On the night before Jesus was crucified, He gathered with his disciples in the Upper Room for an event now referred to as The Last Supper. We remember these events and Jesus’ teaching on the day we call Maundy Thursday. Professor of Jewish Studies and author Michael Rydelnik returns to the broadcast to take us back to that scene, the meal, and the message on a Maundy Thursday edition of Connecting Faith. Here’s where this special conversation leads:
Our visual imagination of The Last Supper might not be entirely accurate. Michael notes that the characters in the classic Da Vinci painting don’t look particularly Jewish.
There was deep significance in Jesus’ washing the disciples feet. He was instructing them to be servants and showcasing his authority as a teacher of the Bible.
We’ve often read of Jesus described as “the lamb”. Michael points to the history of Passover and further explains the significance of this comparison.
We reflect on the key role of Judas on that night. It’s fascinating to note that Judas was the disciple that many people thought the most of – a reminder of the truth that most people look to the outer appearance of a person, while God looks to the heart.
The very time of day that witnessed The Last Supper is significant, according to Michael. Jesus came as the light of the world in the midst of the darkest of night, offering hope that morning was on its way.
So how can we gain an even greater, richer understanding of the Bible in view of the Jewish heritage of the Old Testament? Michael recommends that we don’t in some way cut off the Bible from the Hebrew Bible, and that we keep reading and studying both texts as God’s inspired word. That heritage holds roots of meaning for Jews and Gentiles alike.