Last Supper, in the New Testament, meal taken by Jesus and his disciples on the eve of the passion. Jesus broke bread and passed a cup of wine among the disciples, identifying himself with the bread and the wine and linking the meal to his impending death on the cross. The meal was an anticipation both of Jesus' death and of the eschatological banquet referred to in several Old Testament passages and by Jesus himself. Christians see the Last Supper as the original of the Eucharist. The Synoptic Gospels depict the meal as a Passover meal; the Gospel of St. John does not. The Last Supper has been a favorite subject of painting.
See I. H. Marshall, Last Supper and Lord's Supper (1981).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.