This is a Bible study on Mark 14:12-26.

7 pages.

Mark 14:12-26 - What Should the Lord’s Supper Mean to You?

Read Mark 14:12-26.


Have you ever said to yourself, “If only I had lived in the days of Jesus; if only I could have seen Him and heard Him and touched Him. It would have been so much easier. It would have been so much easier to appreciate what He did for me, so much easier to show my faith in Him, and so much easier to be assured of my relationship with Him. I could have actually followed Him; I could have actually embraced Him! It all would have been so much more ‘personal;’ so much more physical and tangible.”

Our faith and our spiritual life are feeble. We live in a “material world;” consequently, we stand in need of some kind of physical support and encouragement; some tangible means of assurance. We need something tangible that can illustrate the great things Christ has done for us; we need something tangible that can assure us of our relationship with Christ. To meet this need, to condescend to our human limitations, the Lord has graciously provided us with the sacraments, one of which is the Lord’s Supper.

A sacrament can be defined as a sign and a seal of a spiritual reality. As a sign, the Lord uses the sacrament to visibly show us by physical symbols His redemptive work and our relationship to Him. As a seal, the Lord uses the sacrament to assure us as Christians of our relationship to Him and the benefits we receive from that relationship; namely, forgiveness of sins and spiritual life.

As we study this next passage of the Gospel of Mark, let us consider the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and its significance for us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the Background of the Lord’s Supper?🔗

The Lord Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as He was sharing the Passover meal with His disciples. In addition to the passage of Mark 14:22-26, we should also consider Luke 22:14­-20,

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, 16for I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. 17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, Take this and divide it among you, 18for I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. 19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. 20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. Lk. 22:14-20

With the annual Passover meal as the setting, the gospel writers only highlight the new and unique features of that last supper; the features Jesus introduced at that time, the features that would become the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

On the evening of the Passover, Jesus and His disciples returned to Jerusalem, because the Passover meal had to be eaten after sunset and in the royal city of Jerusalem. When each member of the “family” had taken his place, the head of the household began the celebration by taking the first (of four) cups of wine and offering the prayer of thanksgiving. Included in the thanksgiving was the prayer for the fulfillment of this sacramental feast in the kingdom of heaven, and the prayer to be preserved so as to participate in it yet another year. Following this prayer, the head of the household arose from the table and washed his hands. Apparently, it was at this point in the evening that Jesus arose and washed His disciples’ feet, as recorded in John 13; for John tells us that it was “during supper” (vs. 2) that this event occurred and that Jesus “rose from supper” (vs. 4) to perform the lowly task of washing His disciples’ feet.

After this ceremonial washing of the hands, the dishes were immediately brought to the table. The first dish consisted of bitter herbs, reminding the Jews of the bitterness of slavery experienced by their forefathers in Egypt. The next dish was stewed fruit; the color and paste-like texture would remind them of the clay used by their forefathers to make bricks in Egypt during the time of their slavery. The third dish was unleavened bread, it was known as “the bread of haste,” for there was no time to wait for the leaven, or yeast, to rise that night of the first Passover, which was the night of the Exodus from Egypt. The fourth and final part of the sacramental meal was the roasted Passover lamb. It represented the lamb that was slain on the night of the Exodus so that the angel of death would “pass over” and spare the homes of those who had sprinkled the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts.

The head of the house would now dip some of the bitter herbs into salt water or vinegar, pronounce a blessing, and partake of it, then it would be distributed to all those present at the table. Next, he would break one of the three unleavened loaves (or wafers) lying on the table: half of it was put aside to be eaten after supper, (this portion was called “the after dish”); the other half was placed in a dish and lifted up as the head of the house proclaimed, “This is the bread of misery that our fathers ate in Egypt, partake of the Passover.” The second cup of wine was now prepared.

At this point, the youngest person present was instructed to ask about the meaning of this observance: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” The head of the house would then lead the family in a liturgy recounting the events of the LORD’s deliverance of His people from Egypt. Following this, the second cup of wine was lifted up, prayers were offered, Psalms 113-114 were recited, and then all those gathered around the table would drink of the wine.

Now everyone at the table would wash their hands and the actual meal began. A piece of the roasted Passover lamb, together with a piece of unleavened bread and bitter herbs, was distributed to each one present. Apparently, it was at this time that Jesus took a piece of bread, broke it, and spoke the words: “Take this, this is my body” (Mk. 14:22).

When the meal was concluded, the head of the household blessed the third cup of wine with a prayer of thanksgiving. At this point, after the disciples had drunk of the wine, Jesus spoke the words, “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mk. 14:24). A fuller account of Jesus’ words is given in Matthew’s gospel:

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matt. 26:27-28

After the meal was finished, there was the singing of Psalms 115-118, and then the Passover was concluded with the drinking of the fourth cup of wine.

What is the Lord’s Supper Intended to Teach Us?🔗

When Jesus distributed the bread, (at the time when the Passover lamb was being eaten), He spoke the words, “Take this, this is my body.” Our Lord was declaring that His body, about to be offered unto God as a sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary, was the ultimate sacrifice for sin. The Passover, and all the Old Testament sacrifices, served as a provisional sacrifice, anticipating the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God Himself. The Book of Hebrews declares:

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest [the Lord Jesus Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God Heb. 10:11-12

Note: Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God indicates that His work of atonement is finished and that it has been accepted by God His Father.

When Jesus distributed the cup of wine, He spoke the words, “Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant” (Matt. 26:27-28). In 1 Corinthians 11:25, referring to the Lord’s words spoken on the occasion of the first Lord’s Supper, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes, “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:20 also refers to the new covenant.)

Jesus’ shed blood fulfilled the demands and requirements of the covenant established at Mt. Sinai, a covenant that typified God’s demand for whole-hearted devotion in the lives of His people, as seen by the fact that what was offered unto the LORD on that occasion was a burnt offering (Ex. 24:5), symbolic of complete devotion to the LORD.

We must appreciate the fact that the Mosaic Covenant, (as it is called), made at Mt. Sinai was a provisional covenant. That is to say, it was not a final end in itself for the people of God; rather, it pointed forward to the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant of grace accomplished by the redeeming work of Jesus the Messiah. Because the Mosaic Covenant was provisional, it could not provide what it depicted, namely, the complete surrender of one’s life unto the LORD, with the consequent result of receiving new spiritual life from the LORD.

So, it should not be surprising that in Exodus 32 we read of Israel breaking the covenant by making the golden calf and worshiping it as a substitute for the LORD Himself. As a result of their breaking the covenant, we read of the LORD renouncing Israel,

The LORD said to Moses, 'Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8They have been quick to depart from the way I commanded them... 9The LORD said to Moses, 'I have observed these people, they are an obstinate people. 10Now, therefore, leave me alone so that my anger may burn hot against them and that I may consume them. Then I will make you into a great nation.' Ex. 32:7-10

Such would have been the tragic state of affairs had it not been for Moses’ intercession, as recorded in Exodus 32:11-14, 30-32. The LORD spared the people, by Moses’ act of intercession, and in the course of time promised to establish a new covenant with them:

'The time is coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD. 33'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD, 'for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.' Jer. 31:31-34

The New Covenant (foretold in Jeremiah 31) does not replace the Mt. Sinai covenant as something of an altogether different nature. On the contrary, the New Covenant replaced the Mt. Sinai Covenant in the sense that the Sinai Covenant was provisional and the New Covenant contains the promised substance and fulfillment of the original covenant.

Now, on the occasion of instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus distributed the cup of wine and spoke the words, “This is my blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many’” (Mk. 14:24).

Jesus’ shed blood was fulfilling the demands of the old covenant. He offered His blood (His life) unto God the Father as a sacrifice of complete obedience, (which was the requirement of the covenant). At the same time, He offered His blood unto God as a sacrifice of atonement, bearing the punishment of disobedience that His people deserved. As was foretold by the prophet Isaiah:

...he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment was laid upon him for our peace, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.Isa. 53:5-6

Jesus’ shed blood not only fulfilled the requirements of the old covenant, it was at the same time establishing the new covenant that had been foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. As noted, referring to the night Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, the Apostle Paul writes, “After supper [Jesus offered] the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me’” (1 Cor. 11:25).

The new covenant, just like the old, requires the shedding of blood: representing the offering up of the life unto God in devotion and commitment to Him. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one true “burnt offering” of which all the Old Testament burnt offerings were representative.

At Mount Sinai, the blood first sprinkled upon the altar was representing an act of faith on the part of the people, whereby they were surrendering themselves in trust to the LORD their God. When the remainder of the blood was then sprinkled upon the people, what was being portrayed is the people receiving back from the LORD a life that is spiritually renewed.

But since the Mosaic Covenant was only provisional, what was portrayed by the sprinkling of the blood was only prophetic, a promise of what would be accomplished, it was not the actual accomplishment of what was being portrayed. What was being portrayed would become fulfilled by the new covenant, by Christ and the believer’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection, whereby our old life is given up unto God, spiritually joined with Christ in His death, and what we receive back is a sharing in the resurrection life of Christ, a life lived in devotion to God.

The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is intended to portray for us and grant to us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ the assurance of our relationship with Christ and the ramifications of that relationship: it is intended to nourish us in our new life in Christ.

After having distributed the bread and the cup, Jesus concluded with the words: “I tell you the truth, I shall no longer drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it fresh in the kingdom of God” (Mk. 14:25). Whereas the Gospel of Mark provides a condensed version of Jesus’ statement, the Gospel of Matthew presents a fuller version of His statement, “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). This was the last meal the Lord would eat with His disciples on earth, because He was now going to the cross to actually accomplish all that the sacrament He had just instituted represented.

But notice, too, that in His statement Jesus was also foretelling His resurrection and reception into His Father’s kingdom: He will eat again, death is not the end for Him. He will eat again, in His Father’s kingdom, signifying that He and the sacrifice He offered is acceptable to God His Father. He will eat again, and we as believers will eat with Him. Jesus is assuring us that we as believers will be preserved and at last be received into His Father’s kingdom, because of His perfect sacrifice at Calvary and our abiding relationship with Him in His resurrection life.


What meaning should the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper have for us as Christians? The Lord uses the sacrament as a sign: a means of visibly showing us and reminding us of what He has done for us and of our relationship with Him. The Lord uses the sacrament as a seal: a means of tangibly assuring us of our relationship with Him and the benefits we receive from that relationship; namely, the forgiveness of our sins and participation in the spiritual life of our Lord Himself.

Discussion Questions🔗

  1. As our Lord partakes of the annual Passover meal with His disciples, what does Mark say about the wine He distributes to them? See Mk. 14:23. How does the Gospel of Luke describe the wine? See Lk. 22:20. What Mark leaves unstated, Luke makes explicit. What was the old covenant, what happened at Mt. Sinai? See Ex. 24:6-8. What promise did the LORD make to His O.T. covenant people? See Jer. 31:31. In what ways does the new covenant differ from the old covenant? See Heb. 9:11-12. Have you put your faith Christ Jesus, the One who has offered Himself unto God the Father as the once-for-all sacrifice for sin; are you resting in His one perfect sacrifice for the atonement of your sins?

Then he took a cup, and after he had given thanks, he gave to it them; and they all drank from it. Mk. 14:23

 Likewise, he also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you. Lk. 22:20

Moses took half of the blood and put it into bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. 7Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it for all the people to hear. They responded, 'We will do all that the LORD has spoken; we will be obedient.' 8Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.' Ex. 24:6-8

The old covenant made at Sinai, was provisional: it served as a “model” of the covenant to be made with the coming of the Messiah; as such, it contained the promise of the new covenant, but not the life-giving power of that covenant.

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— Jer. 31:31

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Heb. 9:11-12

  1. Contrast our Lord’s attitude as He anticipates partaking of the Passover with His disciples (Lk. 22:15) with that of disciples themselves (Lk. 22:24). May we ever approach the Lord’s Supper with little appreciation for our Savior’s suffering and with much animosity towards fellow believers? What warning is given to us in 1 Cor. 11:27-28?

Then he said to them, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer...' Lk. 22:15

Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. Lk. 22:24

Therefore, whoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of [sinning against] the body and the blood of the Lord. 28Now a man should examine himself; and [having done] so, let him [then] eat of the bread and drink from the cup... 1 Cor. 11:27-28

  1. What does the Lord do in response to His disciples’ contention over greatness? See Jn. 13:4-5. How does He explain His action? See Jn. 13:14-15. As Christians, what should be our attitude toward one another within the body of Christ? See Phil. 2:3-4,

[Jesus] got up from the supper table and laid aside his robe. He took a towel and wrapped it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Jn. 13:4-5

If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 I have given you an example, you also should do as I have done to you. Jn. 13:14-15

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but with a humble mind let each one consider others as occupying a higher position than himself. 4Let each one be concerned not only about his own interests, but also about the interests of others. Phil 2:3-4

  1. When we as Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper, what are we doing? Note 1 Cor. 11:26. As we partake of the sacrament, we are reminding ourselves and one another of our Lord’s atoning sacrifice for our sins; and what else is occurring? Note Mk. 14:22/ Jn. 6:51, 55-56, 63b,

Whenever you eat this bread and drink [from] the cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes [again]. 1 Cor. 11:26

As they were eating, he took [some] bread. After he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to them, saying, Take [this]; this is my body. Mk. 14:22

51I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any man eats this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world... 55... my flesh is truly food and my blood is truly drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him... 63b...The words that I speak to you are spiritual, and are life [giving]. Jn. 6:51, 55-56, 63b

As we partake of the sacrament, the Lord is sustaining and nourishing our spiritual life—as we eat the bread, which represents our Lord’s body, He ministers spiritual nourishment to our souls.

  1. Is the sacrament only a reference to our Lord’s death? How long are we to partake of this sacrament; how long does our spiritual life need to be maintained? Note 1 Cor. 11:26b; see Matt. 26:29,

Whenever you eat this bread and drink [from] the cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes [again]. 1 Cor. 11:26

But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. Matt. 26:29

The Lord’s Supper is also a perpetual reminder that our Savior has risen from the dead and we shall share with Him the great feast in the kingdom of God.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.