More than a Picture (Mark 14:12–26)

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Doug Van Meter - 14 Jun 2020

More than a Picture (Mark 14:12–26)

The Last Supper was a deeply significant event just prior to the death of Jesus. But sadly, for many, as with the Lord’s Supper, it remains merely a religious picture rather than a powerful sign pointing to the gospel of God. Mark wrote so that we would understand that both suppers are far more than a mere picture. They were given to lead us to gospel joy.

Scripture References: Mark 14:12-26

From Series: "Mark Exposition"

An exposition of the Gospel of Mark by Doug Van Meter.

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In the late 1490s, Leonardo Da Vinci painted what has become the best-known religious painting in the Western world: The Last Supper. He painted it in the dining room of a well-known convent in Milan, Italy. It took him several years to complete it. It is said that, at one point, a leader of the convent complained about the delay. Da Vinci retorted that he was struggling to properly portray the face of Judas and that if the complainant didn’t cease pushing him, his face would become that of Judas!

The Last Supper was a deeply significant event just prior to the death of Jesus. Sadly, for many, as with the Lord’s Supper, it remains merely a religious picture or symbol rather than a powerful sign pointing to the gospel of God. My prayer is that our study of the Last Supper, and the Lord’s Supper as depicted in our passage, will result in both suppers being far more than a mere picture. My prayer is that they will lead us to gospel joy.

The passage easily breaks down into two major sections: The Last Supper (vv. 12–21) and the Lord’s Supper (vv. 22–26). The main point of this passage is, once again, the removal of the old and the establishment of the new. The old feast was removed and the new feast was established (1 Corinthians 5:6–8). The old covenant with Israel was being removed and the new covenant with the true Israel of God was being established. The blood of the sacrificial Passover lambs was being forever removed as it was fulfilled in the blood of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. The old order was giving way to the new order. What is pictured here is expounded and expanded in the book of Hebrews.

It cannot be overemphasised that Mark is telling a story. He wants his readers to understand that Jesus Christ came to proclaim and to establish the kingdom of God. Israel having proved faithless, the kingdom was taken from her and given to those who would faithfully bring forth the expected fruit.

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus made it clear that the old order was giving way to his new order, which would occur in that generation (13:1–31). With the dissolution of Israel as God’s hub, a new people would be established. France helpfully summarises:

So now the time for talking is over, and it is time for the events to unfold which Jesus has insistently predicted since Caesarea Philippi, and which will set in train the scenario so vividly sketched out in chapter 13. The confrontation between the rival authorities is now to reach its tremendous climax in the final scenes of Mark’s drama, as the paradox of the rejected and executed King of the Jews is played out in deadly earnest. And it is symbolically appropriate that it should be played out at Passover, the festival which marked the original establishment of Israel as the covenant people of God rescued from slavery in Egypt. There will be a new Passover, and a new covenant, for the new people of God.

The passage before us sets this in motion as it points to what Paul will later record: “Christ, our Passover Lamb was sacrifices” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

The Last Supper: Jesus, the Covenant Keeper

In vv. 12–21 we read of the Last Supper, which highlights Jesus as the great covenant keeper.

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 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! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

(Mark 14:12–21)

Following on the heels of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus now prepared for a feast, which celebrated God’s past redemption while at the same time pointing to his yet promised redemption. “What bitter irony to recall that this feast, reminiscent of victory and joy, began with an announcement of treachery!” (Edwards).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread became a term that encompassed Passover and the seven-day feast that followed (Exodus 12:1–20). The events in these verses occurred towards the end of 14 Nisan (April/May in Gregorian calendar) and in early hours of 15 Nisan. You may recall how, in Jewish chronology, a day was measured from the evening to the next evening. But it interesting that Galileans counted a day from morning to morning. Because of this, Passover lambs were sacrificed over a two-day period. This was both convenient and providential: Jesus was able to celebrate the last true Passover as well as to fulfil it the next day when lambs were slaughtered again. What an amazing God who orders all things for his glory!

In Preparation

Verses 12–16 record the preparation for the Passover. The disciples had no doubt that, as faithful Jews, they would celebrate Passover. Yet, as is becoming increasingly clear, they had no clue about its true significance. They did not realise that they were about to partake of the most important meal in history: a meal focused on Jesus. Note v. 12: “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” Even though this meal would be shared with the Twelve, it was very much to be Jesus’ meal (France).

This feast, of course, was required by God. Therefore Jesus, God’s true and faithful servant, would keep the law of God right to the end. Praise God for his sinless life (see Romans 8:1–4)!

The disciples asked their Master where they would partake of this feast. According to Deuteronomy 16:1–8, 16ff, Passover had be observed in Jerusalem, but Jerusalem was a big place. Since Jerusalem was the God-appointed epicentre of Passover celebrations, residents of Jerusalem were expected to offer hospitality to out-of-town Jews who had come to the holy city for the festival. The question was, had Jesus made any arrangement? He had—long before the foundation of the world (Hebrews 13:20; Revelation 13:8). This day was too important to leave anything unprepared. As Lane says, “Jesus came to the city fully aware that he was to accomplish the Passover in his own person.” We see here the Master mastering everything.

As with the borrowing of the colt (11:1–7), Jesus told his disciples of a providential sign. When they went into town, they would see a man doing something unusual: carrying a water jar on his head. This was how women transported water. Men typically used a big leather vessel. They were to follow this man to his home and to ask him where the guest room for “the Teacher” was. He would lead them to “a large upper room furnished and ready,” which could probably seat up to thirty people.

How did Jesus know all of this? It might be ascribed to divine omniscience. But it is quite likely that Jesus had arranged this beforehand. In reading the other Gospel accounts, it is clear that this was not Jesus’ first time in Jerusalem.

It would seem that, whoever this man was, he was sympathetic towards Jesus and recognised Jesus as a standout Teacher. In the light of v. 11, and all that had happened and been taught since Caesarea Philippi, Jesus was in very hostile and dangerous territory. This explains the secretive nature of this securing the location for Passover.

Perhaps we can learn from this that obedience to the Lord takes precedence over our security, yet being prudential often walks hand in hand with trusting God who is providential.

The obedient disciples “they prepared the Passover.” This included making sure that the place was free of leaven. It included baking unleavened bread, preparation of bitter herbs, stewed fruit and greens, securing wine for the four different symbolic cups for the feast, and procuring and roasting a lamb. The smell of roast lamb pervaded the atmosphere.

The Passover meal would be eaten in the evening and would need to be completed by midnight (Exodus 12). It was a memorial meal to commemorate the night on which Yahweh delivered Israel from its cruel bondage in Egypt. As Moses, under God, gave instructions, the head of the household was responsible for all that took place.

This exhorts us, fathers, to make sure our children are all under the blood, protected from the wrath of God, safe and sound behind the blood-marked door of the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to Ferguson:

Several cups of wine were drunk during the course of the evening. The first was brought and drunk before the arrival of the traditional Passover food (unleavened bread, bitter herbs, stewed fruit, greens, and roast lamb). When the food was brought in, the youngest person would ask the traditional question: “Why do we eat these foods on this night?”

The head of the household would relate the good news of God’s gracious redemption through a faithful response to a substitutionary sacrifice while also exhorting all to be prepared to follow the Lord who leads us from bondage to a new land: to freedom under the law of God (Exodus 19–24). Ferguson continues:

At this point the household would sing Psalms 113–115. Then the second cup would be passed round. Just before the meal itself was eaten, the plate of unleavened bread was lifted up, with the words: “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let everyone who hungers come and eat; let everyone who is needy come and eat the Passover meal.” The father would give thanks for the bread and break off a piece for each person present. It would then be passed round from one to the other.

The bread was normally eaten in the silence which followed. The meal then began, and when it was completed, the father took the third cup of wine, blessed it, and passed it round. Psalms 116–118 were then sung, and the Passover celebration concluded with the drinking of a fourth cup.

One further observation, to which we will return later: The four cups of wine (which Scripture does not prescribe) were drunk in conjunction with the four “I wills” of Exodus 6:6–7: “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I willredeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

Bittersweet

The scene moves in vv. 17–21 from the sweetness of Jesus reclining and enjoying the meal to the most bitter of revelations: one of his own would betray him. This would be in fulfilment of Psalm 41:9: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” These words, likely written by David of Ahithophel, foreshadowed Judas’s betrayal.

Wessel observes, “To betray a friend after eating a meal with him was, and still is, regarded as the worst kind of treachery in the Middle East.” I suppose this is the case in any culture. One to whom Jesus had shown nothing but love and hospitality was playing the hypocrite. Love returned with hatred. Judas (vv. 10–11) ate of this meal while not discerning the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:29). He would pay an everlasting price.

The original Passover may perhaps have been eaten while standing (Exodus 12:11). Regardless, “reclining” had become the standard posture, as with most meals. The head of the household was seated in the middle of a long couch with those of next stature on his left and right.

While Jesus and the twelve were eating (due to the size of the room, I suspect that others were there as well, perhaps Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Simon the leper), he stunned them with the announcement that one of them will betray him.

The word “betray” occurs ten times from 14:10 through the ugly events of chapter 15. It means to hand over and Jesus had predicted that since 8:31 in Caesarea Philippi. Mark has already informed us that the unnamed betrayer here was Judas (vv. 10–11). As the silver coins jostled in his pocket, Judas partook of the Passover meal, which spoke of God’s faithfulness, grace, power, and promise. I imagine that it was hard for him to swallow. If he had any conscience, no doubt he experienced some kind of spiritual indigestion.

The disciples, filled with deep sorrow, to their credit, did not point their fingers at one another, but rather at themselves. “Is it I?” asked each of them. Perhaps, “Surely, not I?” yet with hesitation mixed with grief. Judas chimed in with the same perversely hypocritical response (Matthew 26:25).

We have often been exposed in Mark’s Gospel to the frequent spiritual obtuseness of the disciples. And though later scenes will reveal that they had a long way to go, here they displayed remarkable humility, honesty, and even a degree of faith. They believed Jesus about the betrayal and seemed to realise their own propensity to such guilt. There is no hint of self-assurance, here. At least, not yet (cf. 31).

We can learn from this, as Jesus stressed and would stress again, that we must watch and pray because, though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak (vv. 37–38). As Paul taught, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Jesus answers their question, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me” (v. 20). The dish was the dish of bitter herbs prescribed for the Passover meal. It is ironic that the most bitter of deeds was marked by this. Perhaps they were all at that time partaking, but from other Gospel accounts, it seems that not all the disciples heard this, or, if they did, they did not understand. I would imagine that some may have thought twice about eating any more lest they be the one.

Sovereignty and Responsibility

Jesus had no plans to resist his betrayal and the horrible treatment and death that will come from it. He faced it all with the scriptural understanding: “For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him.” Over and over we read in the Gospels, including in Mark, “as it is written” or “that it might be fulfilled.” Jesus came to do the decreed and revealed will of God. And what was transpiring was part of God’s sovereign plan.

There is so much to admire and adore about our Saviour, and his commitment to obey his Father despite what he knows will be horrific, is here brought to the fore. As James Edwards captures it,

Jesus is not a tragic hero caught in events beyond his control. There is no hint of desperation, fear, anger, or futility on his part. Jesus does not cower or retreat as plots are hatched against him. He displays, as he has throughout the Gospel, a sovereign freedom and authority to follow a course he has freely chosen in accordance with God’s plan.

Fellow believer, we are called to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). We are to willingly embrace the will of God, including his will to suffer for the sake of his kingdom work (Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12). As these Scriptures inform us, this is our lot in life and we can rest assured that none of our suffering is outside of God’s sovereign plan or control. As Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Perhaps no quote has ever garnered so much fruit as these words of the missionary martyr. This is the attitude of the true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Further, be encouraged that Jesus is master of his own fate and therefore he is trustworthy as master of yours.

We should note Jesus’s self-designation, “Son of Man.” This deliberate reference to a Messianic title is essential to grasp for mankind’s only hope is for Isaiah’s servant of the Lord dying in our place (Isaiah 40–53). Edwards observes, “The idea that the Son of Man must be betrayed and suffer is meaningful only if Jesus, as the Son of Man, identifies himself with the suffering Servant of the Lord.”

Only Jesus can pay the ransom God requires. In God’s sovereign plan, his Son, the anointed one of God, would come and give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45; Isaiah 53). And, as we will soon see, this is precisely what is behind this awful and awe-filled betrayal. God was bringing his eternal plan to fruition.

We can conclude that the betrayal, abuse, and crucifixion of Jesus was not an accident of history. Rather, as tragic as it was, it was all according to God’s plan. At the risk of sounding trite, we must always remember that, after all, all history is his story.

Responsible?

Of course, this creates a tension for many as they ask, and argue, “What about man’s free will? What about personal responsibility?” Though the working out of this tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility remains a mystery, there is no mystery about the truth of both. The Bible teaches both. This passage is one such revelation. “But,” and at the same time, “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!” God will hold Judas responsible for his actions. Cole says, “His false follower is fully culpable for the actual act and cannot escape individual responsibility for what he does.”

Judas was not a robot; he was no puppet. Like you and me, he was a morally free agent who chose to sin. He carried out his evil deed by his own choice. And though, of course, his sin was used by God, nevertheless, as someone has helpfully observed, “The fact that God turns the wrath of man to his praise does not excuse the wrath of man” (Cranfield).

When Jesus uses the word “woe,” we should pause. The word is an exclamation of grief and, of its 47 occurrences in the New Testament, it is found 27 times on the lips of Jesus, and always in a context of judgement. There is little doubt that Judas was present when Jesus made this awful pronouncement of condemnation, “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Had he not been born, he would never have experienced the wrath of God. But the son of perdition (John 17:12) was born, and he forever is condemned—eternally separated from God.

What should strike us is Judas’s hardness of heart. Such a pronouncement from Jesus should have, one would think, brought about remorse and repentance and a cry for mercy. But there is none of that here. As future events will highlight, Judas would grow harder—until it was too late.

Be careful: Nearness to Jesus is no guarantee of discipleship to Jesus. In fact, it can lead to hardness of heart and a searing of the conscience. What a tragedy to see those who have had such opportunity to follow Jesus harden themselves to his grace and then to fall away. Is there any hope for them? Perhaps. But better to respond now than gamble away your soul’s eternal happiness.

The Lord’s Supper: Jesus, the Covenant Maker

In vv. 22–25, we find the institution of the Lord’s Supper, in which Jesus is highlighted as the covenant-maker.

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them,  “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

(Mark 14:22–25)

Mark’s writing style seems to suggest that there was no time gap between vv. 21 and 22, but this is not necessarily the case. His favourite word in his Gospel—“immediately”—creates a sense that things are moving speedily. The other Gospel writers fill in the gaps. When reading John’s account, for example, it seems clear to many, including myself, that Judas had left the room and was on his way to secure the temple guard, which would soon arrest Jesus. Regardless, the focus in this passage is on Jesus Christ, the King, who was covenanting with his people to be their God, and they his people. This is the message we must remember as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We must remember and adore Jesus the covenant-keeper who is therefore able to be the covenant-maker.

The institution of the Lord’s Supper occurred, most likely, when the third cup of wine was poured. This would be aligned with the third “I will” of Exodus 6:6: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement.” How fitting! In a few hours, the Lord would offer up his body and his blood to redeem his people undergoing the great judgement of God’s wrath. “Amazing love, how can it be, that you, my God, should die for me?”

These words have been familiar to Christians for millennia, but the disciples were privy to hearing them for the first time when Jesus “took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’” Witherington notes, “Jesus was giving in advance to his disciples, in symbolic form, the benefits of his death, and asking his disciples to take them into themselves.”

Earlier, the disciples had heard Jesus give a blessing before distributing and eating bread (6:41). But this one was unique. Jesus identified himself with the bread—not substantially, but symbolically. The words “this is my body” have been at the centre of much conflict throughout the long history of the church. Some have argued that the bread literally changes elementally and becomes Jesus Christ while others argue that the bread is merely a symbol. There are shades of differences in between these views. I believe the answer is that, although the bread and wine do not become something else, nevertheless, in a mysterious way, Christ is present with his church when the elements are properly observed. Paul argues for this, it seems to me, in 1 Corinthians 10–11. As Edwards comments, “Jesus not only presides at the feast; he isthe feast.” And as Lane says, “The essential action which accompanied this word was not the breaking of the bread, but its distribution…. Jesus’ first gift to the disciples was the pledge of his abiding presence with them in spite of his betrayal and death.”

The Precious Blood of Jesus

Perhaps the disciples were a bit confused at this point, or perhaps the penny was beginning to drop. Nevertheless, the next declaration, after he gave them the cup, probably struck them as very strange, if not sacrilegious, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” It was clearly a revelation of a new beginning, as someone has argued, “instituting a new covenantal relationship between God and God’s people. This assumes that the old one was no longer in force or enforceable, or at the very least needed replacing.”

The Old Testament law made much of blood and it had specific laws against drinking it. Jesus was departing from the religious norm here, and though, of course, he was not speaking of the literal consuming of his blood, he was teaching the disciples two things: first, that his blood is powerful to establish a whole new people; and, second, to secure his saving benefits, he must be embraced whole. That is, one must appropriate his complete person and work.

Of course the Passover in Egypt was a once off event that, by the shedding of blood—and faith in God who made a promise about that blood—a people of God was formed. Only those who trusted in the shed blood would be delivered from God’s wrath. It was these redeemed with God formed a nation, sealing his relationship with them through the sprinkling of blood in a covenant ceremony (Exodus 24:1–8).

So, do you see the connection with what Jesus was doing? The Lamb of God would shed his blood, sprinkling it on his people, thereby sealing God’s unbreakable covenant relationship with a new people, a new nation. Those who believe God’s word about the power of the blood of his appointed Lamb would be saved from God’s wrath. Those who appropriated the person (body) and work (blood) of the Lamb of God would be saved. Hallelujah! “What astounding faith and trust must Jesus have had to have believed that his death would accomplish such a thing, and then to be so supremely confident that he could symbolically distribute the benefits of that death in advance of it happening!” (Witherington)

For Whom?

The words “which is poured out for many” refer to Isaiah 53, that wonderful Scripture describing the work of God’s servant who will “bear the sins for many.” This is not limiting the atonement but is amplifying its generosity! Jesus came to save his people and, no matter how many that is, they will all be saved because the blood of Christ is sufficient to save all and any; that is, the many! Are you included? What does this scene mean to you? What does it have to do with you?

A Vow of Abstinence

In v. 25 Jesus told the disciples that he would “not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” He spoke here of a day when he would drink of this cup “new.” He was saying that something very new was going to take place. It will be a new kind of cup. “‘New wine’ in the OT showed that it was understood to be a mark of prosperity and good living (Genesis 27:2; Deuteronomy 33:28; Job 3:18; Zechariah 9:17; etc.) ‘New’ was a key term for all that God was expected to do in the time of ultimate salvation” (France).

Until then, he was taking a vow of abstinence of sorts, but when “that day” came, this “new” cup would replace all other Passover cups. It would no longer be four cups, just one. And the reason is that, in a few hours, Jesus would fully drink the fourth one: the cup of the wrath of God (vv. 36–42). But what of “that day”?

There are those who interpret “that day” as a reference to a final eschatological event: the return of Jesus Christ to earth. It is therefore interpreted as a reference to the marriage supper of the Lamb, spoken of in Revelation 19:1ff. That may be so, but not because of the words “that day.” That, as we saw in our study of 13:32 seems to be a stretch. From the context, “that day” most likely refers to when “the kingdom of God” came. When would that be?

Since Jesus’ death and resurrection resulted in his coronation as King (13:24–27), and since his death and resurrection were the means by which the Father would give him the Kingdom (12:1–12), Jesus might be saying, “Disciples, after my resurrection, I will share this special meal with you again. But until then, no more wine.”

All commentators note that Jesus did not drink the traditional fourth cup of wine. And the reason was that he would drink of the cup of the wine of the wrath of God for his people. Ferguson summarises, “The cup which usually brought the Passover to an end he would now drink at the beginning of the tie of endless fellowship in God’s kingdom!”

Other Gospel accounts record how Jesus met with the disciples, post-resurrection, and ate with them (John 20–21; Luke 24). Perhaps at one of these times Jesus broke bread with them and drank the cup. What a Supper that would have been! Regardless, until Jesus returns, we, the local church, are called upon to observe the Lord’s Supper until he returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). We remember his cost to establish the covenant. We remember his commitment to the covenant. We remember the continuation of the covenant (Hebrews 13:20). We remember the conditions of the covenant. We remember and enjoy our communion with Christ and his church in covenant. In all of this, we are pointed to the Christ of the covenant; in fact, we are pointed, in the words of O. Palmer Robertson, to the Christ of all the covenants. “Like the first disciples, we should rise from the table eagerly looking forward to the day when we will drink with Jesus in his Father’s kingdom!” (Ferguson)

A Closing Hymn

As was customary at Passover meals, Jesus and his disciples concluded with singing, the final Hallel Psalms: 116–118. This is significant particularly because Psalm 118 has so many parallels with the final days of Jesus here in Jerusalem.

The crowds quoted from Psalm 118 when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (11:7–10 cf. Psalm 118:25–26). He referred to it in his disputation with the scribes (12:10–11; cf. Psalm 118:22–23) and, as Jesus and the disciples would be singing the final stanzas, they would have been singing a song of victory that since the king had conquered, the Lord made the day and they would be able to “rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:19–24).

It is significant that Psalm 118, on the lips of Jesus and the disciples, was a recital of God’s “steadfast love,” which “endures forever” (Psalm 118:1–4). Jesus was reminding himself of this covenantal love of the Father. He would need this as he headed to Gethsemane, via the Mount of Olives, on his way to Calvary. The disciples too would need this reminder. Sadly, they would forget, at least for a while. Let’s note that the Lord’s Supper was and remains a meal for saints who stumble.

This passage serves the church in many ways, not least in its focus on God’s everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20). We learn from this that God is faithful.

He promised at the first Passover to redeem his people from bondage in Egypt. But that event was also the promise of a day when his Lamb, his Son, would come to redeem sinners from the bondage of sin and Satan and self and death. This is why the Lord’s last supper was both a confirmation and a conclusion. It confirmed that the Passover was here and concluded all that the previous Passovers pointed to. This was the last one!

I once read John MacArthur strongly asserting that to continue to celebrate this feast is tantamount to blasphemy. Depending on why a person is doing so, he might be correct. For the Christian, we have a new and better feast: the Lord’s Supper. In other words, there was a Last Supper because Jesus brought in the Lord’s Supper.

I write these words in the midst of government-mandated lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. One day, God willing, we will regather and partake of the Supper together. And when we do, may it bind us closer to him, and to one another. But it can only do so among believers, among true disciples. Are you one of them? Are you one who has claim to the blood of his covenant? Are you one of the many for whom he poured out his blood? You should be asking, “How can I know?”

The answer is, do you see your need for the blood of the Lamb? Do you confess your just condemnation under the wrath of God? That is, do you see that you are a rebel to holy God and that you need his appointed Saviour to reconcile you to him? If you do, and if you repent of your sin trusting the Lord Jesus Christ alone as your Saviour, then you will find yourself among the many. The Last Supper will therefore become far more meaningful than a religious picture, and the Lord’s Supper will be a meal you long to partake of. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Christian, keep on believing, and keep on being saved (Matthew 1:21; Philippians 2:12–14; 2 Timothy 3:15).

AMEN