September 26, 2011
“Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it.
this is My body … He took the cup … this is My blood.”
Mark 14:22, 23:
Each of the Gospel writers gives us details which are not mentioned by others. This is not a defect in their recording of events, but shows how the Spirit of God uses individual men to selectively paint the picture of the upper room that night.
How simply Mark states what occurred: “Jesus took bread.” He broke it and gave it to them to partake of together, the symbol of His body. Of the cup, Mark adds, “when He had given thanks,” He gave it to them to drink. Think of the Lord Jesus giving thanks for the cup. He is thanking God, not for the literal cup and wine, but for what it represents. He was actually thanking God for the opportunity to shed His blood to establish a new covenant for many. He went to the cross, not with a sense of obligation; He did not move to Calvary with even a sense of duty and fatalism. It was not a moment’s reckless action in which He, eyes closed and teeth clenched, went to the cross. He went intelligently, willingly, even thankfully.
Mark does not mention His words, “In remembrance of Me.” That would have been out of place in the Servant Gospel. Luke will tell us that detail. Mark paints the scene in the simplest of terms. With an economy of words and an absence of emotion, He tells us what occurred that fateful night.
While the main purpose of the events in the upper room was to institute an ordinance to be kept throughout this dispensation, it was also given to prepare the disciples for what would soon follow. His death on the cross was not a random act of man’s cruelty; it was not a meaningless death nor even a martyr’s death. He was giving His body and shedding His blood. It had a purpose linked with the great purposes of God – to bring in a New Covenant. The lesson would be lost on the disciples – temporarily. But after the resurrection, it became clear.
1. When you partake of the bread and cup on Lord’s Day, what do they mean to you? What does it mean that it is our “communion” in the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16)?
2. We remember the Lord with symbols each Lord’s day. Ezekiel tells us of a coming Millennial day when Israel will re-institute sacrifices as a reminder of what Christ has done. But do you think there will also be an “educative” aspect to them? Just as the disciples should have learned what Christ was doing by the emblems, perhaps Israel will gain insights into what their Messiah passed through as they observe burnt offerings and sin offerings offered in their Temple.
3. Can you think of why divine wisdom chose the Passover and not the Day of Atonement as the background for the Lord’s Supper? Was one always looking forward to fulfillment and one looking back to an accomplished redemption?