What food was served at the Last Supper?
Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples as his last meal (Luke 22:15). This makes it easy for us to know exactly what they ate on that night. Some scholars don’t believe it was the Passover meal because the Passover meal would have been eaten on Friday.
But Jesus ate the Passover early to celebrate with his disciples because he knew that he would not be there on Friday. Jesus knew that he was going to be taken in the garden of Gethsemane that evening.
We can find out what the Israelites ate during the Passover by looking at the Old Testament. The Passover meal consists of a roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8-9). The meal has become more elaborate now than when it was first observed.
When Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, it’s believed that they celebrated what is now called the Seder meal. If this is true, we can learn a couple of things about what the New Testament says in this meal.
Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper using the wine from one of the four cups of the Seder meal, and unleavened bread. In the Seder meal there are four glasses of wine. We know from Matthew 26:30 that they sing to hymn and left before finishing all of the meal.
The cup that they drank before they sang the hymn was the third cup. In the Seder meal, the hymn is sung after the cup of redemption. The four cups in order are:
- The cup of sanctification
- The cup of deliverance
- The cup of redemption
- The cup of victory (or praise)
The significance of this is that Jesus celebrates the cup of redemption with the disciples and then sings the Haggadah song with them and then they leave for the garden of Gethsemane. When we celebrate as Christians in the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate with a cup of redemption.
Right after this Jesus will be sentenced to death, and hang on a cross for our redemption from sin. Nothing he does is without significance. Remember that he also said to the disciples that he would not partake of the fourth cup, the cup of victory, until he was with them in heaven.
Jesus is still waiting to come for his church and take us to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb where he will celebrate this fourth cup with us. There is a break between the cups for reason.
The Passover lamb also represents Christ. He is the ultimate Passover lamb who in his death, his blood on the wooden posts of the cross, secured the passing over of God’s judgment over those who believe in Jesus.
The Passover lamb would be slaughtered and its blood put on the door posts of the house to protect the Israelites from the death angel that killed all the firstborn of Egypt in the original Exodus.
So there’s also significance to the lamb and its blood. Incredible connections can be made when we understand the Passover meal and why God put into place all of these foreshadowing of his Son Jesus. When we study what Jesus did, we often see the Old Testament foreshadowing and looking forward to his completion of God’s plan for us.