Day Five Thursday: Passover and Last Supper

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Note: The precise time line of Jesus’ last week is debated. Following is one respected timeline accepted by many final week scholars. The timing begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Resurrection Sunday. Due to space constraints the following lacks details.

Matthew 26: 17 – 75, Luke 22: 7 – 62

From Bethany, Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how believers should love one another. Today, many churches practice foot-washing ceremonies as a part of their  Maundy Thursday services.

Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples was to teach them and us a principle.

The text does not contain a command that we should obey and actually engage in foot washing. Rather it intended to teach us much more.

He asked “Do you know what I have done to you?” (Vs. 12). Had it been a directive regarding washing feet He would not have asked this question. They knew what He was doing physically, washing feet. They didn’t know what He was doing, teaching humility.

In doing so He said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done” (Vs. 15). Had it been a command to wash feet He would have said “do what I have done.” Instead He said do as I have done, that is, show humility in all of life. The operative word used was “as,” not “what” I have done.

Then, Jesus shared the feast of Passover with his disciples, saying: “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16).

During this Last Supper, Jesus established the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, instructing his followers to continually remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements of bread and wine (Luke 22:19-20).

After an extended and exhausting day in Jerusalem, Jesus went to a place well known to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was already too exhausted to climb the Mount of Olives and return to Bethany.

In the garden was a cave still in existence today. Jesus was in it when Roman soldiers came for Him. The text says Jesus “went out” to meet them. The Greek text means “He went out from within” to meet them. This further indicates He was within some enclosure, the cave.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed in agony to God the Father. Luke’s Gospel says that “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44, ESV).

Here Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.

Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing his Master three times before the rooster crowed.

We dare not join the ranks of Peter as deniers. Make this a day of recommitment.

The dawn of the tumultuous Friday had broken.