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What Happened at the Last Supper?

By Mormon.org
Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper

An Evening of Emotions

The Savior’s last meal proceeded under conditions of intense emotion, namely sadness, love, and likely a great deal of confusion on the part of the Apostles. Gleaning what we can from the scriptures, we discover that the Savior was fully aware of all that awaited Him—His betrayal, His suffering in Gethsemane, His capture, His Crucifixion, and later His Resurrection. The Savior did what He could to prepare His Apostles for what was to come. The loving, comforting words He spoke to His Apostles that night still apply in powerful ways to us today.

Preparation

When the time came for the feast of the Passover, the disciples inquired of the Savior where and how they should prepare. He instructed Peter and John to go into the city of Jerusalem. He described a man they would find there and instructed them on what they should say to him. They went obediently, found the man, and proceeded to prepare for the feast in the upper guest room of the man’s home. In the evening the Savior joined them with the other disciples.

This Do in Remembrance of Me

A custom of this traditional feast was a blessing over a communal cup of wine. Over the course of the evening, the Savior gave thanks over the bread and wine of the meal and distributed it to his disciples. In the 33rd chapter of James E. Talmage’s book Jesus the Christ, it declares that “under strain of profound emotion ‘he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.’” Luke’s account of the evening says: “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19–20).

One can only imagine the array of feelings the Savior experienced as He felt the weight of what was to come and the effect it would have on His disciples. Doubtless, His sincere hope was that they would remember Him and all that He had taught them.

Betrayal

Adding to the range of emotions was Christ’s knowledge that one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot—present at this last supper—had already contracted with the Sanhedrin to betray Him for 30 pieces of silver. The Lord called attention to the betrayal, saying, “One of you which eateth with me shall betray me” (Mark 14:18). Alarmed and saddened by this announcement, each of the disciples showed great humility when instead of pointing fingers at one another, they asked, “Is it I?” Perhaps hoping to go unnoticed as the betrayer, Judas also asked, “Is it I?” The Lord confirmed by answering, “Thou hast said.” In John’s account of the Last Supper he tells us that Jesus—speaking of His forthcoming betrayal— requested of Judas, “That thou doest, do quickly,” after which Judas “went immediately out,” leaving the company, and setting the ultimate betrayal into motion (John 13:27, 30).

Because of John’s account, we know that the Savior washed the feet of His disciples in that upper room, and we also know of the sweet, comforting counsel He gave His disciples, much of which still applies to us today, including His commandment that we love one another.

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