Monday, June 7, 2010

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

During the Passover festival Jesus Christ came with his followers to Jerusalem where a large crowd came to meet him. Jesus cleansed the Herod's Temple by overturning the tables of the moneychangers who set up shop there. Following this, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal, the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his death. It is an event that was later known as The Last Supper, in which he prophesied that he would be betrayed by one of his disciples and he would then be executed. In this ritual supper, Jesus took bread and wine in hand saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you’ and ‘this cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood’, and instructed them to ‘do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:7-20).

In The Last Supper, Jesus washes his disciples' feet and gives his farewell discourses, discussing the persecution of his followers, the coming of the Holy Spirit, etc. He says a long final prayer with his disciples before heading to a garden where he knows Judas will show up.

According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus institutes a new covenant of his blood and body, the wine and bread. Some Christians describe this as the ‘Institution of the Eucharist’. Others view the Last Supper as later derived from first century Eucharistic practice.

The vessel which was used to serve the wine is sometimes called the Holy Chalice, and has been one of the supposed subjects of Holy Grail literature in Christian mythology. Also The Last Supper has been the subject of many literary works and paintings, of which the painting, The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the best known.

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