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42. The Mystical (Last) Supper.
On the fifth day after the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem, which, according to our reckoning, was Thursday (on
Friday evening, the first day of unleavened bread, they sacrificed the Passover
lamb), the disciples came to Jesus saying, "Where
will you have us prepare the Passover for you to eat?"
Jesus Christ said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.
Follow him and, wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says
where is My guest room, where I am to eat the Passover
with My disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and
ready. There, prepare for us."
He sent two of His disciples, Peter and John. They
went and found it as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
That evening, Jesus Christ knowing that He would
be betrayed that night came with His twelve apostles to the prepared upper
room. When they were seated at the table, Jesus Christ said, "I have
earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you
I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom
of God." Then, He rose, laid aside His garments, and girded
Himself with a towel. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the
disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
When He had washed their feet, and taken His
garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, "Do you know what I have
done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I
then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one
another’s feet; for I have given you an example that you also The Washing of
the Disciples’ Feet should do as I have done to you."
By this example, the Lord demonstrated not only
His love for His disciples but also taught them humility, that is, not to
consider it beneath oneself to serve someone even though he may be of lesser
After eating the Old Testament Jewish Passover,
Jesus Christ established on this evening the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Therefore, the occasion is called in the Orthodox Church the "Mystical
Jesus Christ took bread, blessed it, broke it in
pieces, and giving it to the disciples said, "Take, eat; this is My
Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins;" that is, for
you, It will be handed over to suffering and death for the forgiveness of sins.
He took a cup of wine; and when He had given thanks to God the Father for all
His mercy to the race of mankind, He gave it to the disciples saying "Drink
of it, all of you; for this is My Blood of the New Covenant, Which is poured
out for you for the remission of sins."
These words indicate that under the appearance of
bread and wine the Saviour taught His disciples that it was His own Body and
own Blood which on the next day He gave up to suffering and death for our sins.
How the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of the Lord is a mystery,
incomprehensible even to the angels, and is therefore called a mystery.
After giving the Eucharist to the apostles, the
Lord gave the commandment to always perform this sacrament. He said, ‘Do
this in remembrance of Me’ (I Cor. ). This sacrament is performed by us now and will continue
to be performed until the end of the age; in the divine service, it is called
During the sacramental Last Supper, the Saviour
has revealed to the apostles that one of them would betray Him. They were very
sorrowful and bewildered. Looking at one another, in fear they began to ask
after one another, "Is it I, Lord?" Judas said, "Is it I,
Master?" The Saviour quietly said to him, "You have said it,"
and no one heard it. John was reclining next to the Saviour. Peter beckoned to
him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom He speaks." John, lying
close to the breast of the Saviour, quietly said, "Lord, who it is?"
Jesus Christ quietly answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel
when I shall have dipped it." So when He had dipped the morsel in a dish
with salt, He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, and said to him,
"What you are going to do, do quickly."
Now no one at the table knew why He said this to
him. Some thought, because Judas had the money bag, Jesus was telling him,
"Buy what we need for the feast;" or he was told to give something to
the poor. So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out, and it was
Jesus Christ continued to talk with His disciples
and said, "Little children, yet a little while, I am with you. A new
commandment, I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you. By
this, all men would know that you are My disciples if
you have love for one another. Greater love has no man than this that he gives
his life for his friends. You are My friends if you
fulfil that I have commanded you."
During this conversation, Jesus Christ foretold to
the disciples that they all would be offended because of Him that night; all
would scatter leaving Him alone. The Apostle Peter declared, "Though they
all to be offended because of You, I would never be offended."
Then, the Saviour said to him, "Truly, I say
to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny Me three times and will say that you do not know Me."
But Peter more vehemently began to assure Him
saying, "If I must die with You, I would not deny You."
So said all the disciples. Nevertheless, the words of
the Saviour saddened them. Comforting them, the Lord said, "Let not your
heart be troubled. Believe in God (the Father) and believe in Me (the Son of God)."
The Saviour promised His disciples that He would
send from His Father another Comforter and Teacher instead of Himself, that is,
the Holy Spirit. He said, "I will pray to the Father, and He will
give you another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Whom
the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know
Him, for He abides with you and will be in you." That means that the Holy
Spirit must be with all true believers in Jesus Christ and in the Church
of Christ. "Yet a little while, and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me; because I live (I am life,
and death cannot conquer Me), you will live also… The Comforter (the Holy
Spirit) Whom the Father will send in My name, He will
teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to
you. The Holy Spirit, even the Spirit of truth, Who
proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me. You also are
witnesses because you have been with Me from the
beginning" (John , 26-27).
Jesus Christ also predicted to His disciples that
they would have to suffer much evil and persecution from people because they
(the disciples) believe in Him. "In the world, you have tribulation; but
be of good cheer," said the Saviour, "I have overcome the world"
(conquered evil in the world).
Jesus Christ concluded His conversation with a
prayer for His disciples and for all who believe in Him, so the Heavenly Father
may keep them in steadfast faith, in love, and they may be in unity among
When the Lord finished the supper during the
conversation, He stood with His eleven disciples; and when they had sung a
hymn, He went forth across the Kidron valley to the Mount of Olives,
into the garden of Gethsemane.
the Gospels of Matthew 26:17-35; Mark -31; Luke
22:7-39; John 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18:1.