Study Notes

Mark 14:22-26

14:22-26 The Passover

Jesus was eating the Passover with His disciples. We reviewed its origin briefly last week, but this week, let's delve a little deeper.

In Exodus 12:3-28, God gives Moses instructions for the congregation, both as a deliverance from the tenth and final plague miraculously, and as a holiday for them to celebrate annually.

They were to keep a lamb among them for three and a half days. It had to be an unblemished male.

It was to be killed at twilight on the fourteenth of Nisan.

They were to pour the blood into the basin built into the threshold of their doors, then take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the upper doorpost, the lintel, of their houses.

Then they were to roast the lamb's flesh in fire and eat the flesh of that lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

When they ate it, they were to be ready to move - with their loins girded, sandals on, staff in hand. To eat it in haste.

When God saw the blood on their house, He would pass over it, and this judgment would not destroy them.

Then from the 14th day until the 21st day, they were to eat unleavened bread. There should not be any leaven found in their houses at all.

Christ Our Passover

This might seem to you like inconsequential Jewish history, until we read in 1Corinthians that Paul calls Jesus "Christ our Passover."

1Cor. 5:7-8 Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Jesus is our Passover! Remember when John the Baptist was baptizing at the Jordan River, and Jesus came on the scene, John announced His arrival to the people. He didn't say, "Hey, Here's the Messiah!", or "Wow, here's our great deliverer!", or "Look, there's the Son of the Most High!". He said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!"

What was the Lamb of God? It was the innocent victim of the Passover whose blood protected the people from God's judgment.In every detail, the Passover looked back to the time that God's judgment passed over the houses with the lamb's blood on them, and looked forward to the the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ.

The Lamb was to be kept among them for 3 1/2 days. Jesus walked among us for 3 1/2 years. It was to be an unblemished male. So too, Jesus was unblemished by sin. It was to be killed on the fourteenth of Nisan. Jesus Christ was killed on that same day.

The blood of the Lamb was to be applied in four places - the top, sides, and bottom of the door - forming the points of the cross, and showing where Jesus' blood would stain the wood - from his head, hands, and feet.

Once the Lamb was dead, it was to be roasted in fire. Jesus endured the fire of God's judgment, taking the punishment for the world's sin upon Himself, and descending into hell itself.

The blood on the household caused God's judgment to pass over that place. So too, when we apply the blood of Jesus to our lives, God's judgment passes over us.

They had to eat the Lamb. We too, must appropriate and internalize Jesus Christ.

They had be girded to go. We too, should live in expectancy of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

Once the Lamb was killed, no leaven was to be eaten or even found in the house. Leaven in the Bible is always a picture of sin. So once we have applied the blood of Jesus Christ to our lives, we must not continue in sin.

This was to be a celebratory holiday, yet they were also to eat bitter herbs. Why would you celebrate a holiday that puts a bitter taste in your mouth? Because we should joyfully celebrate the salvation that Jesus provided for us, yet constantly be reminded that it was our sin that put Him on the cross. That He suffered and died to provide this salvation for us.

While They Were Eating

During that Passover night that Jesus spent with His disciples, they first ate dinner, and then partook of Communion. So much for the religious ideal that you have to take Communion on an empty stomach. There is no biblical command to fast before partaking of Communion.

Gave It To Them

Notice that He gave to each of the disciples - there was no exclusion. Some churches would have you believe that you must be of a certain denomination to be eligible. As a result, many Christians have been denied participation in Communion. But here we see the example that all followers of Christ may partake of it. Jesus gave the bread and wine to all of them, because all of them had the right to partake.

He Took Bread

Again, we must dispel a church myth - some believe that the bread we eat at communion actually and physically becomes the body of Jesus. But when Jesus said, "This is My body," the disciples couldn't possibly have taken this in a literal sense, because Jesus was right there in person among them. No, "This is my body" is equivalent to "This represents My body."

As a representation of His body, it is perfect. This bread is prepared today the same way it was 2,000 years ago. As you look at what we call MAT-zoh, you will notice some striking similarities to Christ.

First, it is unleavened. As we've talked about numerous times, in the Bible, leaven is always a symbol for sin. Jesus was unleavened as well - sinless.

Next, it is scarred and striped by the fire. Jesus, too, was scarred and striped by the fire of God's judgment upon all of sin.

You'll notice too that it is pierced through with holes. Jesus, also, was punctured by the nails and the spear.

Finally, the break was broken. Jesus' body too, was broken for our sin.

So although the bread does not actually become the flesh of Christ, it is a very accurate representation of it.

He Had Taken A Cup

During a Passover dinner, there are four cups:

1) The Cup of Sanctification, which represents God setting apart His people to deliver them from Egypt;

2) The Cup of judgment, which represents His judgments coming upon the Egyptians;

3) The Cup of Redemption, which reminded them of the redemption they had by the blood of the passover lamb.

4) The Cup of Praise, which spoke of God taking them to be His people, and being their God.

It was the Cup of Redemption that Jesus passed to the disciples. When passing it, Jesus said, "This is My blood of the covenant." A covenant is an agreement or contract between two parties. This is the new covenant, the new deal between us and God. Before it was based on the blood of the old covenant, which covered people's sins, but never removed the guilt, because...

Hebr. 10:4 ...It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

The new covenant says that the blood of Jesus has been shed once for all.

Never Again Drink

Matthew gives us Jesus' complete words,

Matt. 26:29 "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

Remember, that there was still one cup left to drink - the Cup of Praise. The cup that brings to remembrance the words of God, saying, "I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be your God." Jesus is saying that one day, He will drink that cup new with us in the Father's kingdom, at the marriage supper of the Lamb - when the Lord Jesus will be married to His bride, the church!

What's Left To Know?

Is there anything that we haven't completely covered regarding communion? Yes. Paul gave us a few more details in 1Corinthians 11 regarding communion.

The Agape Feasts

The early church recognized that the Lord's Supper was an ordinance. Jesus had said

1Cor. 11:25 "...Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

This wasn't just a one-time thing, but was to be done continually in remembrance of Him as they gathered together. At very least, the interpretation means, "every passover." At most, it means, "every time you are in a group of believers drinking together." The early church took it to mean "often," so they did it often. They would have fellowship meals, like the potlucks we have in the church today, and finish them with Communion.

These meals were known as Agape Feasts. And like any tradition in the church, it started out as a practical way to practice their Christianity, and became corrupted over time. By 55 A.D., Paul had to bring a sharp rebuke to the Corinthians because of what was happening at their agape feasts. He said,

1Cor. 11:20-22 ...When you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

This should serve as a strong reminder to us that no matter what our intentions are, we must never let any Christian ordinance or practice turn into empty tradition. We must always be open to fresh insight from God's living Word.

Eat And Drink judgment:

Now I'd be doing you a gross disservice if I didn't warn you about a very negative aspect of Communion. There are some strong condemnations people who take the Eucharist unworthily.

1Cor. 11:27-32 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Hebr. 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

But what does it mean to eat the bread or drink the cup in an unworthy manner? What does it mean to regard as unclean the blood of the covenant? Again, we can go back to the Passover for the answers.

Exod. 12:43-48 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; but every man's slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it. A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it. It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this. But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.

In order to partake of the unleavened bread, the sinlessness of Christ, and be protected from judgment by the blood of the Lamb, you have to be one of God's people - you must be circumcised. In the law, God ordered the physical circumcision that most of us are familiar with. That is a cutting away of your flesh to make you set apart for God. But that's not exactly what we mean about needing to be circumcised.

The New Testament also speaks much about circumcision, but a circumcision of a spiritual nature.

Rom. 2:28-29 ...Neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit

Circumcision is not that which is outward in the flesh, it is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit. And the book of Acts says that there are those who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears - always resisting the Holy Spirit.

So if you're not a Christian, you absolutely should not partake of this new Passover - the Lord's supper. At least not until you've examined yourself rightly. Has your heart been circumcised - the old flesh cut away and a new heart created in you? Have you been born again by faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God? If not, I must warn you - you will be eating and drinking judgment unto yourself that may result in sickness or even your own death.

You And Your Children

I want to bring your attention to one final thing about both the Passover and this new Passover, this new covenant.

Exod. 12:24-27 "And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. And it will come about when you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, that you shall observe this rite. And it will come about when your children will say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?' that you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'"...

Parents, someday your children will ask be old enough to understand the Eucharist. How will you explain it? Will you be able to tell them? Husbands, will you be equipped to to lead your wives? Parents, will you be ready to lead your children in Communion?

Singing A Hymn

Jesus was so close to the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and now just hours away from one of the most painful and horrifying deaths ever experienced. Yet He has them sing a hymn. I find it very insightful that as this deep cloud of upcoming torment and humiliation and anguish looms overhead, He says, "Hey guys, let's sing a song."

Many times we think that singing worship is just for times when we have an outpouring of joy and happiness in our lives. But that's a terrible mistake for us to make. Remember Paul and Silas:

Acts 16:22-25 And the crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them, and proceeded to order {them} to be beaten with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

So many of the Psalms weren't written when the Psalmist had been delivered, but when he was in the middle of the worst afflictions and trials. The times we're in our deepest distress are also the times when we need to be in our deepest worship.

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