Lord Jesus, in Your love for me, assure me when I need assurance, but disturb me where I need to be disturbed.
Read Mark 14:12–26
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“For the promise to father Abraham, fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ and celebrated at this table with our own covenant symbols of blood and flesh, wine and bread, we thank You as we celebrate Your continuing promise of hope and redemption” (Israel Galindo).
This was not a comfortable meal for the disciples. The preparations were furtive, the atmosphere uneasy, the subject betrayal and their self-confidence undermined (19: “Surely not I?”). This Passover was not like any they had celebrated before. They were invited to drink Jesus’ blood (horrific to a Jew). Because we are familiar with the accounts of the Last Supper our minds go quickly to the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion, inaugurated that night. The keywords found in the other New Testament accounts are here also. Jesus “took” the bread, “gave thanks,” “broke” it and “gave” it to them to eat (22). However, in Mark he does not tell them to repeat it in remembrance of him. His purpose is immediate, to help them to understand the reason for his impending death.
Jesus’ betrayal was in fulfillment of Scripture, and his words echo Psalm 41:9. The Passover celebrated God’s great redemption of his people Israel. Jesus’ death would fulfill it and surpass it, with the act of redemption for all people. Like the covenant with Moses, it would be blood-bought (Exod. 24:8); and the blood of God’s servant would be “poured out for many” (24; cf. Isa. 53:12). Through this action, God’s kingdom would be established. As they ate and drank they were being taught that they must benefit from his death.
Should Holy Communion be a source of comfort or a profoundly disturbing experience? Ultimately, it is a comfort because of the fact of the cross, but it is also profoundly disturbing, making us question the depth our understanding of Scripture and the strength of our loyalty to Jesus, as well as reminding us of our need of the cross. A friend once said, “We need to be upset in order to be reset.” That’s what Holy Communion is for.
Through Jesus’ death we have salvation. Do I use that certainty to evade my sin, or allow it to free me to face myself and my need of the cross? Be honest.
Lord, You keep Your promises. Forgive me for my fluctuating devotion to You. I’m grateful for new beginnings with You.