Summary: As the disciples prepared for the Passover meal, they had no idea what was soon to happen. The Lamb of God had come to redeem humanity, and most of the Jewish people were completely unaware.
The Last Supper (Part 1)
Mark 14: 12-26
Our text today reveals one of the most intimate moments our Lord had with His disciples. It records their last meal together, and the intense emotion experienced on that faithful evening. While the disciples were unaware of the enormity of this moment, Jesus was well aware that His hour was quickly approaching. His time had come, and He would soon embrace the cross as He offered Himself the atoning sacrifice for our sin.
This text offers a beautiful look into this intimate moment, revealing instruction regarding a sacred observance believers continue unto this day. As Jesus offered this final meal with the disciples, He spoke of its great significance, revealing the provision and grace of God for the sin of mankind. Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we do so in remembrance of the provision that was made for our redemption through the gracious sacrifice of Christ our Lord.
As we examine the details within the text, I want to consider: The Last Supper. I pray this study will remind us of the sacrifice that was made on our behalf and increase our devotion to the one who took our place, dying on the cross so we might be forgiven of sin and reconciled to God.
I. The Preparation for the Meal (12-16) – These verses reveal the preparation that was made for the Last Supper. Consider:
A. The Occasion (12) – And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? This was during the time of Passover, and the disciples questioned where the Lord desired to eat the Passover meal. This was a time set aside centuries prior in celebration of God’s mighty hand of provision as the people departed from Egypt. On that faithful night they were expected to offer a lamb as a sacrifice, putting the blood of the sacrifice on the door posts and lintels, preparing the lamb along with bitter herbs and unleavened bread for their meal. This was also referred to as “The Feast of Unleavened Bread.” The order of the meal was as follows:
• They drank a cup of red wine mixed with water, Luke 22:17.
• There was a ceremonial washing of hands which symbolized the need for spiritual and moral cleansing.
• They ate the bitter herbs, which symbolized their bondage in Egypt.
• They drank a second cup of wine, at which time the head of the household explained the meaning of Passover.
• They would then sing the first two of the Hallel Psalms, Psalms 113-114.
• Next, the lamb was brought out, and the head of the household distributed pieces of it with the unleavened bread. The unleavened bread symbolized haste. There was no time to allow the dough to rise before the journey would begin.
• They drank a third cup of wine.
• Then, they would conclude the meal by singing the rest of the Hallel Psalms, Psalm 115-118. (i)
It would be easy to move on in our text and not discuss the Passover any further, but it would be an injustice not to take a moment and consider the prophecy revealed in the Passover and how this celebration, observed for centuries, pointed to the coming of Christ. We must consider the instruction given in Exodus 12.
The feast involved a lamb, Ex. 12:3-8. Notice that Ex. 12:3 called for Israel to choose “a lamb”. This could have been any lamb at all. Then, it is called “the lamb” in verse 4. This refers to the particular lamb that was chosen for the meal. Then, it is called “your lamb” in verse 5. This makes the meal very personal. They were to select the lamb on the “tenth day of the month”, Ex. 12:3, and they were to keep the lamb until the “fourteenth day” of the month, Ex. 12:6. There would be an attachment that would develop between the family and the little lamb. This was intentional, God wanted them to see the high cost of sin. He wanted them to understand that salvation is an intensely personal business. (ii) Our Lord is not just a lamb, He is the Lamb! He alone secured our salvation! In order to be saved by grace and reconciled to God, Jesus Christ must be our Lamb. One must know Him in a personal way in order to be saved. We must repent of sin and receive Him as the sole means of salvation!
Exodus 12:5a – Your lamb shall be without blemish. The Hebrews were instructed to carefully select their lamb for sacrifice. Any ordinary lamb would not be sufficient. This lamb had to be without blemish. God demanded a perfect sacrifice in order for His judgment to pass-over them. In order for our sin to be atoned, there had to be a perfect sacrifice. God alone was able to provide such a sacrifice. Our Lord came to this earth, God robed in flesh, offering Himself the perfect sacrifice for our sin! 2 Cor.5:21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.