Historically, the “last supper” is reference to an actual meal shared by Jesus and his disciples in an upper room in the last week of his earthly pre-death life. The occasion was the Jewish Passover and Jesus served as the host of this meal.
Many significant events occurred during this meal or just following it. Judas left early to betray the Christ to enemies who were intent on killing Jesus. Jesus preceded the meal with an unexpected and uncomfortable (to those served) act of service when he took up water and towel and washed the feet of his followers. I can only imagine what it was like to be included in that event.
A number of years ago, artist Hyatt Moore did the above painting that uses the form of Leonardo di Vinci’s famous work . Hyatt’s website provides this information about this work.
The Last Supper with Twelve Tribes was painted in the year 2000 to commemorate the inclusion of all peoples under God. It’s oil on canvas (with acrylic under-painting) and at 20 feet wide by 4.5 feet high it is basically life size. Painted in British Columbia, Canada, it is currently on display in California, and sometimes on tour.
Depicted (from left) are: Crow of Montana, Berber of North Africa, Masai of Kenya, China, Ecuador, Afghanistan, Jesus, Ethiopia, Tzeltal of Mexico, Canela of Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Salish of British Columbia, Mongolia.
Scripture makes it clear that God’s intention is for all peoples to be included — for all to receive an invitation to know Him and worship Him and be transformed by Him. But not all have that opportunity — some are excluded because they do not have a way to hear from God and know Him in the language they understand deeply. They live in a kind of poverty the leaves them out.
What if I told you that we could alleviate Bible poverty in this generation?
Wycliffe — along with a global alliance of partners — is currently starting new translation projects while pressing on toward the finish line with ongoing projects at a pace that suggests that we will see some Scripture translated into every language needing it in this generation.
If you are a follower of Christ and practice the sacrament of communion, might I suggest that the next time you eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of Jesus, you also remember those who He intends to be a part of his Body but who have not yet been invited to the table in a way that they can understand?