Title: Celebrate and Remember!
Text: Mark 14.12-26
Introduction: Can you remember special Christmas mornings growing up? Maybe you’ve got some memories as an adult with your own kids. Maybe some of those special memories go back to when you were a kid. I grew up opening presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was reserved for presents from Santa Clause. Others grew up opening just one present on Christmas Eve and then diving in early Christmas morning for all of the rest of the present.
Christmas is special for us all in some way. Traditions have been established and you love them. I love the way the Baker’s open a present on Christmas Eve and it is a new set of PJ’s! They wear them that night and avoid the world the next day – staying in their pajamas all day long Christmas day. That’s sweet!
Hopefully, as I’ve just mentioned Christmas and Christmas Traditions, you’ve been taken back to a time or place and your heart rejoices at what you remember – and who you remember.
Our topic today is that way for many Jewish people who celebrate the Passover. It is a very special holiday – holy day. For them, it was the very 1st one established by God. To understand it, we’d have to go back to Exodus 12 and see what they did and when they did it. In many ways, the Passover celebration is no different today for our Jewish friends and Messianic Jewish brothers than it was for Jesus and his disciples.
Sure, there are some differences, but as to the basics – those traditions have been around for … well, thousands of years!
Rd Mark 14.12; what is Mark talking about? Let’s turn to Exodus 12 and see if we can gain some insight into their celebration;
You know the story: Abrham; Isaac; Jacob; 12 sons; Egypt; 400 years and enslaved; God has yet to reveal who he is to them; Moses; to lead them out of slavery and Egypt to freedom and to become a nation – a people; There have been 9 plagues – all a part of what God has been doing to show the people his power. Now, the time to lead them out has arrived – and it will come when the 10th plague hits – the death of the 1st born.
We pick up in v 1 of Exodus 12 where we see God establishing the Institution of The Passover.
I. The Passover: An Established Institution (12-16)
exp.: rd Ex 12.1-2; Wow! A new beginning! You have right here the establishment of a new calendar! According to the Jewish Calendar, it is the year 5777!
So the calendar is created, and what is a calendar without holidays? Rd v 3-6; So dates are given: the 10th and the 14th; get a lamb; kill the lamb; rd 7; sacrifice this lamb and take its blood and put it on the doorposts and the lintel. Rd v 8-10; Roasted Lamb; unleavened bread and bitter herbs; rd v 11; So there you have it: the Lord’s Passover; 12-13;
So, this Passover is to be:
- Celebrated: starting in v 14, we learn that this is also to be
- Commemorated: rd v 14-15; This is a fun time for the family as the women clean the house from top to bottom to ensure that no leaven is found in the house. However, the wife will usually leave a small bit on the counter. The father walks through the house and finds the leaven on the counter and sweeps it away into the dustpan. A reminder to the children of what they’re doing. Rd v 16-17; So this week long celebration is instituted here, as a part of the Passover Celebration basically going from the 10th-21st.
app.: So, this is what is going on with Jesus and his disciples. In Mk 14.12 they basically say to Jesus: its time for the Passover Celebration. Tell us what to do to get it all ready. Rd 13-16;
- A man carrying a jar (13): that’s pretty unusual.
- Wherever he enters, say to the Master of the house (14). Now, 1st off, it is a holiday, Jesus could have very easily have made plans with a follower for this occasion. This could be supernatural, and I think it has supernatural flavors about it. The point here is that a place is already prepared for these men to set up shop for the night. There are still chores to be done, food to be purchased, wine to be bought.
They prepared the Passover (16). This celebration commanded by God was about to be kept and commemorated.
t.s.: And v 17 tells us he came with the rest of the disciples to celebrate. Which brings us to the 2nd part of our passage this morning:
II. Passover: An Event to be Remembered (17-21)
exp.: rd 18a; While they are eating; Jesus would be the one presiding over the celebration. It would be during this festive time while eating this wonderful meal that the mood in the room changed: rd v 18-19; from v 10-11, we know this is Judas;
app.: Something incredible takes place here. There has been all of this symbolism during the course of the meal. And all of it has been purposeful. As we read in Mark, we get the sense that Judas is dismissed to go work his evil in v20-21.
t.s.: But Jesus, the presenter, then ties the Passover Celebration together with a new institution to be recognized and remembered by those who believe. And, he gives to us, his followers…
III. The Lord’s Supper: An Institution to Celebrate and Commemorate (22-26)
exp.: As they were eating, he took the bread and he broke it and he blessed it and he gave it to his disciples. This he said, is my body. In the Aramaic, there would be no verb. We supply it here so that it makes sense grammatically. But to the eyes and ears, Jesus would have taken the Unleavened Bread and tore it down the middle and said: this…my body.
The Passover Meal was consumed. It was a Lamb that had been sacrificed on their behalf. They knew that God had said when the 10th plague came upon Egypt: The firstborn of every household will die tonight; however, if you’ll trust me, do this: sacrifice a lamb which shall die in your place. Put the blood on the door as a sign of this faith. And your actions demonstrating that faith in me will save that life.
Jesus says: this is my body which is broken for you. Like the Passover Lamb, you place your faith in me with your actions and my death will save you.
Rd v 23-24; There are 4 cups of wine that are used during the Seder dinner. Each cup represents 4 promises God made to his people:
- For rescuing them from Egypt,
- For freeing them from slavery,
- For redeeming them by his awesome power, and
- For a new relationship with Him.
Now, I’m no expert in the Seder dinner, but from what I’ve read, the third glass of wine is the glass Jesus would be holding when he came to this part of our passage. I’m standing here wondering what it would be like for these guys who know what is supposed to be said and done. They’ve heard this many times over and yet, they must be caught off guard as Jesus leaves the script with which they’re so familiar.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. The shedding of his blood is what will redeem them by his awesome power. And then, Jesus says something very interesting: 25 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.”
I’m reminded of the guys in Acts 23 who wanted Paul dead. More than 40 men said something like what Jesus said here in reference to destroying Paul. They said they would eat no food until Paul was dead. Well, they had to break their vow or die! And that’s the point. A vow like this is like saying: I’m going to get this done if it’s the last thing I do. Or something like: Even if it kills me, I’m going to….
Jesus is telling them here that he will give himself to die. He is going to become our Passover Lamb. His body will be beaten and whipped to shreds. His blood will be poured out as a payment for our sins.
Therefore, the one who looks to this Lamb for salvation, a new exodus will come, a new Passover will occur. And from this moment forward, he will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until it is accomplished.
t.s.: Maybe that is why he said on the cross when he was done: It is finished.
Conclusion: When we lived in Wyoming we heard a lot about the Yellowstone fire of 1988. Ashes from that fire fell down and covered our little town. Cars, houses, streets… all covered in ash.
It is interesting how life comes from death. When a tree dies, seed is spawned and there is rebirth. You can survey a hillside of ashes just a couple of months after a devastating fire and see the seedlings of many trees rising up out of the ashes.
Tim Keller tells the story of how he read in National Geographic years ago of just such life coming out of the ashes. It seems that there were some Park Rangers tasked with surveying the damage. And as they made their way up a hill, they came to the charred remains of a bird, sitting there perfectly still. The sight of this bird bothered the ranger – it seemed so eerie and out of place. So, he grabbed a stick and pushed the dead bird over – when to his surprise, three tiny chicks came out from under the shadow of her wings.
She could have flown away, but instead faced the hell that burned around her and sheltered her chicks from raging fire.
We’re going to participate in observing the Lord’s Supper and remembering Christ’s great sacrifice. If you’ve never trusted in the saving work of Christ, I want to give you a chance to do that this morning. Your prayer should be something like Psalm 57.1: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
You don’t have to be a member of Calvary, but you do have to be a member of the body of Christ! Also, I’d like to warn you not to enter into this time lightly. If there is any sin or rebellion or animosity you have toward a brother, please abstain from taking this morning.
Observance of the Lord’s Supper