Mark 14:22-31 (ESV)
22 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.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 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.” 26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
After Judas left, Jesus held the first Lord’s Supper service with his disciples. The annual Passover meal was celebrated in remembrance of God delivering his people from slavery in Egypt. Jesus brought a new focus to the bread and the wine. Jesus took bread and gave thanks for it. Then he broke it and gave it to the eleven with him as he explained, “This is my body.” Obviously, it wasn’t literally his body. He was right there with them serving the bread, but it represented his body. Jesus wanted the disciples to see a close connection between the broken bread and his entire being, given up for his followers. Then Jesus took a cup of wine. Again, he gave thanks for it. He passed it to the eleven with him and after they drank, he said, “This is my blood of the covenant.” The pouring of wine into the cup symbolized the blood of Jesus, which was to be poured out for the sin of mankind. God instituted the covenant with his people through Moses with the 10 Commandments, but now the sacrificial blood of God’s own Son would confirm the final covenant, the full forgiveness of sins. This promise is available for all who turn to the Lord and trust in the provision of Christ.
All eleven disciples present with Jesus ate the bread and drank from the cup. And they all insisted that they would not deny Jesus. They were willing to die with him, yet Jesus let them know they were about to “be scattered.” When the heat was on, the disciples caved in to fear. They didn’t stand by or with Jesus. Yet as they celebrated the Passover meal together and learned about the symbols of the New Covenant, they all took the bread and the wine. What an amazing picture of the grace of God! The covenant Jesus provides for his followers is not one based in or even kept by our performance. If you are discouraged by your lack of faithfulness today and you are truly a follower of Christ, then look up! Your righteousness is totally and completely a result of what Jesus did for you. You can never add to it, nor can you take from it. All you can do is accept or reject the agreement God offers. May you be encouraged and inspired to serve him more fully today than ever before.