Lesson 79

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

14:22 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had blessed, he broke it, and gave to them, and said, "Take, eat. This is my body."

14:23 He took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them. They all drank of it. 14:24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many. 14:25 Most assuredly I tell you, I will no more drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it anew in the Kingdom of God." 14:26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Today's Lesson

Jesus had come to Jerusalem to eat the Passover Feast in the Holy City. He set with His disciples and with them remembered the time when God had led the people out of slavery through Moses. God delivered the people from the final plague on Egypt. The firstborn of those who in faith placed the blood of the Passover Lamb on their mantle were spared. This was the final plague that convinced Pharaoh that He must let the people go. Through the death of the Passover Lamb, God spared the lives of the firstborn of Israel.


After the traditional Passover meal, Jesus began a new tradition. At the end of their meal, Jesus took bread. He broke the bread and gave it to them and said, "Take, eat. This is my body." In the same way He took a cup of wine, blessed it and gave it to them to drink. He told them, "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many." This is the essence of Christian Communion. It is remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made. It celebrates His life. The life that He was willing to lay down and the new, resurrected life that He has been given.


Christians continue to celebrate this supper with Jesus to this very day. We will do so until He returns. In continuing this tradition we look backward to what has been promised to us and we look forward to the day when we will share another meal with Him in glory. It is a sacred moment for Christians.


There must be a delicate balance in the way that we participate in Communion. The sharing of the bread and the wine must not be routine or a thing of little consequence. Sharing the Passover with His disciples was important to our Lord. This sharing of His body and His blood was important to Him. It must not be trivialized and it should not be rushed through.


In the opposite manner, we must realize that this sharing, the communion, is only a symbol of something larger. In sharing the bread and the wine, Christ was sharing Himself- His body and His blood. It is not the bread and the wine that were holy. They were only the symbols that He used. It is Christ Himself that was holy. It is His presence in our lives that makes Communion significant. Because He lives, we can share in His life.


There is one final point that should be made about that first supper that was the Last Supper. There, at the table with Jesus, was Judas. Jesus shared this meal and this extremely important symbol, with His betrayer. Christ came to offer Himself for the whole world. He came to offer Himself for you and for me. And, He came to offer Himself for Judas too. For all the Judases that are out there.


Do you know what it means to eat of the body of Christ and to drink of His blood? Are you experiencing Christ's new life for you through his body and blood? Do you share in the new covenant that Christ instituted with His death?


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