GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 49
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|We’re going to examine the two sections of the last supper.|
The Last Supper with the Savior – Part 2
The title of the message this morning is The Last Supper with the Savior, Part 2. The Last Supper with the Savior, Part 2. If you have your Bibles, turn to Mark 14:22: “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.’ 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. 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.’”
And when they had sung a hymn [verse 26], they went out to the Mount of Olives. 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.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though they all fall away, I will not.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he said emphatically, ‘If I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And they all said the same.”
Two sections. We’re going to take the first one and then the second one. The first section based on the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper is this: we see the last meal. And then we see the first aspect, which is the bread. Jesus, while they were eating, took the bread and after blessing it, broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, this is my body. Unlike some of the paintings we’ve seen—Leonardo Da Vinci is the one I’m thinking of—Jesus does not take puffy French bread as we like in South Louisiana. He actually takes flat, unleavened bread. And what He does is He holds the bread up, He breaks it into little pieces, and He distributes it to the disciples. And the text says He gave thanks. Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam. That’s what He would have probably said. Blessed are You, Lord God of all creation, who brings bread from the earth. Notice He didn’t bless the bread. He blessed who? The Lord. God is the giver of bread. You wouldn’t bless the bread. You would bless the giver of bread. And then He gave the bread to His disciples.
Now I want to make a point, and I’m going to camp out for just a moment, and that is this: Jesus never envisioned that you would actually be eating His actual flesh. That was never His intention. There are some who have taken that to a place that is really bizarre today, and we’ll get to that. But Jesus always, even from the beginning, wanted them to do it as a way of symbolism. It was a way of memorial. It was a way to celebrate what Jesus was about to do. I’ll give you three reasons why I don’t believe it’s the actual flesh of Jesus. The first one is Jesus always used figurative language in His ministry. In John 2:19, Jesus said, Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days. Well, the temple is not the physical temple. He’s talking about His body in figurative language. In Mark 8:15, He cautioned the disciples saying watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees. Watch out for the leaven of Herod. You don’t actually have leaven. That’s something you put in flour. But He’s using figurative language here.
Not only did Jesus use figurative language to describe external things, Jesus also used figurative or symbolic language to describe Himself. Over and over Jesus uses this. Go to John 15:1. Let me just show you one incident. He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Look at verse 5. “I am the vine; you are the branches.” Now, we’re believers; we’re not physical branches. But it’s figurative language that Jesus uses over and over.
Jesus called Himself the Rock. He called Himself the Door. He called Himself the Good Shepherd. He called Himself the Lamb. He was the Fountain, the Well-Spring of Life. He’s the Morning Star. It goes on and on and on. John 6:35, He said He was the Bread of Life. John 6:58 He said, I am the bread that came down from heaven. So we can see from the text and hermeneutically studying the scriptures, Jesus always used symbolic or figurative language.
But I think the most convincing argument is the fact that Jesus Christ, at that night—think about this—on that night, has a piece of bread in His hand and He says, do this in remembrance of Me. This is my body. Now, how in the world could this be Jesus’ body if He’s sitting there? Jesus is in the room. They would have never thought we were eating a piece of His arm because He had the bread in His hand. They would have understood even back then that Jesus in front of them was using this figurative language.
With this being the case, why would you interpret anything different? The Roman Catholic Church, in which I was raised, calls the part of the service, which is the central part of the service, taking the Eucharist. Eucharist is from the Greek work eucharistia where we get the phrase giving thanks or thanksgiving unto the Lord. The breaking of the bread is not even symbolic of Jesus’ breaking of His own body. You know, some people in the Roman Catholic Church will say the breaking of the bread is actually the breaking of Jesus’ body. Isaiah 53 says no bone was broken in His body. It’s not symbolic of the breaking of Jesus’ body.
I think the key phrase for us to really understand this is in Luke 22 and I want you to see that. “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks [He blessed the Lord] He said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until [Until what?] the kingdom of God comes.” So He says the next time we’re going to partake of this meal, I’ll be back to get you. The kingdom of God will be here.
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you [Here’s the key phrase, underline it]. Do this in remembrance of me.’” So what’s the importance of the gathering of the Lord’s Supper? What’s the importance of us gathering today to partake of the Lord’s Supper? It’s a remembrance. It’s a celebration. Jesus said whenever you partake of this, remember Me. It’s a reminder of the deliverance of your sin through the blood in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ offered up as a once and for all sacrifice for our sins.
But the Roman Catholic Church, I have to be honest, in which I was raised, really takes this passage to a bizarre place. I mean, it really gets bizarre. They suggest that the bread actually turns into the flesh of Jesus Christ and that when actually you partake of it, you’re eating flesh. I mean, the priest can even go to the extreme that if you drop one of the wafers on the floor, you have to pick it up and you have to eat it because it’s the flesh of Christ. No one is allowed to hold the cup and everyone drinks out of the same cup. No one touches the cup for fear of spilling the actual blood of Christ, which you’ll have to do something to clean the blood out of the carpet. It’s really wild. I mean, if you really think of it, it’s really bizarre.
I have a family member in my own family who actually thinks that the wafer does something for her. In fact, she told one of my family members, I’d go to Robby’s church if he actually did the Lord’s Supper and turned the bread into the body. My mother said, well, he does do that. They do it in remembrance. No, no he doesn’t actually do it the way it’s supposed to be done—transubstantiation where the wafer actually turns into the flesh of Christ. I’ve got to have the wafer because it helps me get through the week. It does something supernaturally for me. My friends, that’s not communion, that’s black magic. Anything you try to do in order to drum up some kind of spiritual activity from God by partaking of something or doing something so that the power of God will rest on you is not biblical Christianity.
On the part of Jesus and the Passover, what Jesus is saying is this: Eat of me, take of this and do it remembering what I’ve done. This is a picture of my body. His entire ministry was symbolic of the bread. In fact, Jesus constantly talked about the bread. Now, I want you to understand what bread meant to the Jewish audience. If you would have understood bread, taking the Passover every year, you would have remembered how God, in the wilderness, provided the bread as sustenance for life. Bread kept the people alive in the wilderness and so bread was important to the Jewish people.
In fact, it was important to Jesus. Mark 6:36, Jesus goes to the crowd and begins to teach. The disciples come to Him and say, Jesus we don’t have any food for the people. Should we send them home? Jesus said, You feed the people. They said, Jesus, it would take eight months wage to feed the people. And Jesus said, Stand back. He took the bread and He took the fish and He multiplied it. You know the story. Then He went on another occasion and fed 4,000 people—or actually 15,000 if you count women and children. Over and over Jesus provides Him as the example as the giver of life or the giver of bread.
Go to Mark 8. I want to show you this. Verse 17, Jesus is in the boat with the disciples and they’re talking about the two miracles of the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000: “And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?’” When Jesus asks those kind of questions, those are actually statements. Your hearts are hardened. You do not understand.
“‘Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ [What did they say?] ‘Twelve.’ ‘And for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ And they said [What?] ‘Seven.’” The question I’ve always wondered is what would Jesus perform two identical miracles in two different parts of the world? In fact, we have to go back into the context of geography to really get the heart of what Jesus is saying and I want to take you on a journey.
When Jesus fed the 5,000, He did it in the land of Israel. The land of Israel was where Galilee and Jerusalem was, and Jericho. It was considered the land of the twelve. Follow me here. The land of the twelve. Why? Because of the twelve tribes of Israel, right? Joshua comes into the land, they divide the land up with the twelve tribes of Israel. Then if you go across the Jordan to the other side of the land, which was called the Decapolis, it was also known as the land of the seven. And the reason it was known as the land of the seven is when Joshua went into Israel and cleared out the land to set up the twelve tribes and the twelve regions and the twelve owners and divide the land up, they sent out the seven pagan Gentile nations to go across the Jordan to the Decapolis. So the Decapolis was not only known as the Decapolis, the city of ten. Get this. It was also known as the land of the seven.
Now why is that important? Jesus Christ—let’s go back to the story—tells the disciples in Mark 6, Guys, pick up these baskets and I want you to go into the crowd and I want you to fill them up with bread pieces left over. How many pieces did they have left over of bread when they came back? Twelve—in the land of Israel. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Then in the land of the seven where He performed the miracle of the feeding of the 4,000, Jesus does the same thing. Hey, guys, pick up the baskets. Not again, Jesus! Just pick up the basket, Peter. Just go out. So they go out. They fill the baskets up again. And would you believe, again, how many baskets are filled. Seven. Robby, what are you trying to say? A coincidence? I don’t think so.
This is what Jesus is trying to say. In a very concrete way, Jesus is saying not only am I the Savior of the Jews, the land of the twelve, I came as the Bread of Life to be the Savior of the pagan Gentile nation. I am, in essence, Lord of all. I am the Bread of Life. I am the sustenance to keep you alive. I am the well-spring of life. I am your source for all things. He said it another way, Apart from Me you can do—what? Some things? A few things? Every now and then you get something right? Nothing. Nothing apart from Me. God said it in the Old Testament. Exodus 16, You shall not live by bread alone but by every word of the mouth of God.
Do you think it’s any coincidence? Jesus is in the wilderness with the devil. He’s being tempted. Turn these stones into bread. Jesus looks at him and say, The Bible says it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus is saying I’m the sustenance of life. He goes on to even say I am the bread of life.
I think the greatest message pointing to Jesus being the sustenance of life was the place he was born. Now don’t miss this. Of all the places for Jesus to be born, He was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem, in English, we miss the thrust of the passage, miss the thrust of the message. If you take Bethlehem and put it back into its original language, which was Hebrew, it’s actually two words—Bet Leḥem. Bethlehem. Bet Lehem. Bet is the Hebrew word for house. Lehem is the Hebrew word for bread. Did you ever notice Jesus was born in the House of Bread? Or to say it another way, Jesus Christ came into the world, wrapped Himself human flesh and He was born in a bread factory.
And the disciples still missed it. And Jesus says I don’t want you guys to miss it. Everything up to this point has been pointing to Me as the bread of life and now I’m holding the bread in my hand and I’m saying to you guys this is about Me because I’m the source of life.
We understand the bread that night but let’s go to the blood. Go back to verse 23: “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. 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.’”
Imagine the scene that day. Now, I want you to notice something. We bless the elements and bless God and then we pass the cup. In Jesus’ day, they drank of the cup. He has them drink of the cup and then at the end of drinking, He says, Guys, this is my blood. If you were in that room that day as a Jewish man, you would have been blown away. Why? Because according to Genesis 9, you were forbidden to drink blood. Did you know that? Genesis 9:4 says But you shall not eat flesh with its life in it, which is blood. So Jewish people went to great extremes when they would kill an animal to drain the blood out because they were not supposed to eat blood. And the reason for that is this: when you didn’t eat blood or drink blood, you actually acknowledged that God was the one who gives life. Blood was symbolic of life.
So what’s happening here? Jesus, it says, took THE cup. Do you see that? He took THE cup in Luke; He took THE cup in Matthew; 1 Corinthians, Paul says He took THE cup. And it’s symbolic of the third cup. Jesus is taking the third cup, which is the cup of redemption. Let me give you kind of the explanation. There were four cups that were taken at the Last Supper. We only know of two of them. Go to Luke 22 again for help. The first cup, Luke 22:17-18, is the first cup, which is the cup of thanksgiving. He took the cup. When they’d given thanks, take this and divide it among you. It was the beginning of the celebration. They drink the first cup.
Then Jesus now picks up the third cup, the cup of redemption. Look at verse 20. You can write in your margin the third cup. It’s the cup of redemption. It symbolized the physical redemption of God leading the people of Israel out of bondage to the Egyptians by the blood of the Passover lamb that was spread upon the doorposts. The angel of the Lord came that night. He went over the houses that had blood on the doorposts. This cup, as Jesus will show us, will not only mention the enslavement from the bondage of sin back then but also now, as unbelievers, the bondage that we’ve been set free of our own sin, which is important for us to remember. When we take of the elements, the cup reminds us that God has set us free from enslavement from sin.
Two things I want to show you about the cup. The first is they all drink of the same cup. Unfortunately, they didn’t have little plastic cups like we’re so used to having. They had one big cup and the cup was passed around. And what that signified was you were united together. This is something we all will engage in. It was communal. It was relational. Basically it meant that we were going to share this person’s future. The second thing was this: blood was used as a seal to a covenant. See, when you engaged in a blood seal, it was something that was a sign of a covenant between two people.
We see this in Exodus 24:6-8. Let me just read it. “And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. [And he said, here it is] ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will [do it obediently to the Lord]. Behold the blood of the covenant [there it is] that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’”
So what does this mean? Jesus with the disciples in that room said there’s a new covenant. The old covenant is gone. There’s a new covenant with you and I. Everything of the Passover pointed to this day and it’s a new relationship that I’m having with you as my people. The blood of the sacrificial lamb was poured out by the priest of the altar for the sin of the people to cover their sins. Now Jesus Christ will willingly offer up His body not just for the sins of Israel but for the sins of the entire world. And because of Jesus Christ we, you and I, now have access to God. That’s what we celebrate when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. And the response from us as the people of God is a heart of thankfulness. It’s a heart of gratitude that we’re thankful for what God has done for us.
But then Jesus makes a shift. He, in essence, turns in the meal. There’s kind of a sour taste in the mouths of the disciples. We see the last meal but then Jesus gives us His last prophecy. He gives us His last prophecy. Go back to Mark 14:26. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” What were they singing there? Anyone know? They sang Psalm 118. That was the end of the Passover. They would sing the psalms. As they were walking to the Mount of Olives they would sing the Word of God and they sang together.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away [you’re all going to turn on me], for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’” The Old Testament speaks over and over of this idea of a shepherd and his sheep. Jesus comes in the New Testament and He says, I am the shepherd and my followers are [who?] the sheep. Jesus gives this prediction. When the shepherd is struck, the sheep will scatter.
Now, that’s a connection to Zechariah 13:7: “‘Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,’ [It gives you some indication of who the shepherd is.] declares the LORD of hosts. ‘Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.’” Now, from that context, you don’t really see who the author is of the striking. But if you go back up to verse 2, notice how it begins: “And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names….”
So the question is this: who is the author of the action of the striking of the shepherd? God. Wrap your mind around this. It’s God who will strike the shepherd and, in this case, it’s Christ. God will crush the shepherd. Isaiah 53 says it best, verse 6. Upon the servant He laid all our iniquities. Upon the servant, He was bruised for our iniquities. God put on Him grief. He made His soul to be an offering for our sin. It says it was the will of God to crush the Son. Romans 8:32, God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all. God is the one who sent Christ to the cross as the plan for the redemption of our soul.
Don’t miss that. Jesus didn’t haphazardly go to the cross. Jesus didn’t fall into the hands of misguided religious leaders and corrupt politicians. It was planned before the foundation of the world that Jesus Christ would come and go to the cross and die, be raised from the dead, and be ascended or be raised up to be ascended with God at the right hand of the Father.
Now notice how He finishes with a promise. He gives something negative, then He finishes with this promise. I’ll meet you in Galilee when I am raised up again. This is, in the book of Mark, the fourth time He talks about being raised from the dead. The fourth time He says, Guys, I’m going to be raised from the dead and I’m going to go before you and meet you in Galilee. Now we know this came true because Matthew 28:16-20 tell us that when Jesus was in Galilee, they saw Him, fell down, worshiped Him and then Jesus gave the great commission. All authority in heaven and earth have been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.
So we see the prediction of God first. Secondly, under this section, we see the inability of man. We see the inability of man. Look at verse 29: “Peter said to him, ‘Even though they all fall away, I will not [fall away].’” Matthew, talking about the same context, adds this word never. Peter says, Jesus, I will never fall away. Now what’s the problem with this? Peter is actually treating the words of Jesus with disbelief. Jesus has spoken the truth and Peter is in disbelief. He doesn’t trust the words of Jesus. Peter, in his overconfident zeal and conceited self, has an inflated opinion of himself and he says Jesus, I know you tell the truth but you’re wrong on this one, Brother. You got this one all wrong. I will NEVER fall away.
And then Jesus emphatically says to him, “Truly, I tell you [Peter, you can take it to the bank] this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” Before He’s talking to the crowd, you guys are all going to fall away. Peter speaks up and Jesus says oh, by the way, Peter, you’re going to deny Me tonight. Emphatically Jesus says you can take it to the bank. This is the truth.
Now, what’s interesting is He gives us an indication of time: “…before the rooster crows twice….” Mark 13:35 shows that it was, the night was marked by different hours, and we know by Mark 13:35 that it was the third hour of the night. The night began at 6 o’clock p.m. and every three hour increments—6-9 first hour, 9-12 second hour, 12-3 was the third hour. So we know it happened in this hour, the third watch. And then Peter responds and says emphatically, vehemently, with great intensity—listen to Peter—“If I must die with you, I will not deny you.”
Well, we know what happens. In just a few moments, Peter, in that courtroom when they start questioning Peter: Peter, are you with this man? What does Peter say? Never seen that man before. Peter, you sound like you’re a Galilean. Are you with Jesus? Never even heard of this guy before. In fact, this is the first time I’m seeing him, right now. And then the rooster crows after he denies Christ.
But Peter’s not the only one. In just a few moments in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples—James, John, and Peter—will fall asleep and they will let Jesus down. In just a few moments, Mark 15:50, fear will overtake the rest of the disciples and they will flee. Mark 14:66, if you look in the Bible, cowardice will overtake Peter and, ultimately, he will deny Christ.
The question I think we have to ask is this: was Peter’s conviction true? It’s a good question. Do you think Peter really believed that he was not going to deny Christ? What do you think? Yes! I mean, did Peter really mean what he said? Absolutely he did. And you know what Peter shows us? Peter shows us this morning you and I can fall in the deadly danger of self-deception that we could think we’re right with the Lord and we’re doing all these great things and we’re going to do all these great things for God and we forget that we are sinners in desperate need for a savior. See, when Peter’s circumstances changed, he found out the deceptive nature of his own heart. Reality proved that his conviction was not sincere.
See, God told us about ourselves. He tells us all the time. Jeremiah 17:10: “I the LORD search the heart and [I] test the mind, to give every man according to his ways,…”
We can’t hide from God. See, God knows our heart. Psalm 139:1. It is the Lord: “…you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down [Lord] and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it.”
Now how cool is that? Even before we speak, the Lord knows what we’re saying. Hebrews 4:13: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” This passage points, if we could sum this up, to our absolute dependency upon Christ, our absolute need for Christ for apart from Him we can do nothing.
Friends, you and I are desperately in need of God’s grace. I love what Jerry Bridges says, On your worst day you’re never beyond the reach of God’s grace, on your worst day. But on your best day we are still desperately in need of God’s grace. Did you catch that? On your best day we are desperately in need of God’s grace. You know what Peter shows me? That you and I need to examine ourselves. You and I need to realize that we are absolutely dependent upon the gospel of Christ and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and I think that’s why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:27, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord [which we’re about to do] in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.”
Here’s how you determine if you’re going to take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, verse 28: “Let a person examine himself [or herself], then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
How many times have you taken the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner? What do you mean by that, Pastor? Because you haven’t taken the time to examine your own self to see if there are consistent, persistent sins in your life that you need to ask the Lord’s forgiveness for. How many times have you taken the Lord’s Supper and asked God for forgiveness that we are just taking it flippantly? It’s another part of the service. This is something I grew up with. And not been in full appreciation of what Christ has done for us giving up His body and His blood as a sacrifice for our sins.