Bible Passage: Mark 14:22-25
In this passage Jesus and his disciples are celebrating the Passover, the most important festival on the Jewish Calendar, which commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt after many years in slavery. But in doing this Jesus gives new meaning to various elements of the celebration and institutes the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is about:
1. Remembering Jesus’ suffering for our salvation (v. 22): Like any Jewish household, where the head of the house would take the bread, bless it, break it and distribute it among those eating at the table with him on a Passover night, Jesus also keeps the tradition. The bread represented the ‘suffering’ that the Israelites endured during their hasty exodus from Egypt. That is why God designated the Passover bread as ‘the bread of affliction’ (Deut. 16:3), but its ultimate purpose was to remind them of their salvation from Egypt.
But Jesus renews the meaning of the bread when he says, “Take; this is my body” (v. 22). The giving of his body amounted to the ‘Giving of his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk. 10:45). A ransom paid to God to release those who stood under his wrath on account of their slavery to Sin and Satan. Through the suffering endured by Jesus on the Cross, we have received salvation and therefore the ‘bread’, reminds us of the ‘sorrow in Jesus’ suffering’ and the ‘joy of our salvation’.
2. Thanking Jesus for the benefits of the New Covenant (v. 23-24): Jesus then continues the tradition of taking the cup of wine, giving thanks and passing it to those at the table with him (v. 23). Just as he renewed the meaning of the ‘bread’, he renewed the meaning of the ‘wine’. He says in v. 24, “This is my blood of the covenant”. On the original Passover night, God symbolically made a covenant with Israel by shedding the blood of an innocent lamb. Its blood smeared on their door posts ensured God’s favor on Israel, even as HE poured out his wrath on Egypt. In the same way God sealed/ initiated a New Covenant with us through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). Under this New Covenant, God poured out his favor/ Grace on us in the form of ‘forgiveness of sins, His steadfast love and the granting of a believing and persevering heart empowered by the Holy-Spirit’ (Jer. 31:31-34; 32:40; Ezek. 36:26-27). So, we thank Jesus for all these sanctifying benefits that we enjoy today which were bought by the precious blood of Jesus.
3. Looking forward to Jesus’ Second Coming (v. 25): In this verse Jesus predicts that this will be his last Passover celebration before he renews it again at His second coming i.e. at the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the Lord’s Supper is also a looking forward to the fulfillment of this great promise made by Jesus. On that day we will be joined at the table by people from all nations, tribes, peoples and languages (Matt. 8:11; Rev. 7:9-10). And all those who participate in it are called blessed (Lk. 14:15) because it will be a much greater experience of being both the ‘privileged guest’ and ‘the righteous bride’ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9). An eternal existence with Christ, when every tear from our eyes will be wiped away, death shall be no more, no mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:3-4). So, the Lord’s Supper is an occasion for the church to look forward with great hope because it points to the consummation of all these promises.