The Last Supper
After Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet, they ate the Passover meal together. But during the meal Jesus became very troubled. Finally, he said, “One of you at this table is going to betray me!” The disciples were shocked. They stared at each other. They didn’t understand what Jesus meant. They were so puzzled that each of them began to ask, “Could it be me? Surely, it’s not me, is it?” Simon Peter motioned for John (who was seated next to Jesus as one of the guests of honor) to find out what Jesus meant. Quietly John asked, “Lord, who are you talking about?” Jesus answered, “It is the person to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Judas (who was seated on the other side of Jesus in the other seat of honor) asked, “Surely, you don’t mean me do you?” “Yes, it is you,” Jesus quietly replied as he dipped the bread and handed it to him. As soon as Judas accepted the bread, Satan entered his heart. Judas stood up. Then loudly enough for everyone to hear, Jesus said, “Go! Quickly do what you are about to do!” No one else at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas. They thought Jesus had sent Judas on an errand to buy something they needed for the meal. After all, he was the one who kept the money bag (see #266 - An Evening in Bethany). Or perhaps Jesus had instructed him to give some money to the poor. Judas left and walked out into the darkness. Jesus took the unleavened bread that was part of the meal and thanked his Father. Then he broke it and gave it to his disciples. As he did, he said, “Take this and eat it. It represents my body that I am giving for you. Do this to remember me.” After they had eaten supper, he picked up a special cup of wine. Once again, he thanked God. This time he said, “I want all of you to drink from this. It represents a New Covenant in which my blood will be poured out for the forgiveness of sins.” (No longer would the Jewish nation be under the Old Covenant God had made with Moses that required animal sacrifices for their sins.) “I will not drink wine again until the day when I drink it with you in my Father’s kingdom,” he added. They sang a hymn together and then left the room. As they walked toward the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples, “All of you are going to abandon me tonight. But after I have been resurrected, I will meet you in Galilee.” Peter immediately spoke up, “Lord, even if all the others leave, I will never abandon you! I will go wherever you go!” Jesus looked at him. “Peter,” he said, “I am telling you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows at daybreak, you will deny me three times.” Peter was emphatic, “No! Even if I must die with you, I will never disown you.” All the other disciples made the same promise.
When we follow Jesus, we don’t always understand what he is doing or where is taking us. Even the best of us sometimes fail and abandon him in the process. But even if we do, he promises to meet us on the other side of the difficulty. His sacrifice on the cross covers all our sins.