The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Michael Friedsam (32.100.143)

The last supper, depicted in this early-16th-century limestone carving from Germany, was celebrated by Jesus as a symbol of the new order he embodied, according to author Wright. One resounding theme of Israel’s greatest prophets is that Yahweh will return to Israel, defeat her enemies (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon) and liberate the Israelites from centuries of exile, actual or symbolic. In Wright’s view, Jesus believed he was the Messiah in whom these prophesies were to be realized: Jesus represented in himself the return of Yahweh to his people. The Eucharist, and Jesus’ death and resurrection, symbolized the final Exodus and the consequent arrival of the Kingdom of God.