(Note: Pastor Ben’s sermon series runs all the way through Easter. We are on a 60 Day Journey with Jesus as he appeared in the letters of the New Testament. Through seeing Jesus in the letters of the New Testament we are learning how the way of Jesus was lived out in the early church which in turn will help us better live out the way of Jesus as his people today. This week’s Devotionals are borrowed from a Devotional set from the past. It should serve us well as we see how the way of Jesus as he made it known when he was here manifests itself in this week’s New Testament letters.)
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there.” The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening He came with the twelve. As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me.” They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, “Surely not I?” And He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:12-25
Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:
The Devotionals for last week and this week cover the Triumphal Entry through the Resurrection and shortly after. Both weeks are kind of after the fact. Last week’s Devotionals were immediately after Palm Sunday and looked at the triumphal entry up through the middle of the “Passion Week” of Christ. This week’s Devotionals are immediately after Easter Sunday and look at the Last Supper through Easter and a little beyond. After the triumphal entry on what we call Palm Sunday, we worked our way last week through the rest of the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of Mark. We saw that Jesus and his disciples followed a pattern for a little while of going into Jerusalem in the morning, spending the day in and around the temple, and then returning to nearby Bethany for the night. We saw some of what happened during this time in the remainder of chapter 11. This activity continues in chapters 12 & 13 which we are going to leave for you to explore for yourself. Chapter 12 is a series of additional confrontations between Jesus and the religious leaders and chapter 13 is all about end time teachings Jesus shares with his disciples.
All of this took place on the first several of days of the last week of the life of Christ. Chapters 14-16 complete the Gospel of Mark. The events we will cover this week will take us through the ascension of Christ back into heaven. Today’s passage covers the upper room Passover experience which includes the last supper. Tuesday we will look at Gethsemane and Christ’s arrest in Mark 14:26-52. Wednesday we will look at Christ before the high priest and Pilot in Mark 14:53-15:21. Thursday we will look at the crucifixion of Christ in Mark 15:22-47. Finally, Friday we will look at the resurrection of Christ and just after in Mark 16:1-19.
Now onto today’s passage. Celebrating communion is a significant experience for the body of Christ. The inaugural communion took place in an upper room many, many years ago as Jesus gave His disciples the bread and the cup as a Divine object lesson of the sacrifice He was about to make. Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and subsequent resurrection formulate the culminating point of the difference Jesus came to make. Here again is the account of the inaugural communion time: “While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Let’s combine covenant and kingdom in this passage with the role of the Holy Spirit. We are told all about the new covenant in Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 37, and Hebrews 8, where the role of the Holy Spirit is the main focus. Here is what we come up with as a result: Through the forgiveness of our sins God comes to dwell in us by the Holy Spirit and works to produce the righteous life in us that was not possible through the old covenant. All those who enter into this Divine enterprise are members of God’s kingdom. Kingdom in this sense is referring to the features of God’s kingdom that are of a spiritual, inward, and personal nature – that is, the heart. This is the
kingdom in view from Christ’s first coming until His second coming. The use of kingdom by Jesus in the upper room speaks of a future kingdom that will include added features that are of an earthly, outward, and universal nature.
Communion is essentially a Divine reminder of the Holy Spirit empowered life we have been called to through what Christ did for us on the cross until the day we drink the fruit of the vine new with him in his coming kingdom.
Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:
Lord, I am a willing person who has experienced the forgiveness of sins. You live in my heart through the Holy Spirit and I am learning to let you rule over my heart. Thank you for coming and being our Suffering Messiah. Thank you for sacrificing yourself on the cross and rising from the dead to become our living Savior and Lord. May your people everywhere let you rule fully over their hearts and lives. Amen!