"The Last Supper" Bible Reflection on Mark 14:12, 22-25
April 1, 2021, 11:36 AM

Dear Members & Friends:

I invite you to read the following passages from Mark 14:12a, 22-25 (New Revised Standard Version).

12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed . . . . 22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell 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.”

This being Maundy Thursday, I am going to share some excerpts from Chapter 1, "The Last Supper," of Adam Hamilton's book, 24 Hours That Changed the World.  Of course, the 24 hours that Hamilton's book title is referring to  are the last 24 hours of Jesus' life.  For those who have already read Hamilton's book, it will be a time to reflect again on the Last Supper.  For those who have not read the book, it will provide an opportunity to get a sense of what a Zoom Bible Study is like and what we talk about and reflect on during a Bible Study.

"The Passover is meant to be a festive and celebratory time, filled with joy as participants remember that those who were slaves were now set free, at last becoming one people, the people of God.  If indeed the Last Supper began with such a tone, it changed during the course of the evening.  Even beyond Jesus' foreknowledge of events, there was great apprehension in the room.  Everyone was conscious of the heightened tension between Jesus and the religious leaders.  They all wondered what was going to happen to Jesus -- and to them.  Would there be repercussions from his actions in the Temple?  Might he finally proclaim himself as Messiah?

Jesus cut through the uncertainty with a statement so electric it still echoes across the centuries.  'One of you,' he said, looking at them in the sudden stillness of the Seder celebration, 'will betray me' (Mark 14:18)."  (Hamilton, p. 21)

"The story of the betrayal winds its way through the rest of the Gospel accounts of the final twenty-four hours of Jesus' life.  Before the night was through, Judas would betray Jesus; Peter would deny him; and the disciples would desert him, leaving Jesus utterly alone as he faced trial at the hands of his enemies." (Hamilton, pp. 21-22)

"The echoes of Jesus' prediction and of the acts of betrayal by those closest to him are still discomfiting.  In our won age, when church leaders have abused children, embezzled funds, and more, we realize that such betrayals are commonplace.  Jesus might well have said, 'All of you will betray me'; and with that realization, we must look finally at ourselves" (Hamilton, p. 22)

How do you see yourself when you approach the Communion Table to take Holy Communion?  What do you remember of the story of Jesus when you eat the bread and take the cup?  In what way does your participation in the regular ritual of the Eucharist meal help you recall your own experiences of deliverance?

". . . The Last Supper was meant to be repeated in commemoration of the new covenant, just as the Passover Seder was meant to commemorate the central sign of God's saving act in the Hebrew Bible.  This meal, this new Passover, the Eucharist or Holy Communion, would be a perpetual reminder of God's love, his grace, and the sacrifice of his Son.  It would be the meal by which we Christians would remember our story.  By means of it, our lives would be reshaped." (Hamilton, p. 25)

How would you say the observance of Holy Communion defines or shapes who you are?

"In the hours before Jesus would be arrested, tried, and held for crucifixion, he was with twelve men who were his companions and intimates, men with whom he had prayed, worshiped, and shared life.  When he went to pray, knowing he would die, he asked those who were closest to him to pray with him.

Remember, these close companions were not perfect.  They had let him down and would do so again.  One would even betray him.  Still, they were the best friends he had; and they were with him as he approached his darkest hour." (Hamilton, p. 28)

If you were sitting down to what you knew to be your last meal, whom would you want sitting around the table with you?

I hope these excerpts and questions will help you reflect on the Eucharistic Passover that you will partake of at this evening's 5:00 P.M. Virtual Maundy Thursday Holy Communion & Tenebrae Service.

Christ our Passover is offered for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast.  Amen.

Have A Blessed Maundy Thursday, A Good Friday & A Joyful Easter!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  Christ is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!

Pastor Greg Rupright


04-04-2021 at 2:16 PM
Pat May
I was late to “the table”(your blog) this week, but your message would be helpful no matter when it’s read.

Happy Easter! A beautiful device today for sure - and a beautiful day on which to celebrate our Risen Christ!
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