The Last Supper, held on the second floor of a house in Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover, was the last meal before His death that Jesus ate with His twelve disciples: Peter, James the greater, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Andrew, James the lesser, Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot and Thaddeus, also known as Judas. (Some of the names are open to question).
According to John, before the meal Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, to demonstrate to those sharing the meal the idea of service to one another. Jesus predicted that one of those present would betray Him, and one of His disciples asked who that might be. He was not named, and some thought it was Saint John, the Gospel writer.
Saint Peter, who was the first disciple to understand the divinity of Christ, was given the task of continuing His teaching, and Jesus gave him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, saying, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church”. (Matthew 16:18). Consequently, in all pictorial representations of Saint Peter, he is seen with keys in his hand. During the Last Supper, Peter assured Jesus of his loyalty saying, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death”, and Jesus answered, “Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shall thrice deny that thou knowest me” (Luke 22:33,34). And as Jesus had foretold, so it happened. When Peter realized this, he “went outside and wept bitterly”, (Matthew 26:75). It was Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the High Priests for 30 pieces of silver, (Mark 14:43-45). Later Judas repented, returned the money to the High Priests and committed suicide, (Matthew 27:3-5). According to legend, the white blossom of the Judas tree from which he hanged himself turned purple from shame from that day onwards.
To His disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus offered bread and wine, which He blessed as representing His body and blood to be eaten and drunk in a new covenant between God and Mankind.
Although it was not indisputably a Passover meal, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and also the traditions of the Church agree that the Last Supper took place at the Jewish festival of Unleavened Bread, known also as Pesach. The Last Supper was very significant because Jesus showed his disciples he was about to become the Passover Lamb of God. His blood would open the door to freedom. His followers would exchange slavery to sin and death for eternal life in God’s Kingdom.