Day 25 | The Passover

Matthew 26:14-35

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Words: Barb Peck Read: 0 - 5 mins Published: 25 March 2024

In this week of final moments, we read about Jesus and the disciples’ last meal together as they celebrate the feast of the Passover, what we often call, ‘The Last Supper’. When I read this passage in Matthew, I’m struck by the intentionality of it all and the way that Jesus is actively organising everything. He selects the place, the time and sets the meal in order. And at the Supper, it’s Jesus who is the host and doing the serving. He’s not reclining back and being waited on, but he’s very active: “he took…he blessed…he broke…he gave…”


Max Lucado explains this beautifully:

“He fulfilled his role as a rabbi by guiding his disciples through the Passover. He fulfilled his role as a servant by washing their feet. And he fulfilled his role as a Saviour by granting them forgiveness of sins.  He was in charge. He was on centre stage. He was the person behind and in the moment.  And he still is.” (from The Passion, the Pain, and the Promise.)


A beautiful visual depiction of this scene is of course Leonardi da Vinci’s famous painting, which is renowned for its incredible attention to detail and the way that da Vinci captured the emotions of the characters in the scene. Each of the disciples in the painting has a unique expression, which reflects their individual personalities and emotions. I remember seeing an adaptation of this painting when I was a little girl visiting a church in New Zealand. This adaptation had used the faces of some of the church congregation as the disciples, and it really hit home to me at the time. What would I have said to Jesus when he said that one of us would betray him? “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”


When I superimpose my face in that painting now, I’m reminded of the humanity of the moment: friendship, love, hanging out together, eating a meal with family and incredulity that I would ever turn my back on Jesus! But I’m also reminded that Jesus has his arms outstretched, symbolising his sacrifice not just for humanity, but for me. The bread and wine on the table represent his body and blood, given for us all, given for me. What an incredible, overwhelming and humbling realisation! My heart explodes with gratitude for all that Jesus is, and all he has done for me.


And Jesus still invites us all to join Him at this table.


“It is a Holy invitation. A sacred sacrament begging you to leave the chores of life and enter his splendour. He meets you at the table. And when bread is broken, Christ breaks it. When the wine is poured, Christ pours it. And when your burdens are lifted, it is because the King in the apron has drawn near.”

The Last Supper

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