For Orthodox Christians the last Paschal meal of our Lord is the most crucial act of Christ, which is inseparably intertwined with His very act of self-immolation on the cross as a sacrificial Paschal Lamb, and it is the most pivotal act on which rest all the mysteries of human salvation and the rites of salvation in the Holy Church. For most of the Protestant Christendom it is just an institution of a memorial for Jesus, not any more significant than it. For us Orthodox Christians, the raison d’etre of the Holy Church, the priesthood and ministry and the channels of sanctification are all incardinated into the mystery mystically implied in that Last Supper.
We urge our readers to vividly imagine the psychological condition in which Jesus, the God-Man, was sitting at His last meal on earth with His disciples. Jesus as God clearly knew that that He was going to be turned over to His enemies by His own disciple, and in a short time He was going to be executed on the intense pressure of the Jewish priesthood and leaders who had opposed His mission on earth.
As a person who loved His disciples and a loyal group of followers, Jesus was very much mentally disturbed, particularly because He knew that He was going to leave them until He returns for the second time. Theologians have identified three problems that confronted Jesus at this painful time. Jesus’ agony has already begun in the presence of His disciples at the table, who might not realize the seriousness of the occasion. Some who might know that there was an imminent danger for Him, would have thought, as a miracle worker, Jesus would escape any adverse environment. Some may have thought that He was the Son of the “Living God”, and would be definitely rescued by His Father. For most of the apostles, there existed no imminent problem.