The Last Supper, to Christians, always refers to the last meal eaten by Jesus Christ before his Crucifixion and death. The three Synoptic Gospels say that this was the passover meal, at which Jews eat a lamb in memory of the Exodus (e.g. Matt. 26, 17: "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread ..."); but John's Gospel (ch. 13) says it was Passover Eve, the day "before the feast of the passover" (v. 1). All agree that the meal was attended by all Twelve Apostles.
Four particular events at the supper are recounted:
- All sources refer to the Betrayal of Jesus by Judas, which Jesus foretells at the Supper, saying 'One of you shall betray me'.
- According to the three Synoptic Gospels (ch. 26 of Matthew, ch. 14 of Mark, and ch. 22 of Luke) and to Saint Paul, Jesus broke bread and took wine in a very significant manner. Paul wrote in the first epistle to the Corinthians (the earliest written of these sources), "For I have received of the Lord that which also I 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" (1 Cor. 11 23-26). This is one very strong source of the Christian rite (or sacrament) of the Eucharist, known to many protestants as 'The Lord's Supper'. Virtually identical words are used in the three synoptic gospels, Matthew saying (26: 28) of the 'wine' "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
- The Gospel according to John records in some detail how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.
- All the Gospels agree that Jesus told the apostle Peter that he would betray Him "before the cock crow" ("twice" in Mark, 14: 30).
- John relates three chapters (14-16) of Jesus's teaching, and a further chapter (17) of his final prayer.
There are many paintings of the Last Supper, famously the mural by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) in the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery in Milan.