I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:16)
The Last Supper. Leonardo da Vinci (1494–1499)
This is the fifth in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.
Day 5: The Last Supper
While at Bethany in the morning, Jesus sends Peter and John to Jerusalem to prepare the Passover. Later, Jesus comes from Bethany into Jerusalem to eat the Passover with the Twelve.
On the road, the Disciples argue about greatness. But greatness is serving, as Jesus shows by washing the disciples’ feet, beginning with Peter who is sitting at the last place at the table.
Then, he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:5)
This day, which has been called “Maundy Thursday” or “Holy Thursday” commemorates this act of service that took place during the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles and the command Jesus gave them to love and serve one another.
Jesus says one among them will betray him. He dips bread and hands it to Judas, who took first place at the table. After Judas leaves, Jesus breaks bread and lifts a cup of wine, signifying his broken body and blood.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)
Around the table, Jesus predicts Peter’s (and all of the disciples’) denial.
Peter is adamant.
“Even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away… Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” All the disciples said the same thing too. (Matthew 26:33, 35)
“Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” (Matthew 26:34)
Jesus tells them not to worry.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that here I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
Later, Jesus and the disciples leave the Upper Room and go to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, Jesus prays in agony to God the Father.
“his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)
Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus is betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He’s taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the council has gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.
Meanwhile, in the early morning hours as Jesus’ trial is getting underway, Peter denies knowing his Master once, twice, and then three times. The rooster crows.
One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed. (John 18:27)
Tomorrow: Good Friday
Click here to read Day 1: Palm Sunday.
Click here to read Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple.
Click here to read Day 3: Ambush in the Temple, the Mount of Olives
Click here to read Day 4: Holy Wednesday — A Day of Plotting and Betrayal