In the last Passover supper that Jesus took part in with His disciples, the Bible says in Mark 14:22-24, “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many.” In this part of the Passover meal Jesus used bread and wine to teach a spiritual lesson.
Jesus had done many similar things throughout the three years of His public teaching life. Very often He would point out common things in the physical world around them, and then use those common things to teach a spiritual lesson. This ranged all the way from the taking of a drink of water and the opening of a door, to birds feeding in a field or fishermen catching fish in a net. The last supper was a great meal, but Jesus took two of the common things of that meal and taught an important spiritual lesson from them. He took the bread and the wine and gave them to the disciples.
But before He gave them to the disciples, Jesus did a couple of things. Concerning the bread, Jesus blessed and broke it. Concerning the cup, Jesus gave thanks. We can also give thanks to God before we eat or drink. If Jesus Christ gave thanks before putting any physical sustenance into His body, should not we do the same thing? God is the giver of life and the sustainer of it by the things that He gives us to sustain that life. One of the purposes of life is to show the proper gratitude for the good things that God brings into our lives.
Jesus gave thanks. He also brake the bread. The bread was symbolic of the body of Christ. His body was broken for us. If we are trusting in Him, that’s why we can be confident that the blessings of God will fall on us instead of the curse. He suffered for us so that we would not suffer. Jesus broke the bread, and Jesus gave His own body to be broken. No one took His life. He laid it down Himself freely. Jesus sacrificed His body and He gave is blood. The cup symbolized the blood that Jesus shed when He paid the price for our sins. That’s what was going at the Last Supper. Jesus took a normal recurring event in the lives of the disciples: the yearly Passover meal, and He taught a spiritual lesson from normal ordinary events. Jesus taught us the lesson at this Passover meal. Now the bread and the cup can be used to remember the lesson that Jesus taught and to remember what Jesus did for us.
Jesus said in Mark 14:24, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” Where did the words “new testament” come from? They came from Jesus. A testament is a contract, an agreement between two parties. The New Testament is a new agreement, a new way of God to deal with mankind: a way that had not been revealed until Jesus came along and showed it. The Old Testament sometimes emphasized the law: the covenant of the law. That Old Testament was an agreement between God and man that worked something along these lines: If man obeys and does x, y, and z; then God will bless. But if man disobeys and fails, then God will curse. That’s how law works. If you break the law, then you are punished. Law is very unforgiving. The old testament of the law offers no hope to sinners.
The New Testament is much different from the Old Testament. The New Testament works like this: God knows that you have failed and have broken the law. But God loves you and does not want you to have to bear the punishment for your failures. Therefore, Jesus came and shed His blood. He took your stripes upon Himself. If you will trust in Jesus, then God will give you all the blessings freely even though you do not deserve them. That’s the new agreement between God and man, and the new agreement has a direct connection to the blood of Christ. I will take the New Testament over the old testament any day, and the new covenant over the old covenant.
Jesus said in
Mark 14:25, “Verily I say
unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I
drink it new in the
The Bible says
in Mark 14:26-28, “And when
they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of
Olives. And Jesus said unto them, All you shall be
offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the
shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen I will go
before you into
After they sang Jesus warned them again about what was going to happen to Him. But as He often did, after He mentioned His death, He also mentioned His resurrection. The worst thing that can happen to any human being is death, and that’s the last thing that happens to every human on this earth. But for those who believe in Jesus, after death is life with God forever. One of the good things about Christianity is the fact that something good always follows something bad. The people of the world can lose everything forever, even their own soul. The believers in Jesus can lose a few things, but in the end they always gain more than they lose, and when they lose their lives, they gain eternal life in Christ. Romans says, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Peter’s reaction to what Jesus said is given in Mark 14:29-31. It says, “But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended yet will not I. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.” The mistake that Peter made was not just that he boasted, but also that he placed too much confidence and emphasis in his own capability to do the right thing. Peter just did not understand the potential for wrong-doing within his own human nature.
Human nature is inherently sinful, including your nature and mine. Human beings tend to fail, and especially so the greater is the crisis and the greater is the temptation. Whenever any human being boasts of their own determination to do the right thing, they are setting themselves up for failure. Without Christ we can do nothing. Within our own flesh dwells no good thing. Sin lieth at the door. Pride goeth before a fall. Peter forgot these things, and therefore he failed greatly. Peter boasted of how great his performance would be. But Jesus knew that because Peter was relying upon himself that Peter was going to fail. Sometimes a person with a lot of confidence is in a lot worse place spiritually than someone without such confidence, because the person without confidence will more easily realize his need to rely on the Lord. Peter’s failure taught Peter and everyone else that our walk with the Lord and our service to Him is dependent upon His grace towards us and not upon our own strength. We all fail easily and often, and we depend upon the grace and the mercy of the Lord in order to keep walking with the Lord in spite of our failures. That’s what First John 1:9 is talking about when it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The Bible says
in Mark 14:32-34, “And they
came to a place which was named
The things that Jesus prayed are given in Mark 14:35-36. It says, “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Jesus knew the great sufferings that were now just a few hours away. He was going to suffer what no one else could ever suffer. He was going to suffer for the sins of the whole world. All of the murders, all of the lies, all of the adulteries, and all of the hatred were going to fall on His back and on His soul. From a human standpoint He prayed what any human would pray. He “prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.”
But Jesus was more than human. He was also the Son of God, and He prayed what each of us should also pray in the face of our difficulties and sorrows. He prayed, “nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” He taught us how to live in this world, and then He lived it Himself. Back in the Sermon on the Mount He taught us to always include in our prayers the concept, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And then when He was faced with a difficult choice and a difficult, He surrendered to the will of the Father. And the choice that He faced was more difficult than any of us can fully conceive of.
This life of faith that we live on this earth has certain common characteristics about it that are the same for all peoples no matter what country they live in and no matter what century they live in. We believe in God, and we know that He loves us, and we know that He can do anything; so why do bad things happen to us sometimes? It’s a struggle that every person of faith must go through from time to time. Job went through and learned the lesson well and then he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him.”
Jesus faced the greatest of all sufferings and said, “Father, all things are possible unto thee.” God can do anything, and therefore, God can keep any sorrow from coming into our lives. Why doesn’t He do it? He does do it must of the time. If God did not protect us, and provide for us, and restrain the evil from coming against us; then much worse would happen to each of us every day. His mercies are new every morning. But once in a while a sorrow is permitted to come into our lives. Why? One reason is because it’s the will of God to use that sorrow to make something good come out of it. That’s what happened in the sufferings of Job. His final end was better than his first. That’s what happened with the crucifixion of Christ. The salvation of the world was purchased through His crucifixion.
It did not appear that way at first. The shepherd was smitten an the sheep were scattered. Jesus was dead, and the disciples ran away an went back to fishing. It appeared as though the evil religious leaders had one the day. But we all know what happened three days after He was put to death. “Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty victory o’er His foes.” And millions of believers will benefit eternally because of it. Once the full scope of the suffering was known and the final good consequences of it, then we can see that the will of God was good. God knew what He was doing all along in the sufferings that He allowed. That’s why if we are going to enter into the good things of God’s will, we must be able to say even in the times of sorrow just like Jesus said to the Father, “nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
Perhaps some great sorrow has happened to you. I cannot tell you why God permitted it to happen; but one day you will know. Somehow it fit into the great purpose of God for this world and for you. That’s one of the great things of being a follower of Christ. We know that there is a purpose to all things. Romans says, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.”
If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, you could give your heart to Him today, believe in Him, and trust in Him; and then you too will be a part of the great purpose of God for this world.
Copyright; 2003 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved