Lesson 18 - “The Last Supper” - Mark 14:1-31
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context: Read Mark 13:33-14:35 to help understand the context of this passage. Read Mark 14:1-31 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use. Also read Zechariah 13:7 (v. 27).
1. ID: (14:1-2, 10-11, etc.) What is the general setting (Who, what, where, when, etc.) for this section?
2. ID: (14:3-9) Who are the people in this account? What different motives are evident at Simon’s house? Why is this event connected so closely to the preaching of the Gospel?
3. WS/ID: (14:11-16) What instructions did Jesus give for preparing to eat the assover (pascha) on the first day of the Feast of Unleaven Bread? Have you ever participated in a Passover Seder? What kinds of things would have needed to been prepared?
4. CR: (14:17-21) How did the attitude of the disciples here differ from their attitude in Mark 9:30-34 and 10:33-41? What are some Old Testament passages that predict Jesus’ suffering and death?
5. CR: (14:22-26) In what sense was the bread “His body?” The cup was the blood of what covenant? (Hebrews 8-9) What other themes did Jesus talk about as they were taking the Lord’s Supper? What were the disciples to have in mind as they participated in the Lord’s Supper? (What “hymns” did they sing?)
6. ID/CR: (14:27-31) What did Jesus say was going to happen? (Zechariah 13:7) What instructions did He give his disciples? What was the disciples’ response? (Compare with 14:18-20.)
The WALK: What should I do?
1. What do we learn about our priorities and responsibility to the poor in this passage?
2. What would you like to be remembered for? How would that connect to the Gospel?
3. How has your study of Mark 14.17-26 impacted your thinking about the Lord’s Supper?
4. How do you explain the adamant, strong resolve of the disciples to stand up for Jesus and their dismal failure to do so latter? Are there lessons for us about standing up for Jesus?
5. How did Peter see himself in relation to the other disciples? Can you ever relate to his attitude?
Going Beyond: 1. Do some research about the Passover Seder.
Frequently Asked Questions about Passover (Chosen Peoples Ministries) Passover links. (Hebrew4Christians)
“The Final Passover, the First Communion” by Dr. John MacArthur
2. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage? q The Bible q God q God the Father q Jesus Christ
q The Holy Spirit q Man q Salvation q The Church q Angels & Satan q Future Things
The Passover cup is one of the central symbols of this holiday known as the Feast of Redemption. Yet the original Passover story makes no mention whatsoever of a cup. In fact, the only biblical mention of a cup in connection with Passover is in the New Testament. When Jesus celebrated this feast with His disciples He raised a cup at least twice during the meal to make important statements about Himself (Luke 22:17,20). What is the significance of the cup Jesus uses during His Passover observance?
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures the cup is often used as a symbol of God's judgment. For example, the cup of fury, the cup of judgment, the cup of trembling and the cup of horror and desolation appear throughout the Old Testament. Yet we also find the Psalmist crying out, “I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:13). So the symbol of the cup carries with it pictures of both wrath and redemption, of judgment and blessing.
None of these references mentions the Passover. Yet, the themes of judgment and salvation are woven together beautifully in the Passover story. God poured out His judgment on the Egyptians, but spared the Israelites who obeyed Him by placing the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes. Each year Jewish families retell these events through the seder, the ceremonial meal that commemorates Passover.
Yet, how the cup became a Passover symbol remains a mystery. We do know that by the time Jesus observed the Passover, drinking a cup during the meal was an official part of the observance. In fact, an ancient rabbinic source, the Mishnah, instructs those celebrating to drink from the cup four times during the Passover seder (Pesahim 10:1). That tradition remains to this day.
Each time the cup is filled, it has a different name. Opinions vary as to what certain cups actually symbolize. Most agree that the first cup is the Kiddush, which means sanctification. With this cup, we begin the Passover seder. The second cup is called the cup of plagues. The third cup is referred to as either the cup of redemption or the cup of blessing. The fourth cup is often called hallel which means praise, though some traditions call it the cup of acceptance while still others use it as the cup of Elijah. The latter combine the second cup (plagues) with hallel—because we praise God for the plagues He used to bring us out of Egypt.
Jewish tradition says little else about the cups—though we're told they should be filled with red wine to remind us of the blood of the Passover lamb.
The New Testament names one of the cups—the cup taken after supper, which is traditionally the third cup. Jesus calls this cup "the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). The Apostle Paul calls it, "the cup of blessing which we bless," as well as "the cup of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 10:16,21).
Both Jesus and Paul draw on something from Jewish tradition to provide insights not previously understood. By calling the cup "the new covenant in my blood," Jesus makes a direct reference to the promise of Jeremiah 31. God had declared that He would make a new covenant because the previous covenant had become "broken" (Jeremiah 31:32). To violate a covenant agreement with God would surely incur His wrath and judgment—a terrible cup! But instead, God promised a new covenant of grace and salvation.
Jesus declared that this new covenant would be poured from the cup of salvation in His blood. The cup of redemption stood for more than the Hebrews' escape from Egypt; it stood for the plan and purpose of God for all the ages. Judgment and salvation, wrath and redemption are brought together in the mystery of one cup, explained by the Messiah in that upper room. Jesus was not speaking of the cup in a purely symbolic manner. He was describing events that would soon occur in His own life.
Later that evening in the garden of Gethsemane He cried out to the Lord in anguished prayer, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). In His humanity, Jesus could wish that this cup of judgment—the one that everyone except Him deserved for breaking of God's covenant—would pass over Him. Yet, as the obedient Son of God, Jesus knew that the cup of blessing could only be poured out for the salvation of many if He would first drink the cup of God's judgment on all humanity.
Despite the agony of separation from the Father, our Lord was willing to drink this cup, to bear this judgment, to suffer this horror and death that we might be free and forgiven. No wonder the Apostle Paul calls this "the cup of blessing which we bless." What greater blessing can there be than that which Messiah purchased for us in His death, burial and resurrection?
In calling this the cup of blessing as it was known in the Jewish Passover, the Apostle Paul points out the powerful connection between Passover and Holy Communion. The roots of this sacrament are sunk deep in the eternal plan of God, which is unfolded through the pages of Scripture, as well as in the traditions of God's chosen people, the Jews.
This cup embodies the problem of judgment as well as the promise of redemption. It reminds me of another cup that blends the problem and the promise.
Do you remember the story of Joseph and his brothers? After they betrayed and sold him into slavery in Egypt, God exalted Joseph to a place of great prominence and power. During a famine his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain. They didn't recognize the mighty prince of Egypt as their own brother, yet Joseph recognized them. He kept his identity a secret and demanded that they return with their youngest brother, to prove they weren't spies.
Joseph had a plan. He hid his own silver cup in his youngest brother's sack of grain. As the sons of Israel were returning home for the second time, Joseph's soldiers intercepted them. They found Joseph's cup and accused Benjamin of theft. That cup became an indictment against Benjamin and a symbol of judgment—certain death, as far as the brothers could see. They all tore their clothes in horror and returned with Benjamin to Egypt.
There they discovered the true identity of the prince of Egypt and were reunited with the brother who had every right to execute all but the youngest—not for his silver cup—but for selling him into slavery. The cup that brought them back to Egypt was, to them, a symbol of judgment and death. Yet, it became the occasion for redemption and forgiveness.
How I long for my Jewish people to find redemption and healing and forgiveness in the cup of the New Covenant, through Messiah Y'shua (Jesus). I pray that every gospel tract our Jews for Jesus staff distributes, every book or video we mail, every personal visit we conduct may become like that cup of Joseph, hidden away for God's purpose, leading to final salvation in Jesus. As we remember the story of Passover, as we celebrate the triumph of the Lamb this Resurrection season, won't you join me in praying that the mystery of this cup of blessing which we bless will be made known to my Jewish people as well?
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Lesson 18 – Mark 14
This is another extra full lesson.
1. The first two verses give information that sets the tone for the whole chapter.
2. By placing this story between the accounts of the plot to arrest Jesus, Mark contrasted the treachery of Judas and the leaders with the love and loyalty of Mary.
3. Don’t get sucked into a long discussion of Passover Seder preparation check lists or the merits of various Haggadahs.
4. The “other themes” I had in mind with this question are the anticipation of Christ’s return and warning that they would “betray” Christ and “fall away.” This might be helpful since we usually focus on the 1 Corinthians 11 applications when we take communion.
5. The last question in parenthesis is just a trivia question.
2. This is an opportunity to contemplate what is the big thing we are known for and whether it has a strong connection to the Gospel.
3. I had thought about including a question, “What do you usually think about during communion?” If you have time, you may want to give the men some time to talk about that. It could result in some practical mentoring and sharing.
There is a link to Chabad.org with Going beyond question about the Passover Seder. Chabad.org is a Jewish site, not Christian.
The article by David Brickner explores some connections between Passover and the Lord’s Supper.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 158.