Monday, February 27, 2017

Mark 14:12–25

Mark 14:12–25 (ESV): The Passover with the Disciples, Institution of the Lord’s Supper


The disciples ask Jesus where he wants to have the Passover meal, and he sends them to find a man carrying a jar of water, who will lead them to a particular house, where they’re to ask for Jesus’ “guest room,” where they can have the meal. When they get there, they’ll find a room already prepared and ready to go. They go, and find everything as he’d said they would.

Then, as they’re having the Passover meal, Jesus tells them that one of the twelve disciples eating with him is going to betray him. This makes them sad, and also leads them to ask, one after the other, “Is it me? Is it me?” but Jesus doesn’t give a specific answer as to who it will be, he just says it’s one of the twelve.

And then Jesus performs an act which we take as the institution of the Lord’s Supper:
  • He takes the bread, breaks it, and distributes it to them, before saying, “Take; this is my body.”
  • He takes the wine and distributes it to them, before saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”


The first part of this story is pretty straightforward, although it’s kind of neat how Jesus gives such specific instructions to his disciples about how they’re supposed to find the room for them to have the Passover meal. Even his revelation that one of the twelve is going to betray him, and their sorrow, is straightforward.

That being said, it is interesting that each of the disciples asks Jesus, “Is it me who’s going to betray you?” To me, this is one of the best examples of the disciples understanding their human nature: “I don’t think I’d ever betray Jesus — but can I be sure?” This is especially striking in light of the next passage we’ll be looking at, in which Peter tells Jesus that he could never deny Jesus; this instance, in which the disciples are honest enough to really question if they could ever betray Jesus, is a highlight, whereas Peter’s actions in the next passage will be a lowlight. (And of course it’s no accident that Mark would put these two stories back to back like this.)

In the last part of the passage, Jesus holds with the disciples what we’d call the first Lord’s Supper (which goes by various other names as well). He doesn’t actually tell them to turn this into a tradition, or an ordinance, but it definitely is one. There are lots of disagreements and differences as to how this should be executed from church to church, but I’m not interested in getting into any of those, nor do I think they’re that important. Jesus definitely didn’t give any details about how this is to be executed.

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