Christianity Knowledge Base

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The Last Supper was the last meal Jesus shared with his apostles before his crucifixion the next day. The Last Supper has been the subject of a variety of different paintings, perhaps the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci.

The meal is discussed at length in all four Gospels of the canonized Bible. The meal is considered by most scholars likely to have been a Passover seder, celebrated on the Thursday night (Holy Thursday) April 6, 30 AD / 6.4.783 AUC / 14 Nisan 3790 HC before Jesus was crucified on Friday (Good Friday). This belief is based on the chronology of the Synoptic Gospels, but the chronology in the Gospel of John has the Last Supper occurring before the Passover, for in that Gospel, Christ's crucifixion occurs at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs (this latter chronology is the one accepted by the Orthodox Church). For this reason, others argue that a thorough examination of the Gospels indicates that the Last Supper was on a Tuesday, and that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday (see When Christ Died, and Rose).

In the course of the Last Supper, and with specific reference to taking the bread and the wine, Jesus told his disciples, "Do this in remembrance of Me", (1 Cor 11:23-25). (The vessel which was used to serve the wine, the Holy Chalice, is considered by some to be the "Holy Grail").

According to tradition, the Last Supper took place in what is called today The Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion, just outside of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

It was during this event that Jesus predicted that one of his Apostles would betray him (it would turn out to be Judas).

Last Supper Remembrances[]

The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is remembered by Roman Catholics as one of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, and by Protestants as the "inauguration of the New Covenant", mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah, fulfilled by Jesus at the Last Supper, when He said, "Take, eat; this [bread] is My Body; which is broken for you. Par-take of the cup, drink; this [wine] is My Blood, which is shed for many; for the remission of sins". Other Christian groups consider the Bread and Wine remembrance as a change to the Passover ceremony, as Jesus Christ has become "our Passover, sacrificed for us" (I Corinthians 5:7). Partaking of the Passover Communion (or fellowship) is now the sign of the New Covenant, when properly understood by the practicing believer.

Early Christianity has created a remembrance service that took place in the form of meals known as "agape feasts": perhaps Jude, and the apostle Paul have referred to these as "your love-feasts", by way of warning (about "who shows up" to these). Agape is one of the Greek words for love, and refers to the "divine" type of love, rather than mere human forms of love. This form of the service apparently was a full meal, with each participant bringing their own food, and with the meal eaten in a common room.

These worship services became codified as the Mass in Catholic traditions, and as the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church, or the Christian Passover for yet other groups. At those services, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox celebrate the Eucharist. The name Eucharist is from the Greek word eucharistos which means thanksgiving or thank you. Catholics typically restrict the term 'communion' to the distribution to the communicants during the service of the "body" and "blood" of Christ.

Within many Christian traditions, the name Holy Communion is used. This name emphasizes the nature of the service, as a "joining in common" between God and humans, which is made possible, or facilitated due to the sacrifice of Jesus.

Another variation of the name of the service is "The Lord's Supper". This name usually is used by the churches of minimalist traditions; such as those strongly influenced by Zwingli. Some echoes of the "agape meal" may remain in fellowship, or potluck dinners held at some churches.

As well, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commonly refers to the service as The Sacrament.

External links[]

This article was forked from Wikipedia on March 31, 2006.

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