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Jesus's Last Meal

Read Mark 14:12-72

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you want your last meal to be like? Who would you want with you at your table? What would you want to talk about? Jesus wanted to share one last Passover meal together with his disciples.

Normally, the Passover meal was a time of celebration, eaten in one’s home with one’s family. Jesus had no home of his own, and his disciples were his family, so he took his place as the head of the family at the head of the table in a borrowed room. Normally, the Passover meal looked back to the events of the Exodus and the discussion centered around reflecting on and celebrating what God had done for his people. Jesus began discussing his coming betrayal; one of his own family, sitting around the table with him, was going to betray him in just a few hours. The atmosphere of celebration was surely gone from the room.

Normally, the items on the table of the Passover meal had symbolic significance, representing different aspects of God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt. Jesus changes the significance of the symbols; the broken bread represents his own body that would be broken the next day; the cup of wine they passed around represents his own blood that would be spilled as a sacrificial offering to establish a new covenant.

The centerpiece of the Passover meal was the roasted lamb that the family would share for the main course. However, the Gospels do not mention the lamb on the table at all. This is probably because all attention must be focused on the Lamb sitting at the head of the table. Ultimately, that’s where our focus must remain as well; in all settings of life, we must keep our eyes fixed on “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

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