Mark 14:12-26 THE LAST SUPPER
THE LAST SUPPER
Intro: In our prison system, a condemned prisoner is usually allowed to choose what they will have for their last meal. Some of their choices are interesting.
· Gary Gilmore – The first man executed after the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, chose hamburgers, eggs, potatoes and bourbon, which was smuggled into his cell.
· Ted Bundy – A serial killer executed in Florida in 1989, had a burrito and mexican rice.
· Timothy McVeigh – Executed in 2001 for his part in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK had two pints of Mint Chocolate Chip ice Cream.
· John Wayne Gacy – A serial killer who murdered at least 33 young men and buried them under his house, had Kentucky Fried Chicken, fried shrimp, french fries, strawberries and Diet Coke.
· Walter LaGrand – Executed in Arizona in 1999, asked for six fried eggs, 16 strips of bacon, one large serving of hash browns, a pint of pineapple sherbet, a breakfast steak, a cup of ice, 7-Up, Dr Pepper, Coke, hot sauce, coffee, two sugar packs, and four Rolaids.
In our text today, the Lord Jesus Christ gathers with His disciples to partake in His last meal. He does not have the privilege of requesting what He will eat for His last supper, but the meal He eats may just be the most important meal ever eaten.
The meal Jesus Christ eats on the eve of His death is a meal that was designed by God the Father to exalt God the Son. It is a meal that preaches the Gospel. It is a meal that displays the grace of God. It is a meal that signifies the creation of a new spiritual covenant between God and repentant sinners.
I want to join Jesus and His men at The Last Supper. I want you to see The Preparations For The Supper; The Problem At The Supperand The Picture In The Supper. These details help us to understand why The Last Supper was significant then and what it means for our lives today. The Lord has a word here for you, if you will hear it.
I. v. 12-16 THE PREPARATIONS
FOR THE SUPPER
A. v. 12 The Purpose For The Preparations – Our text says the disciples came to Jesus wanting to know where He wanted to observe the Passover meal. The Passover was the main feast of the Jewish religious year. It was to be held on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar, ; . The first month of their calendar roughly corresponds with April on our modern calendar.
The Passover was a feast designed to commemorate the night God “passed over” Israel when the death angel destroyed the first born of Egypt during the last of ten plagues God sent to judge Egypt. The Passover was also called “The Feast Of Unleavened Bread”, because no yeast or leavened bread was to be used or even kept in the house during the days of the feast.
The regulations for the Passover are found in . According to verses 1-11 of that passage, every family in Israel was to take the following steps.
· They were to choose a lamb, which was to be killed on the evening of the Passover, .
· They were to take the blood of the lamb and put some on the door posts of their homes, .
· They were to roast the lamb over a fire and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, .
· They were to eat this meal dressed for a journey, with their shoes on, their walking sticks in their hands and they were to eat it in as though they were in a hurry, .
The order of the meal is as follows:
· They drank a cup of red wine mixed with water, .
· There was a ceremonial washing of hands which symbolized the need for spiritual and moral cleansing.
· They ate the bitter herbs, which symbolized their bondage in Egypt.
· They drank a second cup of wine, at which time the head of the household explained the meaning of Passover.
· They would then sing the first two of the Hallel Psalms, .
· Next, the lamb was brought out, and the head of the household distributed pieces of it with the unleavened bread. The unleavened bread symbolized haste. There was no time to allow the dough to rise before the journey would begin.
· They drank a third cup of wine.
· Then, they would conclude the meal by singing the rest of the Hallel Psalms, .
This was the meal the disciples were asking about. Orthodox Jews still observe the Passover the same way it has been observed for thousands of years. Sadly, they are oblivious to its symbolic meaning.
It will be worth our time to stop here and talk about the Passover meal, because it is a wonderful picture of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· The feast involved a lamb, . Notice that called for Israel to choose “a lamb”. This could have been any lamb at all. Then, it is called “the lamb” in verse 4. This refers to the particular lamb that was chosen for the meal. Then, it is called “your lamb” in verse 5. This makes the meal very personal. They were to select the lamb on the “tenth day of the month”, , and they were to keep the lamb until the “fourteenth day” of the month, . There would be an attachment that would develop between the family and the little lamb. This was intentional, God wanted them to see the high cost of sin. He wanted them to understand that salvation is an intensely personal business.
Jesus Christ is not just “a Savior”, one among many, He is “the Savior”. His saving work is not accomplished in your life until you can say that Jesus is “your Savior.” Is Jesus your Savior? Have you abandoned every other hope of salvation to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?
· The lamb was to be without “blemish”, . This is a picture of perfection and purity.
This lamb speaks of the Lord Jesus because He is also without blemish. He is the sinless Savior, ; .
· The lamb was to be slain and its blood applied to the door posts of the house, ; . The family was to gather inside the house and eat the meal. When the death angel passed through the land to kill all the first born children, those who were in homes with blood on the doors would be safe.
Again, this is a picture of Jesus Christ. The only shelter anyone has against the wrath of Almighty God is the blood of Christ! If you ever hope to be saved, you must some to Jesus Christ by faith and when you do, His blood washes every sin away, ; . His blood is the only shield against the wrath and judgment of God, .
· The lamb was to be roasted with fire, . Fire is a picture of judgment and it reminded Israel that the judgment of God was being poured out on sinful Egypt and the only thing that prevented Israel from being judged along with Egypt was the blood of the lamb who had died to save them. The lamb had been judged in their place.
This also pictures the Lord Jesus, Who was judged in the place of His redeemed ones, ; ; .
· The lamb had to be eaten, . It did no good to simply select a lamb. It did no good to just kill the lamb. The lamb had to be appropriated by the individual.
The same is true with Jesus. His death on the cross is meaningless for you until you receive Him by faith. His death cannot save you until you turn to Him and receive Him into your heart and life. Listen to what the Word of God says: ; ; ; . Have you received Jesus as your Savior?
· There is much more that could be said about the Passover and the lamb. These few thoughts simply remind us that salvation is not an option; it is a necessity! If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you will face God in judgment some day. If you are saved by His grace, you will never face the awful wrath of God. His blood has forever turned away the wrath of God from those who believe, Ill. !
Some people don’t like to talk about the blood. They make fun of us Baptists with our “bloody, slaughterhouse religion”. I would just remind you that there is no salvation apart from the shed blood of the Lamb, . You may not like the blood, but it is the blood of Jesus that washes all sin away, ; . The blood of Jesus is the only thing that can reconcile a lost sinner to a holy God, . I think I’ll just stick with the blood! I think I’ll just keep preaching the blood! I think I’ll just keeping rejoicing in the blood!
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Oh precious is the flow,
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
B. v. 13-16 The Plan For The Preparations – In response to their question, Jesus sent “two of His disciples” to make the arrangements for the Passover. From , we know that these two disciples were “Peter and John”. According to Jewish law, only two men were allowed to accompany a lamb for sacrifice.
Jesus tells them to enter the city and look for a man carrying “a pitcher of water”. They were to follow this man and he would lead them to a house where they would find everything ready for the meal.
On the surface, these instructions seem a little vague. But, as always, Jesus had His reasons for why He did what He did.
For one thing, these instructions showcased our Lord’s omniscience. He knew there would be a man carrying a pitcher of water. This was important because men in that society did not carry water pitchers; that was women’s work! Men carried water skins, but not pitcher. Jesus, however, knew that a certain servant would be carrying water from a certain well to a certain house. He also knew that the disciples would find the perfect room when they arrived at that house.
I praise the Lord that we serve a Savior Who knows all things! The Bible says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good,” . And, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do,” .
While there are some things about me that I wish the Lord did not know, I am glad that He knows my needs, my burdens and all the situations I face in life. Because He knows, He is ready and able to help, ; .
Since Jesus knows everything, He could have told them the color of the house, and He could have given them an exact street address. He hid some of the details because He knew what Judas was planning to do, v. 10-11. He did not want the Passover interrupted by the betrayal plans of Judas Iscariot.
If Judas has known the exact location of the meal, he could have given that location to the Jews. It is possible that they would have tried to take the Lord Jesus then. Jesus wanted this meal to be a special time for His men. He wanted to use the Passover to teach them some valuable truths that still speak to us today. So, Jesus veiled His instructions to the location where the meal would be eaten.
So, Peter and John went into the city and found the house. They would have then gone to the Temple, purchased an approved lamb from the vendors there and had it sacrificed according to the law.
I. The Preparations For The Supper
II. v. 17-21 THE PROBLEM AT
(ILL. Jesus and His men arrive to celebrate the Passover. Sometime between verses 17 and 18, the events of take place. In those verses, Jesus assumes the place of a slave and washes the feet of His disciples. He teaches them a lesson in humility. He is teaching them that true leaders are in the business of serving others.)
A. v. 18 An Announcement – After Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, He drops a bombshell on the group. He announces that one of their number is going to betray Him into the hands of the Jews. We know the identity of the traitor, his name is Judas Iscariot.
B. v. 19 The Astonishment – When the disciples hear that one of their group is a traitor, they are filled with astonishment. They begin to look at Jesus and say. “Is it I?” Even Judas, who knows exactly what he was about to do, looked at Jesus and said, “Master, is it I?” ()
C. v. 20-21 An Appeal – Jesus uses this opportunity to try and reach Judas one final time. In , we are told that Jesus identified the traitor to John by giving Judas “the sop”, . As we studied last week, the “sop” was a piece of bread which was dipped into a fruit mixture that was much like jam. To be handed the “sop” by one’s host at a meal was the ultimate form of respect and love.
Get the picture in your mind. A lot of what we believe about the last supper has been taught to us through the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. That painting shows Jesus and the twelve disciples seated behind a long table. This was not how they observed the Passover. That picture is dead wrong and has caused much confusion about the Last Supper.
In Jesus’ time, the Jews had adopted the Roman style of eating. They reclined on pillows around a low table. Typically, they would lay down with their heads near the table, resting on their left elbow. The left hand would cradle the head and the right hand would be used to eat.
This explains how John would be able to lay his head on the Lord’s chest as they ate, . Given this arrangement, Jesus would have been flanked by John in front of Him and Judas behind Him. this would have made it easy for Jesus to hand Judas the “sop”, since they would have shared the same bowl.
It is interesting to notice that while John could have leaned back and rested his head on the Master, Jesus could have leaned back and rested His head on Judas! Judas was as close to Jesus as John was, but Judas was lost!
Jesus issues a call to Judas to turn from his wicked plan. Judas is given a chance to repent. All he has to do is renounce his sin and embrace Jesus and all would be forgiven. Jesus would have still gone to the cross, but Judas could have been saved! Judas refused and let to carry out his plan, . When he did, he condemned his soul to Hell.
Notice the Lord’s words in verse 21, “but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.” Judas would have been better off to have never have lived, than to have lived and died lost! The same is true of every person who ever draws breath in this world.
To live without Jesus is a terrible thing, but to die without Him is a tragedy greater than the mind can comprehend. On the other side of the door of death Hell is waiting for the lost soul! To die without Jesus means the eternal loss of the soul in the fires of Hell! That is tragedy enough, , but Hell is a horrible place of suffering and torment. Even a brief glimpse into the horror of that place proves this to be true.
· Hell Is A Place Of Punishment –
· Hell Is A Place Of Fire – ;
· Hell Is A Place Of Thirst –
· Hell Is A Place Of Pain – ,,;
· Hell Is A Place Of Wrath –
· Hell Is A Place Of Frustration And Anger – ;
· Hell Is A Place Of Eternal Separation From God and all that is good – ;
· Hell is a place you do not want to go!
Jesus reached out to Judas to stop him from going to Hell. He is reaching out to you today. He has done everything He needs to do to prevent you from going to Hell. He died on the cross to pay for sin. He rose from the dead to grant us eternal life. He gave us His Word to tell us about the Gospel. He sent His Spirit to convict us of our sins and to draw us to Him, .
The only thing that keeps you from being saved is you! You must bow before Him! You must repent of your sins! You must call on Jesus, by faith, for salvation. You must come to Him!
What keeps you away? Why would you choose Hell over Heaven? Why would you go on in your sins, knowing the consequences of such a decision? Why would you choose death over life? Is your sin worth that much to you? Is your pride worth that much to you? Are you so proud that you can’t bow on your knees and confess that Jesus is Lord? Oh, but you will bow! According to the Word of God, you will, . If you wait until He makes you do it, you will die lost, . If you will bow while He is drawing you, you can be saved.
So, what will it be, Heaven or Hell? Where will do spend eternity? It all depends on what you do with Jesus!
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS?
Jesus is standing at
your heart's door,
Standing and waiting,
He's knocked before.
This is the question
you face once more,
What will you do with Jesus?
At you sad heart,
He is knocking still,
Longing to enter, your soul to fill.
You must accept or reject His will,
What will you do with Jesus?
Oh, will you leave
Him alone outside,
Or, will you chose Him,
This is the question you must decide,
What will you do with Jesus?
What will you do with Jesus?
What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be!
One day your heart will be asking,
What will Jesus do with me?
I. The Preparations For The Supper
II. The Problem At The Supper
III. v. 22-26 THE PICTURE IN
(ILL: Jesus uses the occasion of the Passover to institute a new covenant. The old covenant, that had been in force since the Law was given to Moses, revolved around keeping rituals and symbolic sacrifices. These rituals and sacrifices looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, Who would be God’s perfect sacrifice. The new covenant would look back to the finished work of the Messiah. Instead of keeping religious rituals and performing symbolic sacrifices, we rest by faith on what Jesus did when He died for our sins on the cross, was buried and rose again the third day.
In this passage, Jesus teaches His men, and the rest of us, what the new covenant is all about. He wants us to learn the truth that salvation does not come through religious rituals and keeping the Law; salvation comes by receiving what Jesus did for us by faith, .
Let’s join Jesus as he uses the Passover to teach us about His salvation. Let’s learn from Him as He institutes the Lord’s Supper.
A. v. 22-24 An Example – There are times when words just aren’t enough. In the Old Testament, some of the prophets used dramatic action to illustrate visually what they were trying to get across to their audiences. Let me mention a few.
· Ezekiel drew a picture of Jerusalem on a clay tablet and built a small enemy camp and siege works to illustrate the truth that Jerusalem would be attacked, .
· Ezekiel shaved off his beard and the hair of his head. By the way, this was an outrageous act! No Hebrew man shaved his head or cut his beard. It was considered offensive to people in that society. He took his hair and divided it into three piles. One pile he burned, another pile he struck with a sword, and the third pile he scattered to the wind. This was a picture of the judgment that was about to fall on Israel, .
· Jeremiah constructed a yoke and wore it around to illustrate the coming Babylonian captivity, .
· The prophet Abijah tore his cloths into twelve pieces and gave ten to Jeroboam to illustrate the fact that God was about to take ten tribe’s from Israel and form the Northern Kingdom, .
· Here, at this Passover Feast, Jesus combines words and symbols to communicate His truth to His disciples. The pictures Jesus painted that day are powerful and they continue to speak to us today. Let’s look at these symbols together.
· As the meal progressed, the head of the family, in this case Jesus, would explain what each portion of the feat represented.
Ø The bitter herbs reminded them of their bondage as slaves in Egypt.
Ø The wine represented God’s fellowship with the believer in the midst of trial.
Ø Stewed fruit, which was the color and consistency of clay, reminded them of the bricks they had been forced to make.
Ø The unleavened bread represented separation from evil and haste.
Ø The roasted lamb represented redemption. As each part of the meal was eaten, the host took the time to explain the symbolism and the spiritual importance.
1. v. 22 The Bread, Which Represents His Body – When it came time to serve the bread, Jesus broke it and passed it around to the men at the table. As He did, He would have said, “Praised be Thou, O Lord, Sovereign of the world, Who causes bread to come forth from the earth.” This was the traditional Jewish statement as the bread was taken.
On this day, Jesus added a new meaning to the bread when He said, “Take, eat: this is My body.” Jesus equated the unleavened bread with His human body.
Thirty-three years earlier, in a town called Bethlehem, or The House Of Bread, the Bread of Life took on a human body. Everything Jesus did, He did in that body. He lived there. He preached there. He worked His miracles there. Eventually, He would die in that body. He would be buried in that body. He would rise again in that body. He would ascend to Heaven in that body. He will come again in that body. And, when we see Him in Heaven, we will see Him in that body!
In his , Jesus sais, “This my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Paul quoted it this way in , “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
Jesus used the bread that night to teach His disciples what He was about to do. He was on His way to the cross to lay down His life for sin. He was on His way to Calvary where His body would be “broken” for you, .
Jesus wanted His men, and the rest of us to know, that His broken body was more important that a piece of unleavened bread. He wanted us to understand that the only way to have salvation was to become a part of Him by receiving what He did on the cross by faith.
That is why He said, “Take, eat...” We must receive what He did for us, and we must internalize what He did for us on the cross. The Jews could not understand the symbolism, , and they died lost. But, those who can believe in what Jesus accomplished when His body was broken on the cross can and will be saved. When they are, they become a part of His body, , and are partakers of His life!
This great truth is what we commemorate every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper. It is a truth worth remembering!
2. v. 23-24 The Wine, Which Represents His Blood – When the time came to drink the third cup of wine, Jesus passed it around to His men at the table. As He did, He would have said, “May the all-merciful One make us worthy of the days of the Messiah and of the life of the world to come. He brings salvation of His King. He shows covenant faithfulness to His anointed, to David and his seed forever. He makes peace in His heavenly places. May He secure peace for us and for all Israel. And you say, ‘Amen!’”
On that day, Jesus added a new meaning to the drinking of the wine. He said, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” Jesus equated the wine in the cup to His Own blood which was about to be shed on the cross.
The wine in the cup was produced through violence. Grapes were picked and crushed under foot to extract their juice.
Jesus was about to be crushed by the full weight of religious Israel and mighty Rome. They would combine forces to see Him dead. More importantly, Jesus was about to be crushed by His Own Father.
When Jesus was on the cross, He literally became sin, . As such, He was judged by God Almighty. The full force of the awesome wrath of God was poured out onto the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is not mere theory, this is the clear statement of the Word of God, , . This truth is made clear in numerous places in the New Testament.
Ø , “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Ø , “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Ø , “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
Ø , “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Ø , “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
Ø , “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
When Jesus was crushed on the cross, His precious blood was shed. When the blood was shed, God was satisfied. , “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Now, all who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, have their sins washed away by the blood of Christ. They are instantly brought into a new relationship with Almighty God. He takes the righteousness of Christ and applies it to the account of the repenting sinner. He saves the soul because of the shed blood of Jesus.
That is what we commemorate every time we take the cup in Communion. That cup reminds us that Jesus took our place on the cross. It reminds us that we have been made right with God through His blood. It reminds us that our sins have been washed away and we are clean in the eyes of the Lord. It reminds us of His sacrifice for us and it fills the redeemed heart with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
The third cup of wine in the Passover feast was called “the cup of blessing.” Paul picked up on this theme in , when he said, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?”
The next time we take communion, and the bread and the cup come your way, if you are saved and in fellowship with the Lord, take the bread and the cup with joy. Remember what the Lord Jesus did for you when He came into this world to die for your sins on the cross. Let the Lord’s supper be a time of profound worship as you meditate on His love for sinners like as us!
B. v. 25 An Expectation – Jesus tells His men that He will not drink “the cup of blessing” until He does so in His future Kingdom. At this moment, Jesus is looking down the corridors of time to a day when He will return to this world and establish His kingdom. He is looking to a time when He will put down all His enemies. He is looking to a time when He will rule the world with righteousness. Perhaps this is part of what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he said, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” .
Jesus went to the cross with the expectation that He would rise again, go back to Heaven and return to the earth in glory and power to rule and reign. That was His expectation, and that is exactly what will happen one day, .
C. v. 26 An Exodus – When they finished the meal, Jesus and His men sang the final Hallel Psalms and left the upper room. They finished the meal and headed out.
The disciples didn’t know what was about to happen. They did not know that before the sun sat the next day, their Master would be arrested, tried several times, condemned to death, beaten, crucified and buried. They did not understand the truth that He was headed to His death. They didn’t know, but Jesus did!
Even though He knew that He was headed for a trap, He went anyway. Even though He knew that Judas would bring soldier to arrest Him, He went anyway. Even though He knew that Israel would reject Him, He went anyway. Even though He knew that the people would reject Him, He went anyway. Even though He knew that Rome would condemn Him, He went anyway. Even though He knew that the soldier would beat Him, He went anyway. Even though He knew that He would be nailed to a cross in shame, He went anyway. Even though He knew about the pain He would suffer, He went anyway.
Why would a man do that? He did it because it was that Father’s plan. He did it because it was the only hope we had. He did because He loved you! He did it because He loved me! He did it because He cares! I, for one, am thankful that He did it!
Conc: I hope you will never look at the Lord’s Supper the same way again. I hope you will be thankful, grateful and filled with love for the Redeemer Who paid such a high price for your redemption. It might just be that you would like to praise Him today. It might just be that you would like to get around these altars and worship Him for all he has done for you!
It might just be that someone here has never been saved. Today, the Lord has spoken to your heart. He has shown you that you are a sinner. He is calling you to come to Him. If that is your condition, please come to Jesus Christ today and trust Him to save your soul.
I thank the Lord for His “unspeakable gift”. Let’s honor Him and give Him the worship, the love and the praise He deserves!