The Passover Fulfilled
Text: Mark 14: 10 – 26
Proposition: All that the first Passover pointed to is now completed in Christ, THE first born perfect Lamb would die and many of the first born would be saved.
Introduction: Many of us have become weather watchers. It used to be we would just catch it on the news at night but now our appetite for forecasts has increased. Now we have cell phones and we have little programs on our phones that a simple tap will immediately display the present temperature, the likely hood of what will happen each hour of the day and even a layout of what the weather in the next six days will likely be. Imagine then if you had a news app on your phone that would tell you the breaking news for all next week. It would tell you who would die and who would be born, who would save and who would cause loss.
When we sift through the pages of Scripture and come across an event like the Passover that took place in 1450BC it is like seeing an event that is really a forecast of a greater event to come. The celebration of Passover today has been called the Seder by the Jewish community. Seder means ‘order’, the detailed order of events that happened and the order that symbols are then used to remember that. Passover according to Exodus 12 had just three elements to it: 1. a lamb that was either a sheep or a goat roasted; 2. unleavened bread or bread made with no yeast and 3. some bitter herbs. It was the meal that God prescribed for the Jews as they were about to be released from four centuries of slavery to the Egyptians. Over the years many other things were added to the Seder, salt water, a boiled egg, a paste made from apples and dates, the shank bone of a lamb, cups of wine and a variety of other things for the Haggadah or telling of the story. So we come now in our study of Mark 14 to the night when Jesus and the disciples celebrated Passover in obedience to God’s command to Moses that every year the people would do this on the 14th of Nissan, the first month in the Jewish calendar. Turn with me to Mark 14:10-26 as see the events that Mark records that lead up to this night of the Lord’s Supper.
I. Of All the Details or Symbols in the Passover One Remains Obscure.
We left off last week with the account of Mary anointing Jesus head and feet with the oil of spikenard, a very precious and expensive oil especially in the amount that she lavishly poured out on Christ. In todays value it would have been worth more than $40,000. or a years wages as Judas calculated it. It’s Wednesday that this takes place and that Wednesday night we read of how Judas went out to strike a contract with the chief priests to betray Jesus and the other disciples. He agrees to tell them when and where would be the best time to arrest Jesus, a time when there would be no crowds and no likelihood of resistance from them. Then you come to verse 12, “Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?” It’s Thursday morning, the day the lamb should be prepared and killed. Jesus answers this question with an enigmatic answer. He tells them to leave Bethany and go into Jerusalem where they will find a man carrying a large jar of water. They are to follow him to the house that he goes to and then announce to the owner of that house that the Teacher has need of a room in which to celebrate the Passover. They do this and all unfolds exactly as He said. Then comes verse 17, the day has passed and it is getting near to sunset which for the Jews marked the end of one day and the beginning of the next. They arrive at the house and the sunset takes place and now it is the 14th of Nissan, it is to them Friday and Jesus eats the Passover meal with them. This where that obscure detail begins to unfold. Look at verse 18, “Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” The betrayal of Judas is one of the most out of place events in the Passover remembrance. We know that lamb is a picture of Christ, His blood the element that marks us and protects us. We see the unleavened bread as the symbol of His body and the cup of wine as the symbol of His blood. All of these fit well but the betrayal of Judas to me seems obscure. Of the sixteen verses in this section we are looking at this morning, six of those verses relate to the betrayal of Judas. If there is a parallel to the Exodus 12 event then what is left comes down to the question, ‘Who is it that causes the death of the lamb in Exodus 12?’ We might be tempted to say it was Pharaoh’s hard heart but in fact it was the man of the house, the owner of the sheep or goats that went out and chose one and in so doing caused its blood to be spilled out in order that it would mark his home as being blood bought. The obscure detail of Judas in the Passover narrative points in one direction, Judas is the representative of humanity that rebelled against God, that sold out God originally for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just as Satan deceived Eve so Satan entered into Judas that night. (Jn 13:27) Every human being since Adam has dipped their hand in the dish of God’s provision and grace. Every person born of a woman has a sin nature and the effect of that sin is to serve self above God. The Passover was a forecast of a time when God provided His Lamb, put to death by the betrayal of Judas, by the unbelief of the chief priests and by the calloused heart of the Roman soldiers. In short it is humanity that is represented by Judas. You might even say that the bitter herbs speak of the slavery of man’s sin.
II. Of All the Details or Symbols in the Passover One Remains Unmistakable.
There is an intentionality in this passage that tells us volumes about Who Jesus is. From the obscure directions to the disciples about where to prepare the room for Passover we see the way Christ knows not only location and timing but also motive. Where the man with the pitcher of water would be and when. Why it needed to be kept from Judas so that the arrest would not happen in the upper room where the meal would take place. We see the way Jesus invites people into serving Him and others, a room keeper, disciples that prepare the way, even the way Jesus washed of the disciples feet (Jn 13). We see both the foreknowledge and the mercy of Jesus in His knowledge of Judas betrayal and yet Jesus warns Judas in verse 21, “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” We see the certainty of the Father’s will to bring redemption matched by the certainty of the Son to accomplish it, ‘The Son of Man indeed goes just as it has been written…’. “Goes’, there is so much hidden in that one tiny word. He goes a solitary road where not only would one of His own betray Him but all would desert Him. He goes in anguish of soul knowing what awaits: arrest, humiliation, torture, death and ultimately the imputing of mankind’s sin on to Him. He goes willingly, lovingly, purposefully, perfectly.
When we grasp that Christs death is not just an historical fact but a crossroads event meant for each of us to choose Him, it ought to evoke that sense of self searching, even self- doubt, that glimpses the degree of sins deception in each of us. It’s like the disciple’s response in verse 19, “And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?”
The meal is drawing to a close and Jesus leans in, verse 22 says, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” With a deliberate certainty Jesus transitions a tradition into an ordinance, a command, a communion. He draws a direct line between the unleavened bread that marked the end of slavery and demanded the haste, to with His body. His body soon to be crucified would for us be taken internally by faith. He would end the captivity of sin and He would that we move with haste to do so.
Then verse 23, 24, “Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” With a certainty He pointed them to the new contract between man and God, no longer one of works that need constant repair but now one in which He perfectly does for us what we could never have done for ourselves. His body and His blood are the unmistakable elements that were there in the Passover but now are here mightily in the Lord’s Supper. In this the Passover is fulfilled.
I love how this ends, there is a promise that He will again eat with us when Thy kingdom comes. So they close with a song, likely Psalm 118 and move towards Gethsemane.