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If the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the
life and death of Jesus were those of a God. 
- Rousseau

The Last Supper
A look at the issues raised
Updated: 06/30/2021

The Gospel passages clearly indicate that the famous “Last Supper” was a Passover meal or at least held on that evening. Yeshua probably had no interest in observing the Passover but saw this as a last golden opportunity to manifest his serving nature, and to try to  awaken the Disciples out of their moribund spiritual state. At that point in time, they had no clue as to what was shortly going to happen.

Washing the Feet

See: Serving the Disciples

The Gospel of John first describes how Yeshua "laid aside his garments, and girded himself by taking a towel.  Then he put water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them off with the towel with which he was girded."

Amazing! The Originator of the universe is serving, by washing the feet of twelve squabbling men, most of which were ignorant, spiritually dull and didn't take him all that seriously. And, one of them was all set to betray him, or at least manipulate him. When Peter balked, he was simply told that this was a necessary part of the relationship, serving. The implication is not just that we are supposed to serve but that God NEEDS to serve us as part of a father-son or brother-brother relationship.

And then Yeshua made remarks about not being all clean that should have concerned them all. John's commentary of understanding this to be pointing to Judas is probably misguided, since Yeshua was clearly talking about their spiritual condition in general.

Yeshua's washing of the disciples feet is one of the most important and dramatic events of his ministry, and yet there is no version of it in the Synoptic Gospels. How can this be? At least John understood the significance, but given that this was such a violation of the prevailing concept of God as the center of power and control, there is little doubt that almost no one else did, including the storytellers and compilers of the Synoptic Gospels who clearly did NOT.

Given that John describes himself as leaning on the chest of Yeshua and that he was one "whom Jesus loved", there is some speculation that Yeshua and John had a homosexual relationship. This statement is a very thin basis for such speculation, because we do NOT know the setting–the room may have been small and crowded–and the furniture that was used. He "may" have been leaning on that part of Yeshua's outer garment and using it as padding for a hard lounge shoulder, or maybe he WAS leaning on the actual chest of Yeshua.

The term "beloved" was sometimes used in the culture of the day to imply a romantic or sexual relationship. Only one time did the disciple John write that Yeshua loved him, and he used a tense of the Greek “agape” love, and NOT one that should be translated “beloved”. Thayers Greek English Lexicon indicates that only by later writers was this word ever used to sometimes apply to love with a romantic or erotic dimension, so there is no support in his claim of Yeshua's love for the speculation of sexual intimacy. Remember that John is probably dictating his Gospel to a scribe, and doing it some 40 to 50 years after the event.

Bread and wine symbolism

See: The  Last Supper and Bread Eaten, Wine Drunk

Yeshua was obviously and naturally concerned about the imminent ordeal that he was now slated to undergo, and so he made an analogy between the bread and his body, the wine and his blood. Although we can have no confidence in the Synoptic compilers as to the actual content of conversation–it is different in each of them, including John–, Luke has Yeshua saying, "This is my body being given for you.  Do this[*] to remind you of me." It should be noted that this piece of conversation is not in the Gospel of John, and Luke has his sequence of wine and then bread reversed from that in Matthew and Mark.

What was going to happen

See: Judas identified as Betrayer

At this point Yeshua indicated that he would be betrayed, and upon being asked as to who it was, he identified Judas while avoiding a direct accusation, something that is generally against his character. Upon doing so, he merely requested that Judas do it quickly, and so Judas departed.

Yeshua then launched into a fairly lengthy discourse as to what was going to happen, including his departure, and what it all meant. The disciples had no inkling as to what was about to happen, and thought he was merely telling them that he was going to travel to some place separately from them. He suggested that they knew the way, which meant that if they were listening and astute, they would understand.

Thomas protested that "We do NOT know where you go and how can we know the way? Yeshua's answer was, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life source; no one comes to the Father, except through ME.  If you had understood ME, you would have understood my Father also; and from now on you do see him and have experienced him." This is one of the very clearest passages that show us that Yeshua spoke symbolically at times, and we should always be looking for this to see if what he said makes more sense and more meaning understood this way.

However, he did not ALWAYS speak symbolically. while much/most? of the time he meant to be literal. How can we understand when and when not? Only by sorting out the real issues and understanding the big picture of the truth through the proper paradigm can we consistently distinguish between these two modes!

The balance of Yeshua's discourse to them at that time encapsulates many crucial aspects of the truth, including his definition of sin, his claim that it was to their advantage that he go away, his farewell, and an elucidation of the will of God. See: Definition of Sin and Advantage in His Going and Jesus's Farewell and The Will of God

The supper ended when they departed for the garden.

[*] Yeshua was merely saying to do this NOW, to remind themselves later, and his saying that is no basis for an ongoing sacrament. It should be noted that he gave no instructions, such as times or periodicity. that would support such an idea.

Here is what the eminent scholar Dwardu Cardona has to say about the issue:

We notice, however, that in neither of these two accounts is Yeshua reported as having commanded, or even insinuated, that the practice should be perpetuated in his memory. It was Paul of Tarsus who placed these additional words in the mouth of Jesus:

     "For I [Paul] have received of the Lord [Jesus] that which also I have delivered unto you. That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
     " And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, 'Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.'
     " After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of  me '." I Corinthians 11: 23-25

Nowhere, however, does Paul state when, where, or how he was able to receive this posthumous information from Jesus. - Cardona, Dwardu, "The Last Supper", AEON Journal, vol 5, issue 2.

It is the FIRMLY held position of this site that Yeshua indicated and supported NO ongoing rites and ceremonies for his followers. See: Rites and Sacraments

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