Jesus’ Life: Chapter 16 – The Last Supper
As the Passover approached, Jesus foretold the time and nature of his death to his disciples. He said, “After two days the Passover is coming and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified”. (Matthew 26:2)
The Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court, planned to arrest Jesus and execute Him. However, their first problem was arranging his arrest; they were afraid to do so while he was among his followers in Jerusalem during the Jewish Passover in case it would cause, “A riot among the people”. (Mark 14:2) So instead, they secured the help of Judas, one of Jesus’ chosen Apostles; he accepted a bribe of 30 pieces of silver to lead them to Jesus at night time (Tuesday of Holy Week – see below). The first step in sealing Jesus’ fate, was thus accomplished.
Jesus’ final week, Holy Week, went like this:
- Just outside Jerusalem and close to the town of Bethphage, Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead to untie a donkey and bring it to him. He sat on the donkey and made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. People, celebrating the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus, spread their cloaks and palm branches in front of Him, and sang, “Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest”. (Matthew 21:9)
- Jesus returned to Bethany on Sunday evening and possibly stayed in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
- Jesus returned to Jerusalem and cursed a fig tree just outside Bethany because it had no fruit.
- In Jerusalem, Jesus cleared a market from the temple courts, overturning the tables of money-changers and scattering the animals. “My house will be a house of prayer but you have turned it into a den of robbers,” He declared. (Matthew 21:13)
- Jesus returned to Bethany on Monday evening and probably stayed in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
- Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem, passing the cursed fig tree, now withered; giving the disciples a powerful message about faith.
- Jesus went to the temple where he preached and responded to the Jewish leader’s aggressive questions saying, “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!” (Matthew 23:25-26)
- In the afternoon, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of time and his second coming – The Olivet Discourse.
- Judas agreed to a sum of thirty pieces of silver with the chief priests and elders for the betrayal of Jesus.
- Jesus returned to Bethany and, once again, it’s possible He stayed in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
- No specific reference is made in the New Testament to indicate what Jesus did on this day. It’s likely He spent it in Bethany with his disciple’s preparing for the Passover, teaching and reflecting. The people of Bethany had witnessed his raising of Lazarus from the dead and many there had accepted him as the true Son of God.
- Once again and for the final time, Jesus is likely to have stayed overnight in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
- Jesus returned to Jerusalem, sending two of his disciples ahead to prepare a room for their Last Supper.
- Jesus washed the Apostles feet.
- Judas left the Passover meal to betray Jesus.
- Jesus, “Took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’. Then he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me'”. (Luke 22:16-20)
- Late in the evening, Jesus and the remaining eleven Apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane.
- Very early morning, Jesus’ Passion began with his immense suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane while his Apostles, “slept”. “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And in his anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”. (Luke 22:43-44)
- At around 2.00am, Judas arrived and identified Jesus with a kiss, Jesus was arrested, questioned by Annas, then Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod and Pilate again. He was mocked, hit in the face, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns and sent on his way to Calvary to be crucified.
- Jesus was crucified and “from noon until three, darkness came over all the land” (Matthew 27:45, Luke 23:4). At 3.00pm Jesus cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! And after he said this he breathed his last”.† (Luke 23:46)
- A soldier pierced Jesus’ side “And blood and water flowed out immediately”. (John 19:34)
- Between 3.00 and 6.00pm, Jesus’ body was hurriedly removed from the Cross before the start of the Great Sabbath at 6.00pm.
- St Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus anointed Jesus’ body according to Jewish custom using 75lbs of aromatic spices, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a nearby tomb. (John 19:38-42)
- Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.
- At the request of the chief priests and Pharisees, Pilate placed a guard at Jesus’ tomb because they feared someone might take His body.
- On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead.
- Early Sunday morning, a group of women went to the tomb, they found the stone rolled away and Jesus’ body gone.
- Jesus appeared to Mary Magdelene & other women, Peter, two disciples on the road to Emmaus and ten of the disciples, excluding Thomas and Judas, in the upper room.
(Matthew 26:1-5, Mark 14:1-2, Luke 22:1-2)
There is a time to be quiet and reflect, to hear and feel the moment; Jesus’ Passion is one such long and painful litany of moments.
Lord God, open my eyes to the suffering of your Son for my sins. Grant me the courage to truly repent and seek your loving forgiveness.
Prayer: Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O Good Jesus, hear me. Within your wounds Lord, hide me. Suffer me, not to be separated from you. From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me that I may praise you with the Saints and Angels forever and ever. Amen.
Further Reading: Holy Week – The Mystery And Meanings (Fr David O’Malley)
Related Link: Fr John’s Holy Week Timeline