At XYZ’s April meeting, the speaker was longtime member Anne Jacoby who gave a most moving presentation on lesser known details of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. This is an important event, as it was when Jesus told his followers that he would be betrayed and would not eat again until he was with his father.
Anne confessed that her research had told her that there are many different versions of the details of this life changing event and that she would only present a shortened version of some of the interesting discrepancies. She discussed the setting of the experience (the room, the people involved, the Passover dinner, the table, and the expectations of the disciples as they sat around the table) and the actions of the disciples as they followed Jesus to the garden at Gethsemane.
There is disagreement among Biblical scholars about the actual date of the event but most agree that the occasion was a celebration of the traditional Jewish Passover dinner (which is today’s Seder dinner celebrated by Jews and some Christians). Like today’s meal, it featured red wine (to represent the blood of a lamb slain to provide the main course of the dinner), unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and a dish of salt. It was held in an upper room of a home, possibly that of Mark’s mother. Some scholars believe that other followers also attended, in addition to the original twelve disciples. Contrary to the depiction in the famous painting by DaVinci, the table was probably not just a single unit, and Jesus did not sit at the middle but at one side in the place of honor. Judas probably sat on his right and John on his left.
The Biblical stories tell of Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet (a task usually performed by slaves or servants) and of Jesus’ telling about the upcoming betrayal. The disciples were shocked by both situations and all speculated on who would actually betray him.
Anne concluded her presentation with a picture of the disciples singing a hymn and moving off together. She quoted a well-known psalm, “This is the day which the Lord has given….” and reminded us that the “day” mentioned was Good Friday.