Depictions of the Last The Last Supper in Christian art have been undertaken by artistic masters for centuries, Leonardo da Vinci’s late 1490s mural painting in Milan, Italy, being the best-known example. The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians contains the earliest known mention of the Last Supper. The three Synoptic Gospels and the First Epistle to the Corinthians include the account of the institution of the Eucharist in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to the Apostles, saying “This is my body given to you”. Scholars have looked to the Last Supper as the source of early Christian Eucharist traditions. The term “Last Supper” does not appear in the New Testament, but traditionally many Christians refer to the New Testament accounts of the last meal Jesus shared with his Apostles as the “Last Supper”. Most Protestants use the term “Lord’s Supper”, stating that the term “last” suggests this was one of several meals and not the meal.

The Eastern Orthodox use the term “Mystical Supper” which refers both to the biblical event and the act of Eucharistic celebration within liturgy. This meal later became known as the Last Supper. The Last Supper was likely a retelling of the events of the last meal of Jesus among the early Christian community, and became a ritual which recounted that meal. The overall narrative that is shared in all Gospel accounts that leads to the Last Supper is that after the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem early in the week, and encounters with various people and the Jewish elders, Jesus and his disciples share a meal towards the end of the week.

Key events in the meal are the preparation of the disciples for the departure of Jesus, the predictions about the impending betrayal of Jesus, and the foretelling of the upcoming denial of Jesus by Apostle Peter. Jesus predicted that one of his Apostles would betray him. Judas is specifically identified as the traitor. It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish. Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. In the course of the Last Supper, Jesus divides up some bread, says a prayer, and hands the pieces of bread to his disciples, saying “this is my body. He then takes a cup of wine, offers another prayer, and hands it around, saying “this is my blood of the everlasting covenant, which is poured for many. Finally, according to Paul and Luke, he tells the disciples “do this in remembrance of me. The institution of the Eucharist is recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels and in Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. The words of institution differ slightly in each account. Some scholars, therefore, believe that it is an interpolation, while others have argued that it is original.