The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 14C

Chapter 14:22-31

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  • Last time we were together, we ended our time in the Upper Room where the Passover Seder took place and emotions ran high as Jesus disclosed to the disciples that a traitor was among them.

    • What should have been a time of fellowship and remembering the faithfulness of God towards the Hebrew people became a moment of great confusion and questions.

      • It would be the beginning of the night in which the Lord Jesus was going to be handed over or delivered unto the religious leaders by Judas Iscariot.

    • If you recall, it was between the 2nd and 3rd cup of wine in which Judas Iscariot was dismissed from the table in order for him to “do what he needed to, quickly” (John 13:27) regarding his betrayal of the Lord Jesus.

      • Within the beginning scenes of this Passover Seder meal, one thing that we were able to see clearly was the Sovereignty of God at work.

      • That although Judas may have been the individual used to hand Jesus over leading to His coming death, this plan of Passion and suffering was established by the Father and accomplished willingly by the Son.

      • In other words, nothing took place that God did not orchestrate or allow.

    • It was in Judas’ willingness and choice to commit this atrocious sin, that the Lord pronounced woe upon the man in whom betrayed Him.

      • Jesus stated that it would have been better if this person were never born or put differently, it would have been better for this individual to have never existed.

      • The weightiness of this woe spoke to the reality that the severity of the non-believer’s decisions in sin comes with equal or greater severity as it relates to their eternal destination.

    • As I mentioned last week, as one Pastor once said: You can choose the means and methods by which you sin, but you don’t have the freedom to choose your consequences.

      • Well tonight, we pick up in the middle of the Passover Seder where the Lord Jesus prepares for what we know as the “Last Supper” or Holy Communion.

      • This will be the final Passover meal in which Jesus will have shared with these men in the past 3 years or so.

      • And as we will see, this meal will not be shared again until He comes back in the Millennium Kingdom. I’ll explain why this is the case later on tonight.

    • If I were to outline our time in the text tonight, we are going to see the following things:

      • The Institution of the Last Supper – v.22-26

      • Prediction of the Disciples’ desertion – v.27-28

      • Peter’s Protestation – v.29-31

    • If I were to put a tag on our text tonight, it would simply be: The Problem with Self-Reliance

      • With that being said, pick me up at Mark 14:22-31 for the reading of the word of the Lord.

Mark 14:22 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 
Mark 14:23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 
Mark 14:24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 
Mark 14:25 “Truly I say to 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.” 
Mark 14:26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 
Mark 14:27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’ 
Mark 14:28 “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 
Mark 14:29 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” 
Mark 14:30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.” 
Mark 14:31 But Peter kept saying insistently, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all were saying the same thing also.
Mark 14:22 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 
Mark 14:23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 
Mark 14:24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 
Mark 14:25 “Truly I say to 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.” 
Mark 14:26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 
  • We arrive to the very institution of, what we now call, the Lord’s supper or Communion.

    • And within the very institution of the Last Supper lies an immense amount of symbolism.

      • This Passover meal not only speaks to the faithfulness of God in His deliverance of His people out of Egypt, but the section we’re entering into deals with the great suffering of the Servant who has come – Jesus Christ.

    • The Jewish people would recall God’s faithfulness and deliverance through the ages with the Passover lamb.

      • Yet now, here sits the very lamb of God who has come into the world to take away our sins.

    • It is not by chance, but rather by providence that Judas is no longer seated at the table in participation of the remainder of the Seder meal.

      • This last supper with Jesus would be considered the very fulfillment of the Passover commemoration.

      • The very Sacrificial lamb of Israel and the world, in just several hours, will be betrayed, handed over, beaten, and killed.

      • This appointed plan of deliverance would be like none that the world has ever witnessed.

    • According to our outline of the Passover Seder meal, we know that we are somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd cups of wine.

      • The bread and the herbs have been eaten and the next thing within the Seder script would be the eating of the Passover meal itself which would consist of the lamb and the bread together.

      • However, if you notice within the synoptic accounts, there seems to be no mentioning of Jesus and His disciples eating a lamb or lamb on the table.

    • Every element necessary for the Passover Seder meal is mentioned, yet the gospel writers seem to have left out one of the most significant elements of the table for the Seder meal.

      • Within John’s gospel we have a sort of leading clue as to potentially the confusion of the disciples at this point of the meal and it seems to be intertwined with Judas’ dismissal from the table.

      • I believe this was providentially worked out to keep the disciples from knowing who it was while at the same time setting the table for fellowship of this Holy moment with Jesus.

      • Check out what John says in His gospel account, John 13:27-29.

John 13:27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 
John 13:28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 
John 13:29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.
  • John’s gospel suggests that the disciples are seeking an explanation for the dismissal of Judas from the table.

    • And the answer they seem to land on is that Judas was either dismissed to purchase materials needed for the feast or he needed to give something to the poor.

    • It would seem that the explanation of Judas’ dismissal was an innocent response yet immersed in utter confusion.

    • The reality was they were in the middle of their Passover Seder, Peter and John were told to prepare the room for the Passover meal itself, which could presume they would have provided the lamb, yet they did not.

      • So here it is, while Judas is dismissed, halfway through the meal, no lamb has been prepared and no one seems to have noticed its absence or mentioned it.

      • The question in all of this becomes, within this enigmatic dismissal of Judas and the setting up of the Passover meal: “Why was a lamb not prepared at the dinner table for Jesus’ last supper with His Disciples?”

      • Well as we move toward the Passion moment it becomes evident that reclining before them was the very lamb to be slain – Jesus Christ.

      • So, it is with the 11 disciples at the table and the absence of the roasted lamb, that they continue on with the breaking of the bread along with the herbs and vegetables.

    • It’s in verse 22 that Jesus, while the rest of the men were eating reached for the unleavened bread to break and distribute among the remaining 11 men.

      • Unleavened bread is like a hard cracker which was absent of leaven, stripped with small, pierced holes through it.

      • This was the bread that Jesus broke, distributed, and said, “Take it, (referring to eat it); this is my body”.

    • Now before we cry cannibalism, we must understand that Jesus was physically present with these men which means that no one at that table was literally eating the flesh of Christ.

      • Rather, this act of eating the bread served as a symbolic expression, meaning that we are taking Him in (in a spiritual sense).

      • This type of fellowship and symbolism means that no one who has not placed faith in Messiah could participate in this sacred communion.

      • This is why you will often hear Pastors mention to non-believers in a church gathering to allow the tray to pass by them.

      • This act is only for those in whom have believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ and are in fellowship with Him.

    • This breaking of the bread would serve as a symbolic act of the literal breaking and piercing of the body of Christ which He would undergo as the Passover Lamb that John mentioned in His Gospel.

      • “Behold the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)

      • Jesus’ body would soon be crushed by the hands of men but ultimately, poured upon Him would be the wrath of God.

    • After the blessing and breaking of the bread, Jesus changes the Seder meal again at the start of the third cup of the meal – the cup of redemption.

      • The cup of redemption was the first cup to be drunk after the meal.

      • This cup traditionally signified the slaying of the Passover lamb that spared the Israelites from the 10th plague of the slaying of the first born by the death angel.

      • This salvific use of blood for the deliverance of Israel’s first born, once again, would find its culmination within the shed blood Christ.

    • This section of the dinner, although the disciples did not fully understand what was going on, was drenched in a time of looking back to remember the faithfulness of God as well as pointing to the fulfilment of the times.

      • For it would be through Jesus’ shed blood in the coming hours which would be poured out for them all for the forgiveness of sins.

    • It’s in verse 24 and 25 that Jesus uses some powerful and very Old Testament language to draw the disciples to recognize what this last supper was all about.

      • He said, “This is my blood of the (new) covenant, which is poured out for many”.

      • Depending upon what translation you have some texts will read “blood of the covenant” whereas some read this is “my blood of the New Covenant”.

      • Herein lies a New Contract in which would be initiated through means of shed blood.

    • Before any covenant was established by God in the Hebrew scriptures, it was always initiated by blood, like a signature of sorts.

      • Blood became the means of agreement and atonement as we first witness in Genesis 3.

        • When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was the killing of an innocent animal by which the very skins covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve.

      • The same for the Noahic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant, Sinaitic Covenant – all began with the shedding of innocent animal blood.

      • So, the establishment of this “New Covenant” would not be any different, the only thing that would change is “Who’s blood would be shed?”

    • It would have to be: One of innocent blood, one who was without blemish, and one without sin.

      • Another question to ask was: “Where in the Hebrew scriptures was this Covenant in which Jesus was talking about found?”

      • There would have to have been some mentioning of this promise of what God would do regarding this new contract.

      • Well, we find the mentioning of this “new contract” that Yahweh would initiate in the future in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 
Jeremiah 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 
Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 
Jeremiah 31:34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
  • Verse 34 is powerful because the sins of the people would not only be forgiven but the text mentions that they would be remembered “no more”.

    • The Hebrew word there is hat-ta which deals with the means of expiation.

    • Expiation has to do with the blotting out of sin and is in association with God’s atoning work.

    • So, with Jesus saying that the cup of wine represented His blood as being the blood of the new covenant to be poured out for the many, it shows that His death would initiate the contract for a new people who would now have the very law of God upon their hearts, indwelled in them.

      • Jesus was going to be the substitute by which the means of God’s Holy wrath would have to be poured out, as the innocent party, on behalf of the guilty party, (you and me), so that this new thing would commence to the Glory of God!

    • Jesus mentions, afterwards in verse 25, that this third cup would be the last time He would drink of “the fruit of the vine” until He drinks it new in the Kingdom.

      • The word “new” here is the Greek word kainos (ken-nos) which means new or in a different way.

      • This type of meal and drink in which the Lord Jesus would share in a future day would not be that of shedding His blood but of consummation and praise. (Reinstating the Godly-order)

      • Jesus explains what He means when He says I will not drink with you again until He reigns in the Millennium Kingdom.

      • This is why the Lord Jesus did not share in the 4th cup of wine known as the cup of praise or consummation.

      • Once the regathering of Israel in the Millennium Kingdom has taken place there will be a consummation of the Kingdom and great rejoicing of Israel and the Church together, both Jew and Gentile.

    • Therefore, because Christ is not yet reigning on the throne of David in Jerusalem, there can be no initiation of the fourth cup, so in the meantime as we await the coming King and the consummation of the Kingdom, we are to remember what the Servant of the Lord (Messiah) has done for us in preparation for that great day.

      • It is after the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup that Mark says, in verse 26, that Jesus and the disciples sang hymns.

    • Being that these hymns were being sung at the conclusion of the meal, it was typical to sing the hymns of Hallel (or praise).

      • These hymns consisted of (Psalm 115-118) which would ultimately speak to the very last hours of Jesus’ life pointing to His confidence in the Father.

      • For it would be through the crushing of the Son of God which would lead to the eternal security and salvation found only in Christ, alone.

    • After the singing of hymns and ending prayer, Jesus and His disciples would leave the upper room and the city, cross over the Kidron valley, towards the western slopes of the Mount of Olives.

      • It was here at the Mount of Olives, not too far from the Garden of Gethsemane, in which the Lord would give a prediction of the disciples’ desertion. Check out verses 27-28.

Mark 14:27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’ 
Mark 14:28 “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 
  • It was only a few moments ago in which these 11 men and Jesus were fellowshipping together, reclining in close communion with one another, that just hours later Jesus drops this bombshell news on them.

    • This news had to be devastating at best! Here are 11 men who have done ministry alongside Jesus, witnessed the religious leaders question Him over and again, but here Jesus tells them after all of that, they will desert him and “fall away”.

      • This word “fall away” in Greek is skandalizo. It means to take offense at someone or something and thereby turn away and fall into sin.

      • Here, Jesus predicted that these 11 men, when the fire got turned up and Jesus’ suffering and death commenced, that they would attempt to flee and avoid the same treatment as their Messiah would endure.

      • Not only would they avoid the offense of His suffering, but they would completely disassociate from Him and desert Him as if they never knew Him. It would be as if “their loyalty would temporarily collapse.”

    • It’s that question folks often get asked in their greatest moment of distress, such as a gun pointed to their heads with the question: “Do you believe in Jesus? If yes I’ll pull the trigger!”

      • The question becomes, “What would your response be?” Would it be an unapologetic “Yes” with the peace of what will follow, or would there be hesitation in your response pointing to a collapse of confidence due to eternal circumstances?

      • This becomes the foundational premise by which Peter responds in foolish confidence.

      • But before we get there, I want us to see how, yet again, we see the Sovereign Work of God in these very pressing yet coming circumstances.

    • Jesus makes this “scattering statement” because He is applying what the Lord gave to Zechariah in Zechariah 13:7.

      • He mentions there would be “a scattering of the sheep because of the striking of the shepherd.”

    • What becomes such a key detail in this statement of scripture is to recognize “who is doing the striking and who is receiving the strike itself.”

      • Let’s look at Zechariah 13:7 together:

Zechariah 13:7  “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;
And I will turn My hand against the little ones.
Zechariah 13:8 “It will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord,
“That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;
But the third will be left in it.
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
  • Notice that the one striking the Shepherd is none other than the Father Himself, therefore the Shepherd is none other than Messiah Himself.

    • Yet again, this is more descriptive language of the coming suffering and death of Christ!

    • This crushing of the Son of God speaks to the Sovereign plan of God at work accomplishing His will (Isaiah 53:10)

    • It would be through this scattering and ultimate regathering that the Lord would refine a remnant for Himself.

      • We see a glimpse of this regathering after Jesus transitions from this devastating news of His death to meeting the disciples at a particular destination after His resurrection.

    • He provides a statement of promise saying “After I have been raised” I will go ahead of you to Galilee.

      • One would assume, after all this discussion of death and suffering, that the disciples would have begun to understand what Jesus was about to do, and if anything, the Last Supper would have been the alarm bell to this coming reality.

      • Yet the disciples do not understand the words of Jesus regarding His coming death or their coming desertion.

      • And we see this lack of understanding in the very self-confident and self-reliant response from none other than Peter.

    • What we should find most comforting in the reality of Jesus’ promise to meet them again at the Galilee, is the fact that even in our failures Christ never fails us.

      • That where the Lord Jesus called these men and gathered them to Himself for His call for them, would be the same place in which He would meet them again to re-establish them and affirm in them what He has called them to do.

    • We must be confident in knowing that God’s calling of His own is not divorced from His direction of our lives.

      • We may think we have it all down pack and together, but sometimes it takes the Lord to remind us that we are His and there is no escaping that.

      • Check out verses 29-31.

Mark 14:29 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” 
Mark 14:30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.” 
Mark 14:31 But Peter kept saying insistently, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all were saying the same thing also.
  • After Peter hears these disappointing words from Jesus regarding the desertion from the disciples, Peter speaks up in a rather pompous and self-confident way.

    • Peter declares his undying and committed support of Jesus no matter what and says that the other 10 may fall away but not him.

      • I’m pretty sure some non-verbal exchanges were made in hearing Peter speak for himself as if somehow, he was not prone to what in fact the Lord said all of His disciples would be susceptible to.

      • Peter let Jesus know, in few short words, no amount of external circumstances would change his allegiance and commitment to Jesus.

    • Now before we fix our mouths to laugh at Peter or call Him a brown-noser, we must understand where he is coming from. He has, probably, the purest of intentions to remain steadfastly committed to Jesus despite the coming storm and “skandilizo”.

      • This would be a true and sincere statement especially knowing the great concern that the 11 disciples just had in the Upper Room concerning the betrayal that would take place regarding their Lord.

      • It’s like when I promise my kids that I will do something that they have asked me for, yet due to certain circumstances the plans change.

      • It doesn’t change my position with my kids nor their love for me for they understand things outside of my control have happened.

    • In Peter’s case, he has great intentions and makes a promise that he ultimately couldn’t keep.

      • In other words, Peter overpromises and completely under-delivered. And isn’t that the story of our lives as believers in Christ.

      • We tell the Lord we will do better or make promises to the Lord that we won’t do such and such again, only to realize that we continue to miss the mark in one way or the other.

    • Our faith in Christ does not rest upon our failure in Him, but rather His faithfulness to Himself. We are saved not by our works or deeds but by His completed work on the cross.

      • If Christianity were based upon our faithfulness to Jesus, we would be on a constant rollercoaster ride of uncertainty!

      • Thank God that our faith hinges upon the faithfulness of Christ and what He has faithfully completed to the Glory of God and not the frailty of men!

    • So here we see Peter responds out of his own strength and ability and sense of self-reliance.

      • So, like a loving and compassionate shepherd, Jesus has to provide Peter with a dose of reality and humility so that He may understand that it is not upon Peter’s words that He is building His Church, but rather upon Jesus and His words and faithfulness in which the Church will be built.

    • Jesus tells Peter, that most assuredly, before the rooster crows twice, that Peter would deny Him three times. (The mentioning of the cock crowing speaks to the clear recollection of Peter’s first hand experience)

      • It is to this response that in verse 31, Peter becomes extremely defensive, and pride begins to swell up. (Proverbs 16:18-19)

Proverbs 16:18  Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Proverbs 16:19  It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
    • Mark tells us in verse 31, that Peter “kept saying insistently” he would not deny Him.

    • The word “insistently” in the Greek is ekperissos (ek-per-issos) which means with great emphasis or beyond even extreme degree.

      • Peter did not want to believe nor hear what Jesus was predicting regarding his denial of Jesus.

      • Peter further drives his point by mentioning “even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you” in which all the disciples joined in agreement.

  • As I mentioned before, we have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew and speak from self-confidence rather than Christ-reliance and the same goes when we consider our walks in faith.

    • Our flesh at times will attempt to get the best of us providing moments of weakness in our lives that can trip us up, yet our failures are not the dictators of our faith.

    • Rather, it is Christ who is the one in whom holds us up and keeps us together.

      • We must learn in our Christian walk to lean on and trust Jesus in all things.

      • I love what the Apostle Paul said regarding the sufficient grace of God for us all in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Check out the text with me.

2 Corinthians 12:9  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 
2 Corinthians 12:10   Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • As Luke’s gospel tells us in Luke 22:28-34, although Peter’s personal weakness were a result of his own doing, they were prompted by the work of Satan.

    • Jesus told Peter in Luke’s gospel that Satan demanded permission from God to sift Peter like wheat, yet the faith of Peter would not fail.

    • What a powerful demonstration of the Power of God, in that although the circumstantial trials and temptations that life may bring are never a means to destroy us, they do refine us and perfect us.

      • The purpose of the sifting would ultimately be used to remove any and all impurities. Therefore, Satan is used as an instrument to bring about a sanctifying work in the life of Peter.

    • That when Jesus meets His disciples in the Galilee, it will be a moment of restoring them and then commissioning them to the work He has called them to.

      • Friends, this is the Power of Christ in which we stand!

      • Where Satan attempts to destroy the Church and cause distraction among the saints, rather than relying upon ourselves, we must rely upon our crucified Christ.

      • It is the Lord in whom has taken upon Himself our weakness and infirmities so that in Him we come out victoriously.

    • I want to end our time tonight with a portion of the lyrics of the great Hymn, “In Christ Alone”. The words read:

      • No power of hell, no scheme of man
        Can ever pluck me from His hand
        Till He returns or calls me home
        Here in the power of Christ I'll stand
    • Friends, we are completely complete in Christ! May we continue to lean upon Him for all things as He shapes us more and more into the image of Christ.

      • Let’s Pray.