiaphas. Once Judas’ upcoming betrayal was revealed and he departed (Matthew 26:21-22, Mark 14:18-19, Luke 22:21-23, John 13:21-30), Jesus shared His soon departure with the remaining eleven, and tells them “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:31-35). He also foretells Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:34-35, Mark 14:30-31, Luke 22:33-34, John 13:36-38), comforts the men (John 14:6), confirms them of Who He is (John 14:8-21), announces the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-28, 16:5-15), confirms He is the One in Whom they are to abide (John 15:1-11), reiterates His command for them to love one another as He loved them (John 14:12), calls them friends (John 15:15), tells them they are chosen and will be reviled as was He (John 15:18-25; 16:1-4), tells them of His death and resurrection (John 16:16-33), and He prays for Himself (John 17:1-5), His disciples (John 17:6-19), and for all believers (John 17:20-26). His prayer underscored some of the basic truths He revealed to His disciples in the Upper Room. Included were His relationship to the Father, the relationship of His disciples to Him and to the Father, to the world and how He overcame it, and the need for love between believers as shown between the Father and the Son.

Looking ahead to the book of Revelation, written by John the Apostle, there is reason to celebrate, for, in chapter 19, a great “Hallelujah” is sounded (Revelation 19:6). When Jesus comes to gather His church (the wife), a great “marriage supper of the Lamb” will ensue. We who are called (Romans 8:28) will be in the company of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:6-9). No more will we be separate from Jesus, for we as His servants will be with Him “forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3-5).

Why Was the Last Supper Scheduled during Passover?

The Lord God instituted Passover as a remembrance of the Jews’ salvation from slavery at the hands of Pharaoh during the final plague (death) against the Egyptians (Exodus 12:1-30). Every Jewish family was to kill a lamb at twilight and use some of the blood from the lamb and “put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.” Afterward, they would eat the flesh of the lamb that very night (vv. 7-10). They were to eat it quickly, and God said, “It is the Lord’s Passover” (v. 11b) because He caused the angel of death to pass over those who had the blood placed on their doorposts and lintels. The sacrifice of the lambs (as such) brought redemption to the people.

John the Baptist (the last Old Testament prophet) referred to Jesus as “The Lamb of God” (John 1:29,36). Lamb of God is an Old Testament phrase referring to the sacrifices (Leviticus 4:32-35. Isaiah 53:4-12). Sin is a separator between man and our holy God, and in the Old Testament, an animal could be offered as an atonement for sin. More sin equaled more sacrifices—it would be never-ending because man sins, period.

It is significant Jesus died at the time the lambs were killed during the Jewish Passover celebration when extra thousands of people would be in Jerusalem. As the Jewish people prepared and killed their lambs, Jesus presented Himself as God’sLamb—the ultimate Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17, Luke 24:44, John 1:17), and no other sacrifice for sin is needed (Hebrews 10:12) once a person accepts Him as their Lord and Savior.

5 Important Details about the Last Supper

1. When Jesus sent John and Peter to make arrangements for the Last Supper, he told them to look for a man “carrying a pitcher of water” (Luke 22:10). This clue seems slim to us, but in those days, men did not do the water-fetching.

2. The owner of a room such as Jesus and His disciples used would have had a servant present to wash the feet of his guests. To preserve the privacy of the solemn event, no servant was present as Jesus made sure the disciples provided all they needed for the evening (John 13:1-17).

3. Because they were so distraught, Jesus’ disciples interrupted Him seven times during His farewell discourse.

4. Foot washing was a demonstration by the Lord that no one is so great he cannot serve another. This He did after the disciples argued about who would be greatest (Luke 22:24-27).

5. Jesus prayed His High Priestly Prayer (The Lord’s Prayer), while in the Upper Room after the Last Supper.

Photo credit: Leonardo Da Vinci/Public Domain Image