This article is based and built on and around, the work in the of E.W. Bullinger in “The Companion Bible“, appendix 157.
The bible texts used are from the Modern King James Version.
As Bullinger says: “That there were three suppers, and not only two, at the close of the Lord’s ministry will be clear from a careful comparison of the following scriptures.
There was the supper recorded in John 12:1-9,
“Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was (who had died, whom He raised from the dead).
2 Then they made a supper there for Him. And Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those reclining with Him.
3 Then Mary took a pound of ointment of pure spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
4 Then said one of His disciples (Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who was to betray Him) 5 Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?
6 He said this, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and held the moneybag and carried the things put in.
7 Then Jesus said, Let her alone. She has kept this for the day of My burial.
8 For you have the poor with you always; but you do not always have Me.
9 Then a great crowd of the Jews learned that He was there. And they did not come for Jesus’ sake only, but also that they might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.”
This was probably in the house of Lazarus [1) Because all the family were present, and 2) “Martha Served,” see Luke 10:40-42], and, “being six days before the Passover”, must have taken place on the Friday evening on the Lord’s return from His first entry into Jerusalem from Bethphage.
Having slept there on the Friday night and spent the last Sabbath in retirement there, this first supper was made after the Sabbath had ended at 6:00 p.m. At this supper there was an anointing of the Lord by Mary.
The second supper, recorded in Matthew 26:6-13,
“And when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him, having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His head as He reclined.
8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for very much and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, He said to them, Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work on Me.
11 For you have the poor with you always, but you do not always have Me.
12 For in putting ointment on My body, she did it for My burial.
13 Truly I say to you, Wherever this gospel shall be proclaimed in the whole world, that which this woman has done shall be spoken of also, for a memorial of her.”
took place “two days before the Passover ” at the house of Simon the leper, which was also in Bethany. See Mark 14:1-9. at this supper there was an anointing by an unknown woman.
The supper recorded in John 13:1-20,
“And before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come when He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And when supper had ended, the Devil now having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon to betray Him, 3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and went to God, 4 He rose up from supper and laid aside His garments. And He took a towel and girded Himself.
5 After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, Lord, do You wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said to him, You do not know what I do now, but you shall know hereafter.
8 Peter said to Him, You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.
9 Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and head.
10 Jesus said to him, He who is bathed has no need except to wash his feet, but is clean every whit. And you are clean, but not all.
11 For He knew who would betray Him. Therefore He said, You are not all clean.
12 So after He had washed their feet and had taken His garments and had reclined again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done to you?
13 You call Me the Teacher, and Lord, and you say well, for I AM.
14 If then I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also 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 Truly, truly, I say to you, A servant is not greater than his master, neither is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I do not speak of you all; I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.”
19 From now I tell you before it comes, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, He who receives whomever I send receives Me. And he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
is the same as that recorded in Matthew 26:20, Mark 14:17 and Luke 22:14. It was “the last supper”, “the hour was come”, and when supper was begun or going on (but not “ended”) the Lord first washed His disciple’s feet; and, later, the events took place as recorded in all four Gospels. John’s Gospel adds some antecedents but gives the same consequents.
The rendering of the Greek “genomenou” in John 13:2 by “ended” instead of “by taking place”, or “beginning”, has been the cause of much confusion. ”
John 13:2 says “And when supper had ended, the Devil now having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon to betray Him…”
Ended = γίνομαι Thayer Definition:
- to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being,
- to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
- of events,
- to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage,
- of men appearing in public,
- to be made, finished,
- of miracles, to be performed, wrought,
- to become, be made.