Question: “What is the meaning and importance of the Last
Answer: The Last Supper is recorded in the Synoptic
Gospels (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30). It was both
a Passover meal and the last meal Jesus had with His apostles before His arrest
and subsequent crucifixion. One of the important moments of the Last Supper is
Jesus’ command to remember what He was about to do on behalf of all mankind:
shed His blood on the cross thereby paying the debt of our sins (Luke 22:19).
The Passover feast was an especially holy event for the
Jewish people in that it remembered the time when God spared them from the
plague of physical death in Egypt (Exodus 11:1-13:16).
During this last meal with His apostles, Jesus took two symbols associated with
Passover and imbued them with new meaning as a way to remember His sacrifice,
which saves us from spiritual death: “And He took a cup, and when He had given
thanks He said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that
from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God
comes.’ And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it
to them, saying, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in
remembrance of Me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup
that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’” (Luke
Also during the Last Supper, Jesus taught the principle of
servanthood as He washed His disciples’ feet: “Let the greatest among you become
as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one
who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the
table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:26-27).
The Last Supper is commemorated
today in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians
11:23-33). The Bible teaches us that Jesus’ death is linked to the offering
of the Passover sacrifice. John notes that Jesus’ death resembles the Passover
sacrifice in that His bones were not broken (John
19:36; Exodus 12:46). The Apostle Paul echoed this: “For Christ,
our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Typically, the Passover meal was a family celebration. However, at the Last
Supper, the apostles were alone with Jesus (Luke
22:14), which suggests that this particular meal has specific meaning for
the church, of which the apostles were the foundation (Ephesians 2:20). While this meal had implications for the
Jews, it was designed for the church as well. The Last Supper was rooted in the
Old Covenant as it heralded the New.
In comparing the crucifixion of
Jesus to the Passover, we can readily see the redemptive nature of Christ’s
death. As with the original Passover sacrifice in the Old Testament, Christ’s
death atones for the sins of His people, His blood purifies and cleanses and
rescues us from death. Today, the Lord’s Supper is a time when believers reflect
upon Christ’s perfect sacrifice and know that through our faith in receiving
Him, we will dine with Him forever (Revelation 3:20).
Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper edited by John H.