Day 17

The Lord’s Supper

from the Mark reading plan


Mark 14:1-72, Isaiah 53:2-3

BY Rebecca Faires

Text: Mark 14:1-72, Isaiah 53:2-3

Waste not, want not. Right?

When the woman at Bethany cracked the expensive jar of oil and poured it over Jesus’ head, her relatives flared their nostrils and demanded, “Why has this fragrant oil been wasted?” It seemed like a good question because the jug of oil was worth 300 denarii (Mark 14:4-5). Considering a day’s wages in Palestine at that time was one denarius (Matthew 20:2), this woman poured out a year’s wages on Jesus’ head, and all she had to show for it was oily hands.

But Jesus wiped His eyes and celebrated her gift, announcing that she had anointed His body in advance for burial. Indeed, in this chapter, the longest in the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus in the center of several kinds of preparation as He walked through the days that led Him inexorably to the cross.

The preparations began with a plot to kill Jesus (v. 1), followed by the parenthetical anointing to prepare His body (v. 8). This led to the disciples’ preparation for Passover (v. 12) and concluded with Jesus’ prediction of betrayal (v. 18). And in the middle of all this preparation and betrayal, Jesus stopped and instituted the Lord’s Supper. He was preparing them for life without Him.

It makes sense that this indelible sacrament—one of His dearest gifts to us—was given as He was surrounded by betrayal on one side and suffering on the other. But the gospel is only realized in suffering. In fact, there is no gospel apart from Christ’s suffering.

As He broke the bread and offered up His body, Jesus was really giving us His whole “person” (Aramaic), His entire “being” (Greek). He then took the cup and said to them, “This is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many” (vv. 22-24). The Last Supper is the truest representation of our fellowship with Christ, and in this meal we see that His gift to us was complete.

The guests at Jesus’ final table would go on to betray Him—and not just Judas. In the end, they all deserted Him (v. 50). But even the most evil plots of men are within the scope of God’s providence. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3), and so it is fitting that the Lord’s Last Supper was attended by traitors.

The Lord’s Supper is not a table of virtue; it is a table of grace. Even on our best days we cannot earn His gift. He invites us to partake just as He invited the disciples—in spite of our betrayals and scheming against Him. Apart from Christ’s suffering, there simply is no gospel.

None of these preparations or promises made sense until He went to the cross. The great mystery of the gospel is revealed in Jesus’ death.

The jar that was broken to anoint Jesus was a complete gift. No one could pick up the shards and piece the pottery back together for another use later; the jar was smashed and irrevocably given (Mark 14:3). Christ was crushed for us, and His sacrifice is also freely, entirely, and totally given. We remember this every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper (Isaiah 53:5). His extravagant gift to us was not wasted and has changed the world forever.

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Post Comments (51)

51 thoughts on "The Lord’s Supper"

  1. Lizzieb85 says:

    Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile God & His people has always been The Plan. Always. Since before creation. Jesus knew this. And yet He still prayed to His Father for another way.

    Sometimes I have trouble relating to Jesus as “fully man”. I think it hinders my connection with Him sometimes. Like, of course He had perfect love & compassion & always said the right things- HE’S GOD. I am not. Who can live up to that? But my goodness does this drive home Jesus’ human-ness to me. Cuz THAT I can relate to.

    1. Lizzieb85 says:

      And isn’t this just a perfect example of how we can pray for God to do or not do something, but He has another plan & does not answer the prayer the way we want Him to? Even Jesus’ request was denied for God’s ultimate plan & glory!!

    2. Tamara B says:

      I think we can also learn from this that we should not be ashamed to ask God for what we care about.
      We can tell God what scares us, or if we want another way in our lives. God doesn’t get angry for it. He won’t always do as we ask (since He already has a plan) but He cares about our feelings and can give us the peace to undergo things.

  2. Kati says:

    Mark 14:51-52 is a strange account. I don’t want to read into the text more than is intended, but I wonder why it’s there.

    1. Lizzieb85 says:

      I was thinking the same thing! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this bit before. It’s certainly strange.

    2. Churchmouse says:

      I often thought it lends credence to the eye witness account. Certainly when one sees someone out and about in his night shirt (commentary refers to it that way) in a dark garden, it would stand out in your memory! Commentaries suggest it may have just been someone living nearby who heard the commotion and was roused from bed. The young man goes out to see what is happening and is unfortunately (or not, for it puts him in the Biblical record!) suspected of being one of Jesus’ followers and is grabbed. He escapes by slipping out of his garment. Yep. If I saw that, I’d remember! :)

      1. Naomi says:

        Yeah I was wondering about that myself.

    3. Leelee says:

      The Bible I am reading has a note saying “many scholars believe the young man in this verse (Mark 14:51) was none other than Mark himself, author of this gospel. Often in ancient days, an author wouldn’t use his name, but would plant a clue.”

  3. Theresa says:

    Our God is so good. Before I started this reading today I was feeling so down because my good intentions to change some habits for the better had gone off course again. I opened page to start reading but before I could I stopped and reflected on my discouraging thoughts and asked God to guide me to keep from all this failure. Then I read Mark 14 and it really sunk in that Peter denied Jesus which is what I feel like I do each time I get off track and Jesus forgave Peter and made him the Rock of His church. I felt better about where I am today. Then, Rebecca stated that all of the disciples at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus, not sure why I never saw it that way before, I only ever focused on Judas but it’s true they all betrayed Him and He forgave them all just as He forgives me and every Christian as we continually fall. Thank You Father for giving me exactly the words I needed today to forgive myself and remind myself that You are in charge and You have already saved me. I really needed this, and He knew.

  4. Amanda :) says:

    I get this gut wrenching feeling reading about Peter denying Christ. Peter walked this earth physically with the Lord at his side and yet he denied him. How easily we too can fall away from the Lord or in a moment of weakness participate in sin. But I think ahead to when Peter is restored that day on the beach after Jesus’ resurrection and he asks if he loves him 3 different times. Such a beautiful story of restoration. Never lose hope that our sin is too great to be forgiven. Jesus came after Peter and He will come after us. He gives grace. “Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all my sin…”

    1. Ashley R. says:

      Amen!

    2. Theresa says:

      Love this. Amen.

    3. Naomi says:

      Yes I love this! ❤️

  5. Patticake says:

    Happy birthday Churchmouse! You are in my prayers. Love the reminder today of the privilege we have as believers to take part in the Lord’s Supper.

  6. Jena says:

    “The Lord’s Supper is not a table of virtue; it is a table of grace.”

    So much truth to this statement. Here He walked with these men and they all would leave, betray Him. But still His blood was shed to save them, to save all man, to save me. So not aware of what was happening right in front of their eyes, how God kept i hidden to fulfill the scriptures. I see Him do similar things in my life, allowing me to only see enough to keep the faith while He knows the full picture. Whoa, I am so thankful for this gift of grace, this gift of sacrifice when we rightly deserved it, He bore it all.

    Praise Him!

  7. Jennifer W. says:

    I love the Passover. The ancient story that God has redeemed His people with an outstretched arm is celebrated by the Jewish people century after century until this very day. Having spent years eating matzo (unleavened bread), bitter herbs and drinking cups of sanctification, judgement, redemption and praise, I always get so excited when I get to the part of the Gospels where Jesus throws in His beautiful twist to the age-old story. He takes the bread of affliction and the cup of redemption, both symbols of God’s salvation and hope for His future deliverance for the Jewish people for all of these years. He says that this is His body and His blood poured out. He says that He is bringing the promises of the New Covenant (an Old Testament covenant!) by offering Himself as the Passover Lamb. It is shocking, beautiful and world-changing. I try to let my mind drift to that Upper Room whenever I take communion and hear Jesus saying those words with all of the power His disciples would have heard it with. I whisper the Hebrew blessings that Jesus would likely have said when He gave thanks for the bread and the cup and relish in the weighty joy of sharing this moment with all who have ever called upon the Lord for salvation.

    1. Angela says:

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Jennifer. Love it!

  8. Churchmouse says:

    How many times have I been guilty of breaking a promise? I read of the disciples’ braggadocia and I’m convicted as well. They declared they would be faithful to the end – and then they all deserted him. I’ve told Him I’ll do better, break those old habits, read my Bible more, pray longer, pay closer attention in church… And then I fail to do them all. I’m no better! Praise God for the Lord’s Supper which reminds me that He has made the full and acceptable sacrifice to reconcile me to Himself. I’m humbled by Rebecca’s reminder this morning – and oh so grateful!

    1. RoseBergamot says:

      Amen

      1. Jennifer W. says:

        That last verse where Peter broke down and wept resonated with me this morning. I see that God tells me I will fail, I think I can do better than expected and yet, I find myself failing and failing. Peter’s story has so much hope for us all, because he denied the Lord even though he swore he would not, yet Jesus extends him love and grace and establishes Peter as a very fruitful branch. Meditating on this passage this morning, I was both challenged to extend more grace to others when they fail and to receive more hope for myself when I fail. Jesus is in the business of restoring and renewing!

        1. Churchmouse says:

          Yes! Grace towards others and hope for myself. Rich words from you. Thank you

    2. Tina says:

      Happy Birthday dearest sister…Praying abundant Blessings over you, not to equal, but to overflowing, the blessing you totally are to us and I am sure, those around you too. Praying God keep His eye on His sparrow( maybe in this case, churchmouse).
      With love and hugs…always…xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Guilty as charged!
      Praising and with a grateful heart, arms are raised in thanks to Jesus for the gift of the Last supper done in memory of, and never to forget Him…
      Thank you Jesus…Thank you… xxx

    3. Happy Birthday, Churchmouse! I’m so glad we’re in this together!

    4. She Reads Truth says:

      Happy Birthday, sweet Churchmouse! Grateful for you and your heart. Praising the Lord for you today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

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