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Introduction 2

This bible study is a scriptural analysis to determine the order of events at the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples before he was crucified. The following table gives the chronological sequence of the events which occurred during that Passover supper, that Jesus shared with his disciples before he was crucified.

EventMatthewMarkLukeJohn1 Cor
Passover prepared26:17-1914:12-1622:7-13  
Jesus sits with his apostles26:2014:1722:14  
Jesus desire to eat the Passover   22:15-16  
Disciples strive over who is the greatest   22:24-30  
Jesus washes the disciples' feet    13:2-17 
Jesus prophesies his betrayal26:2114:1822:2113:18-21 
Disciples sorrow and question26:2214:1922:2313:22-25 
He who dips in the dish 26:2314:20   
Fate of betrayer 26:2414:21 22:22  
Judas identified 26:25  13:26 
Judas leaves   13:27-30 
God be glorified    13:31-32 
Jesus blesses bread 26:2614:2222:19 11:23-24
Jesus gives thanks for the wine 26:27-2814:23-24 22:20,17 11:25
Jesus no more drink 26:2914:2522:18  
Leave supper room 26:3014:2622:39  
Disciples to be offended 26:31-3214:27-28   
Jesus prophesies Peters denials26:33-3514:29-3122:31-34 13:33-38  
Jesus instructs to get swords   22:35-38  
Arrive at the garden of Gethsemane26:3614:32 22:40  

In order to establish the order of events at the "Lord's supper" we first need to understand two principles of interpretation of scripture. The first is that scripture is not always written in chronological order. This can be easily established by examining passages which are obviously out of order, for example, compare Genesis 8:4-5 with Genesis 8:6-12, or by examining parallel passages where the order does not agree; compare Matthew 4:3-11 with Luke 4:2-13, and ask yourself which was Jesus' second temptation? There are two main ways of establishing the correct chronological sequence of events, the first of which is that the wording of the scripture often indicates it, and when it does this has a high priority. The second is also the second principle of interpretation, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established" (2 Corinthians 13:1). This principle is confirmed by many scriptures (Num 35:30; Deut 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17). So when no other evidence is available, and two witnesses such as Matthew and Mark agree on the order, then even when a third witness such as Luke disagrees, we can still establish the true sequence of events by this rule. This is in fact the case here, Matthew and Mark agree totally as far as the order of events is concerned, while Luke disagrees in some places. John's account misses out much that the other gospels agree on, but then he also adds much that the other gospels miss out. We also need to remember that Matthew and John were present at this supper, so we would need strong evidence from the scripture if we were to rearrange the order of events which they have recorded. Some have tried to say that Luke's account gives the most accurate chronological sequence, based on his introduction:

(Luke 1:3-4) "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto you in order1, most excellent Theophilus, That you might know the certainty of those things, in which you have been instructed."

The word translated in order1 (Gr. καθεξῆς Gtr. kathexes) comes from two words, "kata", which means "according to", and "hexes" which is separately translated "after" (Luke 7:11), "next" (Luke 9:37; Acts 27:18), and "following" (Acts 21:1). Thus it indicates a sequence of events which follow each other in order, and some have interpreted this to say that Luke's gospel records a correct chronological sequence of Jesus' ministry. However, that contradicts some of the best principles interpreting the word of God (See RP 301 #4), some of which are being used here, and it is obvious from this study that that is not what it refers to. What it does refer to is not the order of the events in Luke's writings, but rather the order in which he did things; namely, that his writing to Theophilus follows his obtaining the records of others (Luke 1:1-2), and his having perfect understanding (v3). If "kathexes" had been translated, as it is in some other places, "afterwards" (Luke 8:1), or "after" (Acts 3:24), or even "next", this would have made the true meaning much clearer. Therefore, as we analyze the situation, we will use Matthew's account and Mark's account as a basis, fill in the events that only John records, and establish the rest of the order either from the scriptures themselves or by reasoning from our scriptural understanding of the situation when we have no other choice.


20 Now when the evening came, he sat down with the twelve.

MARK 14:17
17 And in the evening, he comes with the twelve.

LUKE 22:14
14 And when the hour came, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

Note: According to our analysis (See Introduction 2), these three scriptures follow the preparation of the Passover in the three gospels where they are recorded, so this is our starting point for the sequence of events at the "Lord's supper". It is obvious that Judas was here at this point because all scriptures refer to "twelve" apostles.


LUKE 22:15-16
15 And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say to you, I will not any more eat of it, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Note: This event only occurs in Luke's account, but we can make this an early event because it follows Jesus sitting down with his disciples (v14), and precedes Jesus' prophecy of his betrayal (v21). The context of the speech also suggests that this was at the beginning of the supper, and as there is no evidence to the contrary, there seems no reason to put it anywhere else. Some might consider verse 17 to be put with this, the cup being used during the Passover supper, but it is much more true to context to put it with verse 18, which certainly fits in after Jesus introduced the wine as representing the blood of the new covenant (See #2.26).


LUKE 22:24-30
24 And there was also a strife among them, who of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those who exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But you shall not be so: but he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he who is chief, as he who serves.
27 For who is greater, he who sits at meat, or he who serves? Is not he who sits at meat? But I am among you as he who serves.
28 You are those who have continued with me in my temptations.
29 And I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed to me;
30 That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Note: This is a hard scripture to place, because it only occurs in Luke's account, and we have already seen that the order of that is not reliable. Nevertheless there are a few indications that this is the correct place for it:

(1) Jesus said to them, "I appoint to you a kingdom ... That you may ... sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (v29-30), so we can discern that he was speaking to twelve people, which would include Judas. Some might consider that Jesus would not make this appointment to Judas, because he knew that he would betray him, but Judas would certainly be water baptized, he was appointed to preach the gospel and heal the sick (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 9:1-2), he was given authority over all devils and to cure diseases (Matthew 10:1; Mark 3:15; Luke 9:1), he was appointed as an apostle (Matthew 10:2-4; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:25), he had part of the ministry (Acts 1:17), and was a bishop in the church of God (Acts 1:20). Until he fell from his position by transgression (Acts 1:25), which was the act of betrayal, Jesus would not unfairly judge him for what he had not already done, but would treat him exactly the same as the others, without respect of persons. Jesus also knew that Peter was about to deny him three times, and he prophesied it (Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:29-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:33-38), but it didn't prevent him from washing his feet either, did it? We can therefore judge that Judas was still present at this time.

(2) Comparing the order of this with the feet-washing of the disciples, it seems inconceivable that after Jesus humbled himself in such a manner as to wash their feet that they would then strive among themselves over how great they were. Throughout this discourse Jesus is telling them to serve one another (v26-27), and it is a mark of a good teacher not only to teach by words, but also by example (John 13:15). Therefore it seems reasonable, that after seeing their self-exaltation, and rebuking them with words as these scriptures show, he would then go on to demonstrate it by the example of humbling himself to wash their feet. Thus we can conclude that this striving came before the feet-washing.

(3) There is little or no evidence to place it anywhere else, as the order of events in Luke's account has been shown to be totally unreliable in this instance.


JOHN 13:2-17
2 And supper being ended1, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Isacariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and went to God;
4 He rises from supper2, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he pours water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
6 Then he comes to Simon Peter: and Peter says to him, Lord, do you wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said to him, What I do you do not know now; but you shall know afterwards.
8 Peter says to him, You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.
9 Simon Peter says to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus says to him, He who is washed, does not need except to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore he said, You are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said to them, Do you know what I have done to you?
13 You call me Master and Lord: and you say well, for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
16 Amen, amen, I say to you, The servant is not greater than his Lord; neither is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
17 If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.

Note: This account of feet-washing only occurs in John's gospel, so we need to establish our justification for positioning it here. There are several reasons:

(1) John recorded this feet-washing at the beginning of the Passover supper, and before the "Lord's supper". We need to remember that John was present at this supper, so he knew the order in which the events occurred, and without good reason it would be unwise to alter his recorded sequence. This would certainly place this event before Jesus prophesied his betrayal (See #2.10), and before Judas left (See #2.20).

(2) The scripture telling us, "supper being ended" (v2), has caused some to place the feet-washing after the "Lord's supper", and if this were a correct translation there would be some justification for it. However, the word translated being ended1 (Gr. γενομένου Gtr. genomenou) is the genitive singular masculine, aorist middle participle, of the verb "ginomai", and literally means "having been born", or "having come into existence", or "having been created". This has been incorrectly translated "being ended" in the KJV and the NKJV, but others (RSV, NASV etc.) translate the same word to read "during supper", which is more accurate here. [This does not mean that I endorse the RSV or NASV bibles, which are based upon corrupted manuscripts, but rather that their interpretation of "genomenou" is more accurate in this instance.] The word does not indicate that supper had finished, but rather that it had started. This being so, we can definitely place the feet-washing before the taking of the wine (See #2.26), because we have two scriptures there which show that the wine was taken after supper (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25).

(3) In the phrase "He rises from supper" (v4), the words "from supper" are translated from the Greek words ἐκ τοῦ δείπνου (Gtr. ek tou deipnou) which literally mean "out of the supper". As it is not possible to arise out of something which does not exist, this confirms the previous point that the feet-washing took place during the Passover supper, not after it.

(4) During the feet-washing, Jesus said, "you are clean, but not all" (v10). The word translated "you" (Gtr. humeis) is plural, referring to the eleven other than Judas, while "not all" refers to Judas (v11), and shows that he was present at the feet-washing. Some may think that it would have been hypocrisy for Jesus to wash Judas’ feet after making such a statement, but for the reasons which have already been explained (See #2.06 Note (1)) this is not so.

(5) After Jesus had washed his disciples' feet, he "was set down again" (v12), indicating that he returned to the table. This would again indicate that the supper was still in progress after he had finished washing their feet.

(6) One of the principles of rightly dividing the word of God is that "All scripture ... is profitable for doctrine" (2 Tim 3:16), and whenever possible we need to consult the Old Testament "types" and "shadows" for confirmation of the truth of what we teach. Back as far as the book of Genesis we see a natural feet-washing taking place, which was done to wash the filth of the world off people's feet when they entered into a tent, or house. It was always the custom to do it before eating or drinking (Genesis 18:4-5; 24:32-33; 43:24-25; Judges 19:21). Again, under the law of Moses, when the priests were consecrated to minister unto the Lord, we find another type, where the feet-washing was the first ordinance done after entering into the tabernacle, even before they approached the altar (Exodus 30:18-21; 40:30-32). Towards the end of their consecration, they went on to eat the flesh of the sacrifice, and the bread from the basket of consecrations (Exodus 29:31-34; Leviticus 8:31-32). Notice the similarity with the statements of Jesus:

(John 6:48) "I am the bread of life."
(John 6:51) "I am the living bread, ... the bread that I will give is my flesh."
(John 6:53-54) "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood has eternal life."

Thus we can see that the flesh of the sacrifice, and the bread, are both types of the body of Jesus, because when he took the bread during the "Lord's" supper, he said, "this is my body" (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22). So in every Old Testament type that we can associate with this ordinance, the feet-washing always came before the eating and drinking. Jesus would never turn this around to contradict the scripture - he had to conform to the "types" already appointed - so again this leads us to conclude that at the last supper, the feet-washing was done before the ordinances involving the bread and the wine.


21 And as they ate, he said, Amen I say to you, that one of you shall betray me.

MARK 14:18
18 And as they sat and ate, Jesus said, Amen I say to you, One of you who eats with me shall betray me.

LUKE 22:21
21 But, behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.

JOHN 13:18-21 (Jesus)
18 I do not speak of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.
19 Now I tell you before it comes, that when it is comes to pass, you may believe that I am he.
20 Amen, amen, I say to you, He who receives whoever I send, receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me.
21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Amen, amen, I say to you, that one of you shall betray me.

Note: All four accounts here coincide very well, although John adds more detail of what was said than the others. However, as his additional information is followed by "When Jesus had thus said" (v21), it is right to include it here rather than preceding the event recorded only by Luke (See #2.04). It seems obvious also from the scriptures themselves that Judas was still here at this point.


22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I?

MARK 14:19
19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one by one, Is it I? And another said, Is it I?

LUKE 22:23
23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which one of them it was who should do this thing.

JOHN 13:22-25
22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spoke.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spoke.
25 He then lying on Jesus' breast says to him, Lord, who is it?

Note: In every account this event follows the previous one, and although John again gives more information, it seems evident that it is all part of the same event.


23 He answered and said, He who dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

MARK 14:20
20 And he answered and said to them, It is one of the twelve, who dips with me in the dish.

Note: This discourse comes only in two accounts, but in both of them the sequence agrees that it follows the disciples questioning who the betrayer is, and precedes the prophecy of the fate of the betrayer.


24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born.

MARK 14:21
21 The Son of man indeed goes, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.

LUKE 22:22
22 And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!

Note: Matthew and Mark agree on the order of this event while Luke puts it before the disciples questioning who the betrayer is, but as we have established the rule earlier (See Introduction 1), we can continue the sequence according to the two witnesses who agree.


JOHN 13:26
26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a piece of bread, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

25 Then Judas, who betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said to him, You have said.

Note: Matthew is the only one to show the correct position of this event, which is after the prophecy of the fate of the betrayer (v24), but preceding the blessing of the bread (v26). John's version is not contrary to Matthew's, but rather supplementary to it, and it seems evident that John's record comes before Matthew's. Try reversing the order and see if these verses make sense.


JOHN 13:27-30
27 And after the piece of bread Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spoke this to him.
29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said to him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 He then having received the piece of bread went immediately out: and it was night.

Note: This is recorded by no one except John, but it is obvious (v30) that Judas left immediately (Gtr. eutheos) after being identified by Jesus. The other disciples did not perceive this identification (v28), and when Judas left they thought that he had gone to obtain things for the feast (v29), which also shows that they were still eating the Passover supper at this time. The fact that Judas left immediately after receiving the piece of bread (v30), also shows that he was still eating at that time, and again confirms that the Passover supper was still in progress when he left.


JOHN 13:31-32
31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
32 If God is glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall immediately glorify him.

Note: There is no doubt here that this occurred after Judas left, "when he had gone out" (v31) being a good translation of the two Greek words "hote exelthen". As this occurs only in John's account, and in scripture sequence it follows directly after Judas' exit, it seems reasonable to assume that this is the first recorded detail of what was said after Judas left.


26 And as they were eating1, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

MARK 14:22
22 And as they ate1, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

LUKE 22:19
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-24 (Paul)
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me.

Note: Again the order of this event follows the sequence related by Matthew and Mark. It follows the prophecy of the betrayer in Mark, and the identification of Judas as the betrayer in Matthew, which is simply missed out of Mark's account. We have also followed John's account to see that Judas had left by this time, although Matthew and Mark have both omitted this, and we now need to consider when exactly this blessing of the bread took place. The two statements, as they were eating1 (Matthew 26:26), and as they ate1 (Mark 14:22) are both translated from the same Greek words ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν (Gtr. esthionton auton) and give the correct meaning. "Esthionton" is the genitive, plural, masculine, present, active participle, of the verb "esthio", "I eat", and literally means "while eating". The present participle usually refers to an action simultaneous with the main verb (DFH p57; JWW p152; WP p96), which in both of these cases is "broke"; thus indicating that they were still eating the Passover when Jesus did this. They could not have been eating the "Lord's supper", because that did not take place until after Jesus had blessed the bread. The blessing and breaking of the bread took place while they were still eating the Passover supper, and as the Passover bread seems to have been used, we could conclude that this was instigated as part of the supper. The order of events was as follows:

(1) Jesus took the bread
(2) Jesus blessed the bread and gave thanks,
(3) Jesus broke the bread,
(4) Jesus gave the bread to his disciples,
(5) Jesus commanded them to eat. Some may be concerned about whether we should eat as we receive the bread, or wait, and all eat together. What does the scripture say?

(1 Corinthians 11:33-34) "Therefore my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait one for another. And if any man is hungry, let him eat at home; that you do not come together to condemnation."

This agrees with how we would eat normally doesn't it? We wouldn't come to the table one by one and begin eating before others came, but rather we would come together first, say grace, and then eat together. Even though two different words are used, it is possible that the blessing and the giving of thanks refer to the same thing. Otherwise, because there are two witnesses for both, we have no evidence which of these two came first. The word translated blessed2 (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22) is the Greek word εὐλογήσας (Gtr. eulogesas) which is the nominative, singular, masculine, aorist, active participle, of the verb "eulogeo", "I bless", or "I speak well of", and literally means "having blessed", or "after blessing". This shows that the blessing took place before the breaking of the bread. The Word translated gave thanks3 (Luke 22:19), and when he had given thanks3 (1 Corinthians 11:24) is the same Greek word εὐχαριστήσας (Gtr. eucharistesas) which is the nominative, singular, masculine, aorist, active participle, of the verb "eucharisteo", "I give thanks", and literally means "having given thanks", or "after giving thanks". This confirms that the giving of thanks took place before the breaking of bread.


MATTHEW 26:27-28
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you;
28 For this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

MARK 14:23-24
23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24 And he said to them, This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many.

LUKE 22:20, 17
20 Likewise also the cup after supper1, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

1 CORINTHIANS 11:25 (Paul)
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped1, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in my blood: this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Note 1: There are two excellent reasons why this follows the blessing of the bread, the first one being that in the order-sequence it immediately follows it in all of the four accounts where it is recorded. Also the words translated after supper1 (Luke 22:20) and when he had supped1 (1 Corinthians 11:25) are the same Greek words μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι (Gtr. meta to deipnesai) which literally means "after supping". Both of these scriptures confirm that this took place after the eating of bread, which was done during the Passover supper (See #2.24 Note), and there seems no logical reason to try to position this event anywhere else. This then seems to be the correct order of events during this ordinance:

(1) Jesus took the cup,
(2) Jesus gave thanks,
(3) Jesus gave it to the disciples,
(4) Jesus told them all to drink of it (Matthew 26:27),
(5) The disciples all drank (Mark 14:23), apparently out of the same cup, because the word "cup" is singular. This means that they must have drunk in sequence, one after the other, and not all together as they ate the bread.
(6) Jesus explained it as the blood of the New Covenant. The only account which disagrees with this order is again Luke's, but where he does not agree, in each case there are at least two others who do.

Note 2: Some may try to reverse the order of verses 20 and 17 in Luke's account, but in fact they need to be split, and the correct order compared to the other accounts appears to be as follows: "Likewise also the cup after supper (v20), he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: (v17), this cup is the New covenant in my blood, which is shed for you (v20)."


29 But I say to you, From now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine, until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

MARK 14:25
25 Amen I say to you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

LUKE 22:18
18 For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

Note: Both Matthew and Mark agree on the placing of this directly after the giving of the cup, although again Luke is partly out of order. It seems certain that these three verses align exactly with one another, so this helps us to position Luke 22:17 in the previous section. Reading all of these scriptures in context, it is obvious that in each case these verses directly follow the preceding verses, and are part of the preceding discourse.


30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

MARK 14:26
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

LUKE 22:39
39 And he came out, and went as he was accustomed, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples followed him.

Note: Again the order here is determined by the accounts of Matthew and Mark, Luke's account still seeming to be out of order. This seems true for the discourse which follows also when Jesus prophesied Peter's denials. The position of Luke 22:39 here is totally on its content, which includes "he came out" referring to leaving the supper room, and the going to the mount of Olives, both of which agree with the other two accounts.

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