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LAST SUPPER

Thoughts on recreating your own Last Supper during Holy Week.

At dinnertime on the Thursday of Holy Week we like to have Mediterranean style food for dinner alongside a few Passover elements including unleavened bread, grape juice, bowl of salt water and a Seder Plate for display.  During the meal, we choose a few of the following topics to discuss/have short devotionals on: Lord, is it I; the first sacrament; servant leadership; teachings from the Last Supper discourse; and we incorporate singing a hymn. 

Items needed: place to sit on the ground to eat the meal; Bibles or print out of favorite Last supper teachings; Sacrament hymn (hymnbook or digital); Mediterranean Food and/or Passover Food with a seder plate

Main events of Holy Thursday – give an overview of the big picture, then zoom in the events of just the Last Supper

Betrayal, Lord, is it I? – Mark 14:17-20, the humility of the Twelve to ask “Lord, is it I?” When have we shown that kind of humility?

First Sacrament –Mark 14:22-26 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.   JST Mark 14:24 And as oft as ye do this ordinance, ye will remember me in this hour that I was with you and drank with you this cup, even the last time in my ministry…of this ye shall bear record.

Servant Leadership – Washing the feet (John 13:4-17); Who that is greatest among you shall be your servant. How can we serve more while we lead?

Teachings from the Last Supper Discourse John 13-16– Hand students/children a sheet of paper with your favorite verses or better yet, have children/students find their own favorite teachings from the discourse at the Last Supper, write them on a sheet of paper and share why it is meaningful to them. 

  • Do not let your heart be troubled. John 14:1
  • I am the way the truth and the life.  John 14:6
  • If ye love me keep my commandments.  John 14:15
  • Peace I leave with you. John 14:27
  • Love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12
  • I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Sing a hymn- Mark 14:26 “And when they had sung a hymn they went up into the Mount of Olives.” A few possibilities: 169 As Now we Take the Sacrament; 173 While of these emblems we partake; Love One Another

We may not always picture women at the Last Supper, but it is possible women were there. Here are four reasons why:

1.When Jesus says, “One of you will betray me” They ask, “Lord is it I?” He answers, “It is one of the twelve that dippeth with me in the dish.” (Mark 14:20) If it is just the twelve with him at dinner, why would he specify it is one of the 12?

2.When the angel tells the women at the tomb, “He is Risen…But go your way, and tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” (Mark 16: 6-7; Mark 14:28) When did he say this unto them? It was the Last Supper/and Mt. of Olives!

3.The women who followed him from Galilee, who were there at the cross and the tomb needed to be somewhere that night because they were from out of town. Galilee is a 4-5 day walk from Jerusalem. Since the group of women are ministering to him in Galilee (Luke 8:1-3) it makes sense they would be ministering to him this night at mealtime and stay with him.

4.Passover was a family event. Jesus’ mother, and aunt, Mother of James and John are all in Jerusalem this week. It would make sense they would gather together for this meal.  

I hope you feel more connected to Jesus Christ and feel his love as you recreate the Last Supper and you feel the blessings of intentionally speaking of Jesus Christ like the below quotes teach!

“At this Easter SEASON, let us worship and praise Him for the peace, hope, light and truth He brings to us.” President Russell M. Nelson 2021

“Be intentional about talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and preaching of Christ with your families and friends. You and they will be drawn closer to the Savior through this process. And changes, even miracles, will begin to happen.”   –President Russell M. Nelson Nov 2018

Holy Thursday

Main Events

Last Supper events are found in John chapters 13-16. They are solemn and sacred: One of you will betray me. Lord, Is it I? First Sacrament; Washing of the Feet; Discourse at the Last Supper; Sing a Hymn prior to walk to Gethsemane; Walk to Gethsemane

Gethsemane:  Prayer; Jesus asks the Father if is possible the bitter cup be removed; Disciples fall asleep; Angel comes to strengthen Jesus; Betrayal by Judas and arrest; Peter cuts off the ear of Malchus who is then healed by Jesus; Disciples flee

Palace of Caiaphas: Trial with Caiaphas and chief priests (Jewish authorities) including mocking, slapping, spitting on; Peter denies Jesus 3x before the cock crows (Friday morning)

If you are looking for tips on commemorating the Last Supper see this post.

Passover Simplified

In our family we have a Last Supper meal on the Thursday before Easter. We start with a modified Passover meal in a sitting down position with the food set on the floor. While we eat we: 1) Explain the reason for the Passover which is to remember the miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel from slavery 2) Show the Passover elements on the Seder plate (see below for specifics) and then we eat a Mediterranean style meal 3) We sing Dayenu (English lyrics below) 4) We also briefly talk about Elijah coming on Passover – D&C 110 & explained by Elder Gong (quote below).

If you are looking for an extensive Seder program you could look here or other online resources. We simplify ours because we focus more on the events of the Last supper. If I were going to do a more extensive Passover I would do so during the weeks before or after Holy Week, to spread out the celebrations.

The Seder plate contents & possible symbolism: 1) Roasted egg (circle of life, festival sacrifice); 2) Haroseth (reminder of the mortar Jews used in Egypt as slaves); 3) Green vegetable like parsley or lettuce (hope, renewal); 4) Bitter herb, like horseradish (bitterness of slavery); 5) Shank bone (the lamb sacrifice). Also on the table, but not necessarily on the seder plate: Bowl of salt water for dipping – (salt of the slave’s tears) and unleavened bread (the children of Israel left in haste and did not have time for the bread to rise).

Other Mediterranean food that is nice, but not necessary: Pita, hummus; Mediterranean Salad: cucumbers, tomatoes, with some lemon juice and dill; Grapes, grape juice; Cheeses; Dried fruit: apricots, dates, figs; Some type of soup: lentil soup, veggie soup.

Dayenu is a song often sung at modern-day Passovers, in Hebrew or English; its meaning is “It would have been enough.” We like to watch this entertaining video of the Maccabeats performing Dayenu, and this fun video which teaches the lyrics of Dayenu. I like to invite family members to write a few of their own verses of Dayenu for our family. I love this song but not everyone does, including some of my family members do. Here are the English lyrics to Dayenu.

Interesting facts about the Passover:

  • The date of the Passover differs each year according to the lunar calendar so date does not always fall during the Holy Week
  • In the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus ate the Passover meal the night before he died, which means the Passover meal and Last Supper were combined.
  • In contrast, in the Gospel of John, the Passover lambs were being slain at the same time Jesus was dying on the cross, which means Jesus’ Last Supper would not have been a Passover meal. It seems John wanted to highlight that Jesus is the Passover lamb, by having Jesus Christ crucified at the same time the Passover Lambs were killed. 
  • Passover lasts 7 or 8 days. The “Seder” is a ritual feast that the Jews have at the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Seder involves retelling the story of the miraculous delivery of the slaves from ancient Egypt as told in the book of Exodus.  In Exodus 13:8-10 the children of Israel are commanded to retell the story year after year.  Often, this evening of seder is referred to as Passover.
  • To modern-day Christians: The Passover is symbolic of Jesus’ blood delivering us from slavery and penalty of sin. “For Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (I Corinthians 5:7). When Christians celebrate Passover today, they remember how God miraculously delivered the children of Israel from slavery; and they also remember that now Jesus wants us to remember Him when we partake of the Sacrament/communion, the bread and wine.

Here is part of the quote from Elder Gong’s talk entitled “Hosana and Hallelujah”.

The coming of Elijah in the Kirtland Temple also fulfilled Malachi’s Old Testament prophecy that Elijah would re turn “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” In doing so, Elijah’s appearance coincided, though not by coincidence, with the Jewish Passover season, which tradition reverently anticipates Elijah’s return.

Let us also briefly recall what Passover signifies. Passover remembers the deliverance of the children of Israel from 400 years of bondage. The book of Exodus relates how this deliverance came after plagues of frogs, lice, flies, the death of cattle, boils, blains, hail and fire, locusts, and thick darkness. The final plague threatened the death of the firstborn in the land but not in the house of Israel if—if those households put the blood of an unblemished firstling lamb

The angel of death passed by the houses marked with the symbolic blood of the lamb. That passing by, or pass over, represents Jesus Christ ultimately overcoming death. Indeed, the atoning blood of the Lamb of God gives our Good Shepherd power to gather His people in all places and circumstances into the safety of His fold on both sides of the veil.

Scripture Valentines

It is always good to focus on the love God has for us, and it is especially fun during Valentines. Here are 8 of my favorite scripture valentines. Print them 4 to a sheet or select 9 to a sheet (on your printer settings) if you prefer a smaller card size.

Here is a free download. I hope you feel the power and reality of God’s love.

Devotional Lesson Plan & teaching ideas for Good Friday

  1. Show an image of a heart – Ask –what does this symbol make us think of?  Show an image of a cross and say: for many the cross is a symbol of the Savior’s love for us. Jesus said his greatest act of love for us was giving his life for us, dying for our sins.
  1. Use the senses – Seeing, touching, or tasting objects related to the Crucifixion can be helpful, especially for children, in remembering the events of Good Friday. For example, making or holding a crown of thorns from , carrying a heavy beam, handling a long nail, or tasting vinegar could connect participants with the events of Good Friday.

Use the list of objects as a way to talk about the events of Good Friday and this timeline.

  1. Visuals – Dress up as people of Good Friday (see list of people below) Reader’s theater script and use the objects of Good Friday including purple Fabric or Paper representing the veil of the temple. Tear it in half and talk about the meaning of the temple being torn in two at the death of Jesus– that because Jesus died for us, we are able to enter God’s presence.
  2. Display the seven final statements of Jesus in the shape of a cross, or have them as part of your table decor, or make them into a paper book for little ones.

Watch this Video on the significance of the seven final statements and the discuss which statement is most meaningful to each person

  1. Engage with the events of Good Friday in music, film or art. 

The gospel of John movie , It is 3 hours and is word for word from the gospel of John. Because it is so long I like to watch it on multiple days.

Or a short video on crucifixion

  1. Attend worship services.
  2. End with Good Friday celebratory food if you are not fasting. Many Christians fast on Good Friday. If you have younger children you may like to make sugar cookies or bread in the shape of a cross or heart, or both. Crosses and hearts together can help us connect Jesus’ death with his love.  A tradition in other countries is Hot Cross Buns.

7 final statements of Jesus on the cross

Thinking about, displaying, or having a devotional about the 7 final statements of Jesus on the cross are all great ways to commemorate Good Friday or focus more on Jesus during the Easter season.

Here is a short lesson plan for the 7 final statements of Jesus on the cross:

  1. Ask children/students to write down on a piece of paper any of the 7 final statements they can remember.  You could have them find in the scriptures the other the statements they couldn’t remember on their own (scripture references are listed below). Then have them see if they can put the statements in the order they think they were said. 
  2. Watch this very good ten minute video about the significance of these final statements and what they teach us about Jesus Christ. Invite children/students to take notes during the video writing down the statements and thoughts they have.
  3. Have them share which statement resonates the most with them and why. Don’t rush this sharing time.
  4. Display the seven final statements as part of your Easter/Holy Week/Good Friday decor. You could display them in the shape of a cross on a wall in your home, have them as part of a centerpiece on your table for your Easter dinner or Good Friday meal, make them into a banner, or a paper book. The link provided is a digital download my daughter made but you can easily make your own. If you are teaching your children/students they could create their own cards for display, or create a card with just their favorite one of the seven statements.

Seven final statements of Jesus on the cross:

1) Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

2) Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

3)  Woman, behold thy son. John 19:26

4) I thirst. John 19:28

5) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mark 15:34

6) It is finished. John 19:30

7) Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit Luke 23:36

Here is a Liahona article discussing the 7 final statements

Objects for Good Friday

Objects that use our five senses can be helpful to talk discuss the events and people of Good Friday. With my children or in a class setting I would lay out the objects on a table and have the children/students choose an object. Then I would invite them to share what part of Good Friday it represents and something we can learn from it. If someone does not know they could go look up the scripture that goes with that object.

This first list is objects that directly point to a specific person and the next group is objects that point us to events of Good Friday.

1)Prayer Tassel or piece of large piece of dark material to drape over head and shoulders (Caiaphas, Annas and the  Chief Priests) Matthew 27:57-68

2)Royal clothing (Pilate) Matthew 27:24. I used an old curtain that had fancy trim.

3)Crown (Herod Antipas) Luke 23:6-11.

4)Ribbon or pretty scarf (Pilate’s wife) Matthew 27:19

5)Handcuffs or chains (Barabbas)  Matthew 27:16

6)Purple Robe, Staff and Crown of Thorns John 19:2, Matthew 27:27-31  (Jesus)

7)Spear (Roman Soldier) John 19:34

8) Roman Soldier attire (Centurion who testifies at the foot of the cross)  Matthew 27:54. I found a breastplate and shield at the dollar store.

9) Rope or silver coins (Judas) Matthew 27:5

10) Cross (Simon of Cyrene) Luke 23:26 and Jesus

11) Myrrh, aloes and linen which Nicodemus brought John 19:39-40

12) Rock or tomb, representing empty unused tomb Joseph of Arimathea offered

13) Pieces of cloth to be draped over a head for the many women who are at the cross: Mary the mother of Jesus, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ aunt, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, Mary of Clopas, and many other women who followed him from Galilee. (7 singled out women when we look at all four gospel accounts, plus the “many others who followed Jesus from Galilee.” We do not have an exact number; it could be anywhere between 5-20+ more, in addition to the 7 individually specified)

14) Bible (representing the beloved disciple at the cross, likely John who was at the cross), John 19:26

15) Image of a group of many people (all his acquaintance at the cross) Luke 23:49

Object pointing to events

  1. Whip   Matthew 27:26
  2. Nail Colossians 2:14
  3. Beam or Cross Mark 15:21
  4. Passover Lamb  John 18:28
  5. Vinegar Matthew 27:48 (can be smelled or tasted)
  6. Hyssop  John 19:29 (can be smelled or tasted)
  7. Heart John 15:13
  8. Three hours of Darkness (Matt 27:15)  Dark piece of paper, or turn off the lights in the room
  9. 6 hours on the cross (6 hours on the cross —  Mark 15:24-25, Matthew 27:46-50; about 9am-3pm) For this you could have either the number 6 on a piece of paper or the times 9am-3pm.
  10. Piece of purple/red cloth or piece of purple/red paper torn in two, representing the veil of the temple torn in two at Jesus’ death (Matt 27:51)
  11. Image of gravestone (Matt 27:51)
  12. Shaker representing earthquake (Matt 27:51) or have everyone move like they are shaking in an earthquake

This is likely too many objects to discuss in one sitting or one lesson!  When I have done this in a family or church lesson setting I have picked about 12-15 of the 27 items to discuss.  We usually end by talking about the centurion at the foot of the cross who testifies of Jesus Christ  and what a miracle that was for a centurion to bear testimony at Jesus’ death.  I then give an opportunity for anyone who would like to share their testimony of Jesus Christ. A time for testimony sharing is a perfect Good Friday activity. We can be like the centurion at the foot of the cross as we declare that “Surely Jesus is the Son of God.”

Another way to include the props/objects is part of a Reader’s theater. That link will have a script that combines Good Friday events in the four gospels.

Recently published – Article on LDSliving called ” Did you catch the inspiring conviction of 20 women who worked with Paul?”

I have been studying about these women for a few years and recently put many of them on a map to help us visualize them in this early Christian church era. Their lives, examples and faith inspire me! Read more about it here in this article I wrote from LdsLiving: https://www.ldsliving.com/three-lessons-from-the-faithful-women-of-pauls-day/s/11815 Seriously, look at how many there are in scripture. The first map includes the women in Galilee and Jerusalem who knew Jesus during his lifetime and the second map features just the women post-resurrection.

Map 2 –featuring the women who worked with Paul. It is incomplete. There are still more!! Specifically the women in Caesarea, and the four daughters of Philip who prophesy.

Easter Recipes

Just like at Christmas time we may have favorite recipes just for that time of year, Easter can be the same way. If you are looking for food that has religious meaning, then eating broiled fish and honeycomb on Sunday afternoon can remind us of what Jesus asked to eat when he appeared to his disciples Sunday evening. Luke 24: 41-43 “and while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”

Incorporating broiled fish and honeycomb as part of your Easter food allows for a good time to talk about how Jesus wanted his disciples to really know His was a resurrected body, that He wasn’t a spirit. In our house, I often will make fish as part of the meal and if I can’t find honeycomb at a health food store, or I don’t want to spend the money on it, I will just serve it with a bowl of honey.

Other food that is unique to Holy Week is Passover food and Mediterranean style food. This can mean hummus, pita, grapes, cheeses, dried apricots and lentil soup. The Joe and Janet Hales Easter book has some practical recipe and meal ideas. Here is a lentil soup recipe but there are many options online. It is obviously easiest to just buy pita bread as your unleavened bread or it can be made at home or use matzah crackers. Here is a tip I learned the hard way: even though probably dark grape juice was used at the Last Supper, we have been much happier serving white grape juice when spills are likely.

In many places and cultures people fast (go without food or water for 2 meals) on Good Friday and you may want to incorporate fasting as part of your holy week commemorations.

Hot Cross Buns are also a Good Friday food. Here is one recipe.

Here are two recipes just for fun that remind us of the sweetness Jesus’ life brings! Spring salad and eclair cake

Here is a google doc with a compilation of Easter recipes and it includes recipes from other countries. Thank you Elkridge stake for sharing!

Easter Music

Music testifies of Christ in a powerful way, especially at Easter. Enjoy inspiring and holy music throughout the Easter season. Some pieces are geared toward younger children and some not. There is praising music for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, music connecting us with the crucifixion, and music that pertains to the entire season. Handel’s Messiah was originally written for Easter.

Here are few of many possible links:

Tabernacle Choir singing Hosanna – https://www.pbs.org/video/hosanna-in-excelsis-based-on-canon-in-d-h5kncs/

Spotify playlist called Jesus Christ Crucifixion playlist–scan the qr code below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBZ7AfZR9xs   Tabernacle Choir Handel’s Messiah Hallelujah Chorus

https://rogerandmelaniehoffman.com/stories.html He is Risen, From Stories of Jesus Album Melanie Hoffman, available on Apple Music for purchase

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCQsK1t9EKY Risen by Shawna Edwards

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ2djzQ9J64 The Miracle by Shawna Edwards

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QXYzb7PQww  Tabernacle Choir He is Risen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFYSLwMX-yU Easter Concert with the Tabernacle Choir 60 min

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25FUfpL8LzE   Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God 80 min

Hillary Weeks wrote a new Easter song in 2024 here on Instagram, I haven’t seen sheet music yet.

And here is a great post about Christ-centered music throughout the centuries

You can scan the qr code above for a spotify playlist with songs of Jesus.

What is your favorite music for the Easter Season? Please share your ideas in the comments!

Check out this page for music related to Palm Sunday; and this page for music related to Holy Thursday.