Summary: Remembering Jesus’ in the Lord’s Supper, we share in his death and his life.
“How’s Your Memory?” Mark 14:12-26; 2nd Lent; 2nd of 7 in “All for You” series; The Promise; 3-12-06; Darryl Bell
How is your memory? I heard of an older couple that was having some trouble remembering so they took a memory course together. A few months later the husband was out work-ing in his garden when a neighbor stopped by and began to talk to him about the memory course. “What was the name of the instructor?” The husband paused, then asked, “What is the name of that real pretty flower that smells so nice but has thorns?” “You mean a rose?” the neighbor answered. “Yeah that’s it. Hey Rose, what’s the name of that guy who taught us the memory course?”
We could all probably use a little help with memory from time to time; especially when it comes to remembering what Je-sus has done for us.
This is the second in our “All for You” series, recalling all Jesus did for you in those last few days of his earthly life. We’re studying the last three chapters of Mark’s gospel. Today it’s the story of the first Lord’s Supper. Remembering Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, we share in his death and his life.
It is the beginning of the Passover Festival, the day the lambs are slaughtered and roasted. As pilgrims in Jerusalem with no home of their own, the disciples ask Jesus where they should go to prepare the meal. It appears that he has already made arrangements. He sends Peter and John into the city and tells them to follow a man carrying a water jar. He is easy to identify because normally women carried water jars. The man takes them to an upper room where they prepare. Homeowners in Jerusalem were obligated to make available any space they had for pilgrims to eat the Passover. So the disciples get the lamb, take it to the Temple to be slaughtered, put it on a spit to roast, assemble the other food, and are ready when the Lord and the other disciples arrive.
As they come to the table though, there is a heavy at-mosphere permeating the room. Jesus says, One of you will be-tray me—one who is eating with me. This is unthinkable. They can’t believe it. Dipping bread and eating together was a way of saying, “I am your friend and I will not hurt you.” Eating together was a sign of peace and trust and brotherhood. How could any-one eat with Jesus and then betray him? It was unthinkable. One after another they keep saying, It isn’t I, is it?
Jesus didn’t reveal any more. He just said, It is one of the Twelve, one who dips bread into the bowl with me. In essence Jesus was letting Judas know that he was onto his conspiracy and in that way gave him one last chance to turn from this path he had chosen. But Judas didn’t tip his hand at all.
We tend to condemn Judas and wonder, “How could he?” But if he, one of the Twelve who had spent so much time with Jesus, could do this, how much more susceptible are we? Let’s pray that God will protect us from such treason.
Jesus then linked the Passover meal to his own impend-ing suffering and death. The Passover lamb was killed to re-deem the people from slavery and death. And we call Jesus the Lamb of God, because he was killed to redeem humanity from slavery to sin and death. He said, This bread is my body, and he broke it. It was a prediction that his own body would be broken. He would suffer and die for the sin of the world.
Then Jesus took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and gave it to them to drink. And he said, This is my blood of the cove-nant, which is poured out for many. I can imagine the disciples choking. “What is he saying? Drink his blood?” The Jews had a strong aversion to ingesting any blood. Genesis 9:4 forbade consuming it. The Law said the life of the flesh is in the blood. The blood of sacrificial animals was poured out to atone for sin. Blood inaugurated and sealed a covenant. Jesus is saying he is the ultimate sacrifice, and his death is a covenant-making event.
He says, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.
We refer to this event as the Lord’s Supper, or the Last Supper, or Holy Communion, or the Eucharist. It is one of the most solemn and significant acts we do as Christians. That is true partly because of the way it ties us to Jesus and helps us experience the meaning of his death for us. This morning I want to focus on three significant aspects of the Lord’s Supper for us today.