Inspiration often comes in unexpected ways. My approach to this piece was influenced by a rather unusual source – a photograph of John F. Kennedy. It was taken at a moment when the world was on the brink of war – the height of the Cuban missile crisis. Although President Kennedy was surrounded in his oval office by cabinet members and military advisors, he alone bore the weight of making those final critical decisions. The photographer cropped everyone out of the picture except the President. He focused on capturing the President’s expression, which tells the story of this pivotal time in history.
Nearly two millennia earlier, the Savior sat in an upper room. The world was on the brink of another kind of war, a great struggle between good and evil, a very real battle for the souls of all men and women. Though surrounded by His beloved apostles, the weight of the world’s sorrows – past, present and future – rested on Him alone. No one else could comprehend what lay ahead in the dark shadows of Gethsemane or upon the rugged cross at Calvary.
This Last Supper marks the beginning of the end. Judas has silently departed and is on his way to complete his treacherous bargain. The time has come for Christ to “suffer all things.” Though understandably apprehensive, and wishing, even praying, that this cup might pass from Him, He nevertheless submitted His will to that of His Father. He went on to drink the bitter cup and drain the very dregs – because He loves us! In return He asks only that we remember Him, and in doing so, we are inspired to be more like Him.
Greg Olsen – 1999