Mk 14:12-16, 22-26
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Passover was a tradition for the Jewish people that God had commanded them to follow. It was a special meal that was to help them remember how He saved them after hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt. And the Lord told the Israelites to have the Passover meal every year so that they wouldn’t forget who He was and who they were.
In Mark 14:12, it was time for the Passover. So the disciples asked Jesus, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And in the next few verses, Jesus tells them where to go and what to do (vv. 13-15).
About the Passover Meal
The Passover was not just a festive occasion to get together and eat stuff. You had to have some very specific things for the meal, each thing having a very specific symbolic purpose. It was precisely tailored to help people remember what God had done for them. So the disciples followed Jesus’ instructions and “they prepared the Passover” (v. 16).
At the end of the Passover meal, the remainder of unleavened bread would be eaten. This is probably where they were in verse 22.
“And as they were eating, [Jesus] took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’”
What the Passover Points To
“Take; this is my body.” We’ve heard those words many times over the years. But we need to realize that Jesus was redirecting this powerful, long-held symbolism of the Passover. Jesus was saying, “This bread isn’t only meant to point you back to God’s faithfulness in the Exodus – it’s meant to point you to me. My body is about to be broken.” For us.
After Jesus passes the cup, He says, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (v. 24). Here again the cup had always pointed back to the Exodus, but now Jesus tells us that it points to Himself. He just redefines the entire Passover tradition. No average person would dare to do this, but Jesus did – He had the authority to.
The evening would probably have closed with singing. This is what we see in verse 36: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” And that ends Mark’s account of the Lord’s Supper.
Why is the Lord’s Supper Important?
Ever since that night, Christians have regularly observed the Lord’s Supper. Different churches may do it different ways, but the question is: why is the Lord’s Supper so important?
As we read the Bible, we see that it’s all about memory. God’s people have always struggled with a sort of spiritual Alzheimer’s, forgetting who God was and who they were. This is one of the reasons He set up the Passover – so that His people would remember.
If we don’t hear about Jesus over and over again, we’ll forget He’s our Savior. We’ll forget He’s our Lord. And when we forget:
- We start to worry, to be afraid of everything, to feel like we are all alone in the world.
- We will start to go our own way, as though we are the lord of our own life, making prayerless decisions and depending on our own strength.
- We begin to live the way we did before we were made new through Christ. Sin starts to settle into our hearts and habits, and we become vulnerable to temptation. We seek satisfaction and comfort in broken cisterns of the world, forgetting that we have rivers of life-giving water available to us.
- We begin to forget our purpose, devoting ourselves to lesser purposes and trying to cobble together some kind of identity apart from Christ.
- Our priorities start to match our non-Christian neighbors, and soon there’s nothing distinctive about us.
So when you partake in the Lord’s Supper, remember Jesus. It’s not magic bread or magic juice, but the Body and Blood of our Lord. And what they are is so powerful. Remember who Jesus is and who you are. Then ask yourself, “What will be different now that I remember Jesus is my Savior and Lord?”
Heavenly father thank you for the sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ. Let us remember through the sacrament, your sacrifice because of Your love for us. Let us be mindful each time we receive the bread and wine that we are receiving the body and blood of Your only son who died on the cross for our sins. Amen.