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Mark 14:12-31 - The Last Supper
We need to think about the first “Passover” in Egypt and the changes God called for when Israel entered the Promised Land. This is what Passover meant for Jesus and the disciples and the early church. This is the feast that was reworked into the sacrament we call the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
12:1–13—God’s rules for Passover, including judgment on the gods of Egypt
Although translated Passover, the Hebrew pesach, derives from the verb pasach that means “to protect”. It does not mean “to pass over”! The link with Jesus is clear. Jesus was unblemished, was crucified at Passover etc. This is confirmed by Paul…
7 Clean out the old leaven in order that you may be a new batch of dough, just as you are unleavened. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. 8 So then, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old leaven or with the leaven of wickedness and sinfulness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
36 For these things happened in order that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not a bone of his will be broken.”
John 19:36 [quoting Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20]
Jesus himself links the timing of his death with the Passover [Matthew 26:2].
According to Deuteronomy 16:6, once Israel had entered the land, the Passover was to be celebrated at a single location, which would have been Jerusalem once the first temple was built. The seder, Passover meal, but not lamb, is eaten on the evening of the day before Passover, i.e. the evening before the last day as gentiles usually reckon time. The lambs are slaughtered on the last day before sunset. Thus, the Last Supper was eaten on the Thursday evening, the day before Passover, after which Jesus was arrested and died on the Friday, the Passover. Jesus became the Paschal lamb in the fullest sense. He was the lamb, the substitutionary atonement! Those who are in Jesus are pasached [protected] from the death their sin will inevitably cause.
7 And they will take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel on the houses in which they eat it. 8 And they will eat the meat on this night; they will eat it fire-roasted and with unleavened bread on ⌊bitter herbs⌋. 9 You must not eat any of it raw or boiled, boiled in the water, but rather roasted with fire, its head with its legs and with its inner parts. 10 And you must not leave any of it until morning; anything left from it until morning you must burn in the fire. 11 And this is how you will eat it—with your waists fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you will eat it in haste. It is YHWH’s Passover.
12 “And I will go through the land of Egypt during this night, and I will strike all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human to animal, and I will do punishments among all of the gods of Egypt. I am YHWH. 13 And the blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and I will see the blood, and I will
pass overpasach you, and there will not be a destructive plague among you when I strike the land of Egypt.
What were the Israelites Pasached, or protected, from?
This is the last plague. From the fifth plague onwards, the Israelites escaped the plagues, but this is the first time YHWH says that he will protect, pasach, the Israelites. Also, the Israelites are now required to respond in faith and obedience, eating the lamb and putting blood around their doors.
Now, back to Mark…
Jesus’ Final Passover with the Disciples
12 And on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare, so that you can eat the Passover?”
Would the Jesus and the disciples have eaten lamb?
13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and 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?” ’ 15 And he will show you a large upstairs room furnished and ready, and prepare for us there.” 16 And the disciples went out and came into the city and found everything just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
This is similar to preparations for the triumphal entry [11:2-6] in that Jesus has prescience of events and flags up the significance of the events that follow.
What does this assure us about the events that are unfolding?
17 And when it was evening, he arrived with the twelve.
They waited for sundown on the Thursday. Friday, the Passover, has begun
18 And while they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, that one of you who is eating with me will betray me.”
Jesus knew what was happening.
Does this confirm your answer to 3?
19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one by one, “Surely not I?” 20 But he said to them, “It is one of the twelve—the one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man is going just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if that man had not been born.”
Neither Jesus nor the father were caught out. Indeed, the Spirit-breathed scriptures foretold what would happen. Where?
9 Even my close friend [lit. “the man of my peace”], whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
…and as some have suggested…
7 All of the men of your covenant have driven you up to the boundary; your men of peace have deceived you and have prevailed against you. Those who eat your bread have set an ambush for you, there is no understanding of him.
…the original context is the rejection of Israel by the nations. Jesus though is THE Israel.
The Lord’s Supper
22 And while they were eating, he took bread and, after giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take it, this is my body.” 23 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the [new] covenant which is poured out for many.
Jesus takes components of the sedar and uses them as symbols of his body and blood.
What much earlier event does bringing out bread and wine link to? What does this say about Jesus’ priesthood?
Jesus had told them that he would give his life as a ransom for the many [10:45].
25 Truly I say to you that I will never drink of the fruit of the vine any longer until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
What is this kingdom? When does it come?
26 And after they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus sings with joy…
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written,
‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’
Jesus is quoting from Zechariah 13:7 underscoring God’s plan and purposes in what is unfolding.
28 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29 But Peter said to him, “Even if they all fall away, certainly I will not!” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that today—this night—before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times!” 31 But he kept saying emphatically, “If it is necessary for me to die with you, I will never deny you!” And they all were saying the same thing also.
Have you promised things to God and failed? How, perhaps, should we qualify such good intentions?
Not only would the disciples flee in fear and Peter deny Jesus three times but the hope of the resurrection [v28] is forgotten. It is women who are at the tomb at dawn on the Sunday.
During this week of Lent, read a chapter a day from the John's gospel starting at John 13.
“The name of the Passover, פֶּסַח (pesaḥ), is etymologically derived from this verb [פָסַח (pāsaḥ)]. Isaiah 31:5 mentions that Yahweh will preserve (pāsaḥ) Jerusalem and deliver it from its enemies. This use is close in sense to the use in Passover accounts of Exod 12.” Spencer A. Jones, Lexham Theological Wordbook, 2014. See also M. R. Wilson, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised, 1979–1988, 3, 675–676.
The “passover” language derives from the Latin Vulgate [5th century AD]
There is evidence that Jews in more distant cities killed a lamb in their homes [see Colin J. Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 2011).] but Jesus and his disciples were in Jerusalem.
‘When Did Jesus Eat the “Last Supper”?’, GCI Archive (blog), accessed 22 September 2021, https://archive.gci.org/articles/when-did-jesus-eat-the-last-supper/.
There has been much theological debate as to the nature of the atonement ranging from the penal substitution of Augustine to the Christos Victor view still held by Eastern Orthodoxy. All of these views however are substitutionary in that Jesus achieved something for us that we could not do ourselves.
Although the original Passover required each family to sacrifice a lamb [Exodus 12:1-6] after they entered the Promised Land the lambs were to be taken to the temple and offered by the priests [Deuteronomy 16:1- 8].
"Most early manuscripts have “of the covenant” but one early manuscript and related later witnesses have “of the new covenant.” When “new” is present, the status of the covenant is more explicit. Further, when “new” is present, the phrasing is like that found in parallel passages in Luke 22:20 and 1 Cor 11:25, and may be reflective of harmonization." Rick Brannan and Israel Loken, The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), Mk 14:24.
They remind us of Melchizedek bringing out bread and wine to Abraham [Genesis 14:17-20] just before God makes a covenant with Abraham and his numerous offspring [Genesis 15].
The kingdom, both now and yet to come, is a place where we will drink not a non-material existence. This is the [re]new[ed] creation.