“The Last Supper” is a late 15th-century mural Renaissance painting by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci housed by the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. It is one of the western world’s most recognizable paintings.
The painting depicts Jesus’ disciples arguing and objected after he tells them that one of them will soon betray him. Jesus and his disciples were assembled in the upper room for what would be his final Passover meal.
Prior to the meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, symbolizing that to lead others requires service and humility. below is the account from the Gospel of John:
John 13:2-9 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
After washing their feet, he explained the meaning and reasons why he washed their feet, and why they should do likewise:
John 13:12-17 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
The act of washing ones feet is a powerful lesson and symbol for anyone. It is something we have taught our kids. It is something we have done with our kids. It is something we have had them do for each other.
Following the foot washing, Jesus then instituted the act of Communion, or the Eucharist. It is a tenet of all forms of Christianity. It is practiced at various times, oftentimes weekly at many churches all over the world.
Luke 22:15-20 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Following communion, Jesus declared that one of his closest and most trusted followers, a disciple, would soon betray him. This is the scene da Vinci captures in his mural above.
Luke 22:21-23 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
This week as we reflect on Jesus’ life, his death and resurrection, reflect too on how you can serve those around you in your life. Reflect on all that Jesus did for you and on his salvation, making the ultimate sacrifice and then rising again in victory over all of sin and death.