There are some things you need to remember about Jesus. If you forget them, your relationship with Him will become shallow, distant, and cold. If you forget what we are going to look at today, you will remain a spiritual infant and not mature in your faith. The Lord wants you to be strong, confident, and ready as one of His followers.
Even though we will be looking at the moment Jesus repurposes the Passover Meal into what we now call the Lord’s Supper, we will not be observing the Lord’s Supper today. That will occur in a few weeks.
Let’s dive into it and see what God’s Word has to say to us.
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. 25 I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” 26 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:22-26, NLT)
Jesus takes the Passover meal which symbolized what God had done for the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians and upgrades it. It all pointed to Jesus and Jesus redeems the Passover and uses some of the elements to remember some key truths about Him and their relationship with Him as His followers. This has come to be known as Communion, the Lord’s Supper, and the Lord’s Table. Since this is the Lord’s Supper and we are to use it to remember Him then there are six significant things you need to remember from it.
The Lord’s Nourishment
The first deals with the Lord’s nourishment. Your relationship with Jesus is to be your spiritual nourishment. Your relationship with Him and His Word is what your soul and heart should feed on and grow by. Mark says in verse 22, As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.”
Mark begins this section by saying, as they were eating….[i] Between verses 19 and 20, Mark skipped a lot of things. According to the gospel of John, Judas as already left the table to let the religious leaders know where Jesus would be later that night and Mark also skipped over Jesus washing their feet and all the lessons that come from that.
Mark then says, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. There is something significant going on here that we cannot see, but let’s see if we can see it. Remember, this is the Passover Meal and the bread they used was a special kind of bread prepared in a special kind of way. When the loaf was finished it would be a solid loaf of bread that had been striped (like with cuts on it), it was also pierced in the preparation process, and cooked or burned in such a way that it would appear bruised. Jesus holds this piece of bread up in front of His disciples – this bread that has strips on it, been pierced, and has the appearance of being bruised and says, This is my body.
Now listen to Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded [pierced] for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (NKJV). Jesus held up a loaf of bread that perfectly symbolized what was about to happen to Him and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Mark then says that Jesus broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples. The breaking of the bread did not signify the nature of His death, since none of His bones were broken during His execution (John 19:36; cf. Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20). We will return to this statement later.
Then Jesus says, “Take it, for this is my body.” Jesus takes this bread which symbolizes His body and what He is about to go through for the disciples and all those who would follow Him later, including us today, and saying, “My life, my body, my piercing, my stripes, and my wounds are for you. I want you to take it, I want you to receive it and let it nourish your heart, your soul, your mind and receive all the benefits that come from my life.” Just as this bread that was pierced, striped, and bruised nourishes our physical bodies, so the physical sacrifice of Jesus who was pierced, striped, and bruised nourishes our spiritual bodies. Receive Him, take Him, accept Him.
The bread represents all the suffering Jesus would go through on your behalf. Because of His suffering you gain access, by faith, to all that He purchased on the cross. He becomes the nourishment for your soul.
The Lord’s Redemption
Not only does the Lord’s Supper remind us of the Lord’s nourishment, but it also reminds us of the Lord’s redemption. Mark then says in verse 23, And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
Mark says that Jesus took a cup of wine. During the Passover meal there were four special cups of wine that were shared. The host of the meal would lift up each cup of wine, declare its symbolism and explain what it represented. During the Passover, the four cups highlighted represented the four promises made by God n Exodus 6:6-7. These promises dealt with the rescue from Egypt, freedom from slavery, redemption by God’s power, and a renewed relationship with God. These four cups of wine were given four different names. The first cup was called “the cup of sanctification.” The second cup was called “the cup of instruction” (sometimes called the “the cup of plagues”). The third cup was called “the cup of redemption.” The fourth cup was called “the cup of praise.”
The cup of wine that Jesus is giving thanks for is the third cup, the cup of redemption. This is when Jesus established the New Covenant in His blood. Let’s think about this idea of redemption. The word redeem means “to buy out.” The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. God’s Word clearly teaches that we all start out as slaves to sin, but Jesus’ death on the cross bought our freedom from that slavery. We are now free in Christ. We have been redeemed.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (CSB).
Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 1, “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19, CSB).
Mark tells us that Jesus took this cup of redemption and gave thanks to God for it. When Jesus lifted this cup of redemption it originally represented the Israelites being delivered from slavery from the Egyptians, but Jesus has repurposed it to represent His people being delivered from the slavery of sin. He lifted this cup of redemption and gave thanks to God for it. Listen up, whenever you take the Lord’s Supper and you are holding that cup of redemption give thanks to God for it. Let that cup remind you that you once were a slave to sin and you were owned by sin, but because of Christ you are free from sin, forgiven of your sin, pardon of your sin, and your sin has been removed from you as far as the east is from the west.
Mark then tells us that Jesus gave it to them, and they all drank from it. Remember, that cup of wine represents the blood of Jesus and Mark says Jesus gave it to them. That’s exactly what Jesus did. He gave His blood, He gave His life so that you and I could have eternal life. This is what John 3:16 is all about, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (NLT).
The cup of wine represented the Lord’s blood and the redemption of our souls. He bought your freedom from the slavery of sin.
The Lord’s Covenant
The third thing we see is the Lord’s covenant. Mark says in verse 24, And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.
As Jesus held up the cup of wine He said, This is my blood…. Just like the bread, this is a metaphor, an object lesson, and is not to be taken literally. The cup is symbolic of His blood which would be shed on the cross the next day. There is power in that blood.
- Hebrews 9:22, “For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (NLT). Because of the shed blood of Jesus you can now be forgiven.
- Romans 5:9, “we have now been justified by his blood” (CSB). By the blood of Jesus we can stand before God as though we have never sinned. Justified.
- 1 Peter 1:18-19, “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (NLT). The precious blood of Jesus rescues us from an empty life.
- Revelation 12:11, “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die” (NLT). As a follower of Jesus you are victorious over the devil because of the blood of Jesus. There is power in that blood!
As Jesus was holding up the cup He says, This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. A covenant has profound implications. In the Bible, a covenant is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known. It was never entered into lightly. A covenant is a deep promise between people to perform certain actions. Another word for covenant is testament. In older copies of the Bible, it doesn’t say Old Testament, it says Old Covenant. Instead of New Testament, it says New Covenant. The Bible is really divided into two covenants. The Old Covenant and the New Covenant.[ii] However, the Old Covenant points to the New Covenant.
In the Old Testament, here is how people would make a covenant. They would sacrifice an animal, cut the animal in half and place one part on the left and the other on the right so the halves are opposite one another. The two people would then walk between the two halves. This was called the walk of death. This indicated their commitment to die before they were to break their covenant with one another. This was a blood covenant. This covenant was made before God and also indicated their desire for God to take their life if they broke this covenant. In essence, a covenant was a pledge to death. In covenant the shedding of blood demonstrated the intensity of the commitment. By entering this covenant, the people were bound for life.
In a covenant there was an agreement between the two people. Each one was responsible for something. In the Old Testament covenants with God, God promised to do certain things if the people obeyed Him and He also promised to do certain things if the people disobeyed Him. The people’s part of the covenant was a promise to obey Him and worship Him.
In the New Testament with the new covenant between God and His people the level of commitment that God is willing to invest in keeping His promises is seen in the shedding of the blood of His only Son, Jesus Christ. In this new covenant, God has promised to forgive the sins of those who enter into this covenant with Him by faith and give them all the benefits of beings one of His adopted children.
When you observe the Lord’s Supper you are remembering the covenant you have with God. God promises to keep His part and you are promising to keep your part. You are reminded of this covenant relationship between the two of you.
Jesus then says that His blood is poured out as a sacrifice for many. I thank God Jesus did this for the many. You and I are a part of this group. Back in Mark 10, Jesus said He came “to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, NLT). When Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus’ suffering he said, “He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels” (Isaiah 53:12, NLT). The Lord’s sacrifice was for the rebels, lawless, sinners, and transgressors like you and me.
The Lord’s Supper is about remembering the covenant God has made with you and confirmed by the blood of Jesus.
What have we been reminded of today?
- First, the spiritual nourishment for your soul should come from your relationship with Jesus. The Lord’s Supper is to remind you that your source of spiritual growth, strength and stability is Jesus.
- Second, The Lord’s Supper is to remind you that you have been redeemed. Jesus paid the price of your redemption from the slavery of sin. You are free.
- Third, The Lord’s Supper is to remind you that you are in a covenant with God. He lovingly promises to do certain things for you and you lovingly promise to obey His Word.
[i] “Eating” is in the present tense, so the meal was still in progress. While the Lord and His disciples were still partaking of the Passover feast, he instituted what we know as the Lord’s Supper.
[ii] The Old Testament is more than a history of Israel. It is really a history of the covenant in which God revealed, little by little, His character and His plans and purposes for mankind. Most Bible scholars recognize several major covenants in the Old Testament in which God promises to do something.