The Last Passover - Mark 14:12-25
Mark 14:12-25 The Last Passover 2020-05-03 Jesus came as the final Passover lamb, inaugurating a new covenant through his sacrifice Caramel rolls. Huckleberries in oatmeal. Deep fried Twinkies. Each of these foods stir up memories in the Bronson house. Caramel rolls are made once a year in our home, on Christmas morning. Huckleberries in oatmeal are enjoyed around a morning campfire at Elk Cove after we’ve backpacked in the night before. Deep fried Twinkies are what the waitress brings you when you turn 12 and you’re passing through Omaha on a road trip with your dad. Throughout Scripture the people of God are told to remember certain times, seasons, occasions, and events. Oftentimes meals of celebration accompanied these remembrances. Scripture Passage: Mark 14:12-25 Such was certainly the case with Passover, when the people of Israel ate a meal that wasn’t typical, and even ate it in a way that wasn’t typical. These differences were to provoke memories and thoughts about God’s guidance, provision, and deliverance of them. The celebration of Passover had great significance for the Jews. In our passage this morning Jesus celebrates the Passover meal, full of meaning and memory, and assigns it new meaning. Instead of looking back to Egypt, Jesus looks ahead to the cross, and makes this meal a remembrance of the deliverance he would bring through his death. Jesus came as the final Passover lamb, inaugurating a new covenant through his sacrifice. Passover Prepared (vv.12-17) 1. v.12 “And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him…” - According to Exodus 12 this would be on the fourteenth day of the month, when the lambs would be killed at twilight, then eaten that night after sunset (which actually marked the beginning of a new day according to the Jewish calendar). There are different ways of reconciling this timekeeping with John’s gospel account, and I know that there are different chronologies for the events of Jesus’ passion week, but we won’t get into that this morning. The important thing is to see that Passover was pointing to the deliverance of God’s people from bondage; not bondage to Egypt, but ultimately bondage to sin and death. 1. Exodus 6:2-8 are words reminding of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They’re words of promise to Israel, that he would accomplish his purposes and deliver them from slavery in Egypt. They’re words of guarantee, based on God’s person (I am the Lord). 2. Exodus 12 records the first Passover for us. Israel, enslaved in Egypt, was about to be delivered. God was going to strike down the firstborn of every Egyptian household. Seeing the blood of a lamb applied to the doorposts and lintel of the door was God’s signal to pass over that home, and so all Israel was delivered from this plague. 3. Deuteronomy 16:1-8 details the celebration of the Passover. It was to be done in Jerusalem, the place that the Lord chose, and eaten with unleavened bread, signaling the haste and readiness the Israelites ate the first Passover meal in, waiting for their deliverance out of Egypt. 2. v.13 “And he sent two of his disciples…” - Mark records this in a way very similar to the fetching of the colt prior to the Triumphal Entry in Mark 11. In both of these accounts there seems to be more going on than just that Jesus had made prior arrangements, but that he knew what his disciples would encounter, and spoke about events beforehand. 3. v.16 “And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.” - The two disciples (Peter and John according to Luke’s gospel) make the preparations in the upper room in the home in Jerusalem. The place is arranged and ready, the food is prepared. 4. v.17 “And when it was evening, he came with the twelve.” Betrayer Announced (vv.18-21) 1. v.18 “And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said…” - We sit at a table and eat, but it was more customary for them to recline, laying on their sides with their heads toward the center and their feet pointing away. As they were engaging in this meal, Jesus speaks these shocking words to them. 1. Eating betrayer. It was terrible to betray another, but even more so to betray one with whom you shared a meal. Eating together was a show of friendship and commitment (Mark 2:16 “And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’’). 2. v.19 “They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another…” - The disciples are grieved and distressed over news of this betrayal. 1. And each of them has the humility to question themselves. I’ve heard humility defined as having a right assessment of yourself; not thinking more or less than you should. Judas knew he was the one, but none of the others knew. And so they suspected themselves first. I think this is something commendable, that they didn’t start doubting or questioning others first, but they knew their own weaknesses and frailties. 2. But notice this from the other side, that none of them pointed the finger to Judas. Even when he went out, and Jesus said to him that what he was going to do, to do quickly, they thought he was going on an errand, not going to betray (John 13:27-29). Judas was an absolute hypocrite, traveling with Jesus and the disciples, being sent out by Jesus, entrusted with the finances of the group, and nobody ever suspected him. I don’t say this as a commendation of how stealthy he was, but as a warning. He probably thought he was getting away with it. Nobody knew, or so he thought. I don’t know if you ever experienced this as a child, but I remember occasions where my two sisters and I would get lined up for questioning. Something had been broken or something had gone missing, and nobody was admitting to it (it was usually my doing). So we’d get lined up and questioned. I always figured I could get away with it, but eventually those things catch up. And even if I could deceive my sisters and my parents, there is no deceiving God. He sees all and knows all, not only our actions, but our thoughts and intents. Seth mentioned last week that Judas’ slide was likely slow and gradual, and I tend to agree with that. I don’t think he signed on as a disciple with the intention of betraying Jesus. But little by little he drifted and strayed, and little by little he didn’t see the consequences immediately, so little by little he grew in his disobedience. If there is sin that needs to be confessed, don’t delay. Galatians 6:7-10 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” 3. v.21 “For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!” - This is really an incredible verse, and one that builds my confidence in the divine inspiration of Scripture. A human author probably wouldn’t write such a thing, apart from God’s leading. It presents two ideas that the human mind can’t fully reconcile. We have here the sovereignty and providence of God, that the Son of Man goes as it is written of him. But we also have the responsibility of man, the word of “woe” to the one who betrays the Son of Man. 1. Sovereignty - All throughout this passage we’ve seen these breadcrumbs of God’s sovereignty and providence, haven’t we? I think Jesus sending the two disciples to Jerusalem to prepare the Passover and telling them exactly what they’d find hints strongly at more than pre-arrangement, and certainly not chance. Rather, I see foreknowledge and control. Jesus speaking about his betrayal, and knowing who would betray him speaks of God’s providence, that he works all things according to his will. You simply cannot read Scripture and not be convinced that God is sovereign and working out his will. Even in a book like Esther, where God is never mentioned, you see God’s fingerprints all over. Even our current circumstances with coronavirus. 2. Human responsibility - The sovereignty of God and providential working out of his will doesn’t negate the responsibility of man. And even where man carries out evil deeds, but God uses them to accomplish his will, doesn’t mean God is responsible for evil or that man is innocent for what he’s done. Judas couldn’t stand before God’s judgment and expect to be excused because, after all, didn’t he accomplish God’s will by betraying Jesus? Jesus speaks “woe” to Judas for what he would do, a word of condemnation and doom. Judas wasn’t a pre-programmed robot, but a human being making free moral choices. Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” 3. I think that we tend to either dismiss these teachings altogether, or we give disproportionate weight to one and not the other, instead of holding these in their proper tension. We may not be able to make complete sense of how these are reconciled, but God is able. Our wrestling over these Scriptural teachings will impact our Theology, our understanding of God. It will have great bearing over our Christian lives, being evident in our prayer or lack thereof. It will be shown in our conduct, whether we live in a way in accordance with the gospel and glorifying to God, or falsely believe that our thoughts, words, and deeds are inconsequential. Passover (vv.22-25) 1. vv.22-23 “And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them…” Jesus is assigning new meaning to the elements of this meal. He’s using ordinary elements, ones that weren’t specific to the Passover meal, but would be part of daily life for the disciples, bread and wine. For thousands of years the bread eaten at Passover pointed back to Egypt and reminded them of the exodus, but now Jesus is looking forward to his crucifixion, and interpreting the bread in that light. So also the cup. These elements, part of daily life for these disciples, would be a daily reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for them. Never again would they sit down to a meal without thinking about Jesus’ words and deeds. 1. I think that, originally, every meal for the disciples would have served as a reminder of this meal and Christ’s sacrifice. The church then moved to celebrating the Lord’s Supper weekly, on the first day of the week when they gathered (1 Cor. 11) and shared a fellowship meal. 2. v.24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” - Our God is a God of covenant. In Exodus 24:8, after the law was given, an animal was slain and the blood was thrown over the people. All throughout Scripture God binds himself to us in covenantal relationship, and he himself guarantees the conditions are met. This makes it a covenant of grace, because all along he is the one accomplishing it, not by our works. 1. And here we see the greatest act of grace in covenant spoken toward, that Christ himself would shed his own blood for the salvation, redemption, and deliverance of his people. Not an ordinary lamb like that of Passover, with its blood being applied externally to the door of a home, but the blood of Christ, the perfect Lamb, with his blood being taken inwardly by drinking. 2. Jeremiah 31:31–34 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 3. v.25 “Truly, I say to you…” - Here again are indicators of God’s knowledge and control over circumstances. Even though Jesus would die by the hands of sinful men, he could still look forward to a future day, after his resurrection, when we would all share together with him in the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). Conclusion: Jesus came as the final Passover lamb, inaugurating a new covenant through his sacrifice. He prepared his disciples for his death, and put in place this meal of remembrance, that in eating they would be taken back to this great display of God’s love for them, and Christ’s sacrifice for them. Perhaps even today, as you share a meal together as a family, take time to remember Christ’s sacrifice for you, the giving of his body and the shedding of his blood, to redeem and reconcile you to God.