Matthew 26:20

ESV When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.
NIV When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.
NASB Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve.
CSB When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve.
NLT When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve.
KJV Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

What does Matthew 26:20 mean?

Matthew records the beginning of what has famously become known as the Last Supper. This is Jesus' final meal with His twelve disciples before His arrest, trials, conviction, and crucifixion. Jesus knows exactly what is coming later in the evening. Though He has warned them repeatedly about it (Matthew 16:21–23), the disciples seem unaware of what will happen over the next few days. They likely know that Jesus is wanted by the Jewish religious leaders (John 11:57). They may be nervous about being in Jerusalem for the Passover, as required by the law.

They would have waited until sundown to eat the Passover meal together. In Jewish timekeeping, sundown was the beginning of the day to follow. The Passover began on 15th of the month known as Nisan.

It was not common in this culture to sit on chairs around a table to eat a meal. Instead, formal meals were served in the Middle Eastern style. Participants would sit on cushions in a U-shaped pattern around a low table and lean back as they ate a long and leisurely meal. Together with His twelve handpicked disciples, Jesus reclined and ate, leading the group through the prescribed steps required in the law for each stage of the Passover meal.
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