The Lord's Supper

April 25-29


This is My Body

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”  – Mark 14:22 (ESV)

In our prison system, a condemned prisoner is usually allowed to choose what they will have for their last meal. Some of their choices are interesting. Gary Gilmore – The first man executed after the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, chose hamburgers, eggs, potatoes, and bourbon, which was smuggled into his cell. Ted Bundy – A serial killer executed in Florida in 1989, had a burrito and Mexican rice. Timothy McVeigh – Executed in 2001 for his part in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK had two pints of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Walter LaGrand – Executed in  Arizona in 1999, asked for six fried eggs, 16 strips of bacon, one large serving of hash browns, a pint of pineapple sherbet, a breakfast steak, a cup of ice, 7-Up, Dr. Pepper, Coke, hot sauce, coffee, two sugar packets, and four Rolaids.

In Mark 14 Jesus gathers with His disciples to partake in His last meal. He does not have the privilege of requesting what He will eat for His last supper, but the meal He eats may just be the most important meal ever eaten. Each part of the Last Supper had significance for the disciples and for everyone who has ever lived. Jesus started with the bread and explained it was symbolic of His body which He would willingly sacrifice for them on the cross.


Other than Jesus, who has made the greatest sacrifices for you? How have you responded to their sacrifices? Jesus made the greatest sacrifice of all for the world. What’s one way you can express gratitude to Him today?


Thank Jesus for giving His all for you. Ask God to help you live a life of gratitude.


The Cup

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” – Mark 14:23-24 (ESV)

When the German poet, Heinrich Heine, was on his deathbed, a priest told him that God would forgive his sins. Heine rather flippantly responded, “Of course, God will forgive me; that’s His job.” Later the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, commenting on Heine’s words, said: “What it means to say is nothing else than … that’s what he [God] is there for, and that’s the only reason I’ve taken him on (as one engages one’s doctor or one’s lawyer).”

Thinking of God’s forgiveness as simply part of His job description is pretty arrogant, to say the least! The Bible makes it clear that God isn’t in our employ, waiting around to say “That’s OK!” whenever we decide that maybe we’ve done something wrong. Instead, the Bible shows that our sin cost God dearly. In fact, forgiveness for sin is only possible because of the willing death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Today in the Word)

The cup in Mark 14 was symbolic of the shed blood of Jesus. Jesus would shed His blood to pay for the forgiveness of sin. This would have been the third cup of the Passover meal. This was traditionally called the cup of Redemption. “Redemption” means to buy something back. And that is what Jesus did for us when He shed His blood. Jesus bought us back by paying for our sins.


Substitutionary atonement is saying that Jesus died once for all time in our place, on our behalf, for our sake, so that we might live forever in Him and for Him! Do you think it’s God’s job to forgive you of your sins? What does the death of Jesus on the cross say about the seriousness of sin to God?


Thank God for the blood of Jesus Christ being shed for you. Praise God for the high price He paid for your sins.


The New Covenant

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” – Mark 14:23-24 (ESV)

When Leonardo da Vinci was 43 years old, the Duke Ludovinco of Milan asked him to paint the dramatic scene of Jesus’ last supper with His disciples: Working slowly and giving meticulous care to details, he spent 3 years on the assignment. He grouped the disciples into threes, two groups on either side of the central figure of Christ. Christ’s arms are outstretched. In his right hand, He holds a cup, painted beautifully with marvelous realism. When the masterpiece was finished, the artist said to a friend, “Observe it and give me your opinion of it!” “It’s wonderful!” exclaimed the friend. “The cup is so real I cannot divert my eyes from it!” Immediately Leonardo took a brush and drew it across the sparkling cup. He exclaimed as he did so: “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”

The point of all the symbols of the Lord’s Supper is Jesus. Jesus described His blood as the covenant He was making with His people. A covenant is an agreement between two parties that binds them together and conveys the associated ideas of very close fellowship. The Old Covenant with God was sealed with the blood of animal sacrifices. This New Covenant with God was sealed by Jesus’ blood. Jesus’ death on the cross thereby signaled the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.


What are some church practices that you think maybe taking the focus off of Jesus and putting it on other people or things? What are some practices that help you focus and refocus on Jesus as most important?


Praise Jesus for the promise He made to you and sealed with His blood. Ask God to help you remember the most important part of your faith is Jesus.


Poured out for Many

And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” – Mark 14:24 (ESV)

Three times a month, Jermaine Washington and Michelle Stevens get together for what they call a “gratitude lunch.” With good reason! Washington donated a kidney to Stevens, whom he described as “just a friend.” They met at work, where they used to have lunch together. One day Michelle wept as she spoke about waiting on a kidney donor list for 11 months. She was being sustained by kidney dialysis but suffered chronic fatigue and blackouts and was plagued by joint pain. Because Washington couldn’t stand watching his friend die, he gave her one of his kidneys and now they have a “gratitude lunch” to celebrate. (Today in the Word).

When the church observes the Lord’s Supper, it is a “gratitude lunch” so to speak. It’s simply a time when we remember what Jesus did for us and say thank you. Mark 14:24 says Jesus’ blood was “poured out for many.” “For many” speaks of the millions and millions of souls who have placed their faith in Christ and His fully atoning blood shed on Calvary 2000 years ago.


God has always had a heart for the nations around the world. One of the ways we can express gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice is by spreading the Good News of Jesus around the world. What is one way you can be involved in helping the “many” know what Jesus did for them?


Praise God for His heart for the world. Pray for the missions efforts of our church to be effective in leading many to Christ. Ask God what your involvement in missions should be.


A Look Ahead

Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  – Mark 14:25 (ESV)

A small country church in Wisconsin has a special tradition that they have used at the close of their communion services for a number of years. It is adapted from an ancient Jewish closing of the Passover meal. Since it is the hope of every devout Jew to celebrate the Passover at least once in David’s city, the Jewish custom is to end the meal with a toast. Passover participants raise the cup and say, “Next year, in Jerusalem!”

The cup in the Lord’s Supper serves as two reminders: we are to look back to the shed blood of Christ and forward to the Lord’s second coming. In other words, for all Christians, there will be a last sharing of the bread and the cup on this side of eternity: when they meet once again, they will be in Christ’s presence. At the close of communion, the members of this church raise their cups in anticipation and say, “Next time, with Christ!” (Today in the Word)

Jesus ended the Last Supper by promising the next time He observes this meal will be in Heaven with His followers. Daniel Akin has an interesting comment, “In v. 25 Jesus brought things to a close by refusing to drink the 4th and final cup. Why? Because it is the cup of consummation and life in the promised land of God. For that cup, He would wait.” The supper ends on a note of Hope…until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.


Jesus was about to face suffering and death shortly after the Last Supper. But He ended the supper on a note of hope. How does this perspective help you with any suffering you are facing or will face in the near future?


Praise God for the hope of heaven that we have because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Ask God to give you the encouragement you need to face the temporary struggles of this life.