Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The story of The Last Supper is found in all four gospels in the New Testament. John, the last gospel, tells it a little bit differently. His emphasis is upon foot washing, but let's focus on the version that is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke, where it is a sharing of the bread and the cup with his disciples. Now this is at the end of the Passover meal, that is the Jewish seder which recalls the events of the Exodus and the plagues and the freeing of the Jews from Egypt. And it's at the end of this meal that Jesus is going to do this gesture for his disciples. Now, he announces to his disciples that one of them is going to betray him. That is Judas. As the Passover meal ends, Jesus takes the bread and blesses it and traditional Jewish fashion, he breaks it and he gives it to his disciples saying this is my body. And then he blesses the cup also and he shares that with his disciples. He says take this drink, all of you. This is my blood shed for you. After this ritual is over, they go out to the garden where Jesus prays that the cup may pass from him, but he knows he must drink it and what follows is his betrayal and crucifixion. Now many church traditions interpret the meal, the bread and the cup differently. Some think of it as the actual body and blood of Jesus. Other people think of it as a symbolic presence. That is what our interpretations, but the story is as found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. This final gesture of Jesus with his disciples, asking for remembrance and at the same time, thanksgiving.