The Passover meal and Last Supper (Matthew 26: 17–35)

Each year Jews celebrate the Passover festival. It is a festival which marks the night that the Israeli slaves escaped from Egypt.

Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Passover meal together.

As this was the last meal that Jesus would share with his disciples, he took elements of the Passover meal and made them symbols of his death.

While they were at the table Jesus made a shock announcement. He said that he would be betrayed by one of his disciples, “the one who dips his bread in the dish with me”.

The disciples were shocked and anxious and said, “Surely not me?”

Jesus said that it would have been better if the traitor had never been born.

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What Jesus did next at the meal has become the most important ritual for Christians as he asked that his actions be repeated.

Jesus blessed the bread, broke it and passed it around. He did the same with the wine. He explained that the bread was his body and the wine was his blood.

Jesus’ death would be the final sacrifice, enabling all people to receive God’s forgiveness.