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Last Supper before Jesus crucifixion puts spotlight on disciples role in Christianity
Simon the Zealot ( Maurice Ericson) reflects on his first encounter with Jesus. During the meal, known as The Last Supper, Jesus informed his disciples that one of them would betray him. - photo by Michelle Boaen Jameson

Easter Sunday is a day that many people reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but few pause to consider the days that lead up to this miracle.

The Bible recounts the final days of Jesus’ life. It tells readers that he was crucified on a Friday, died and buried the following day and resurrected on Sunday, which we now celebrate as Easter.

What few people focus on is the day before the crucifixion, which is now known as Holy, or Maundy, Thursday.

"On that night, He had a supper with his 12 disciples," said Rev. Mark Outlaw, pastor of Redwine United Methodist Church in Gainesville.

"It was the Last Supper, the one that we observe on Sundays with communion."

At the Passover feast, Jesus used the bread and wine to represent his body and blood, and convey to his disciples that he will live on within them.

During the meal, Jesus informed his disciples that one of them would betray him.

That meal not only has Biblical significance, it also has artistic value as well. Leonardo da Vinci immortalized the meal with his painting, "The Last Supper."

Last week, Outlaw and his wife, Lynn Outlaw, invited the community inside Redwine to get a deeper understanding of the incidents leading up to the Easter resurrection, with the church’s presentation of "Lord, Is It I."

The title stems from the question each disciple — Peter, John, both James, Andrew, Phillip, Barthlomew, Thomas, Matthew, Thaddeus, Simon and Judas — asked Jesus when he said that one of them had betrayed him.

"I love this (play) because it really takes people into the upper room with Jesus and the 12 men who were closest to him," said Lynn Outlaw, who directed the play.

"It’s like a retelling of the gospel because each of the disciples gets the opportunity to tell about their relationship with Jesus and their individual struggles."

It is their personal battles that helps make the 12 men more relatable in 2011, the Rev. Outlaw says. In an effort to lead a more Christian life, individuals can not only learn from Jesus’, but also from the personal struggles of his disciples.

"They were human just like us," Outlaw said. "They battled some of the same issues that we battle. We can learn from their lives and their spiritual experiences."

Long after celebrants have removed their Easter bonnets and found the last Easter egg, Outlaw encourages them to take heed to the final instruction that Jesus gave to his disciples during their final meal together.

"He said, ‘This one commandment, I give to you," Outlaw said.

"‘Love one another.’"


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