The Last Supper

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The Last Supper

The story:-

Jesus gave two disciples instructions on where to get the Passover meal ready.  The disciples went and found the large upper room ready and furnished and they prepared the meal.  At the meal Jesus made some predictions.  Firstly, he predicted that one of the Twelve would betray him.  Jesus then took the bread, blessed it, broke it and distributed it saying “This is my body”.  He then took the cup and said “This is my blood which seals God’s covenant.  I will never drink again of the cup until I drink it in the kingdom of God”.  Jesus then made a second prediction: that the disciples will run away but that he would see them again in Galilee after he had risen.  Peter said that he would not leave him and then Jesus made a third prediction – that Peter would deny him three times before morning.

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The Last Supper

 (c) Explain the meaning of the Last Supper for Mark.

  • Jesus is shown as an observant Jew who fulfilled the requirements of the Law on Passover, the Passover meal which all Jews experienced - evident by the bowl,bread,wine and hymns which are described by Mark. It is possible that when Jesus describes the bowl in which the disciples dip their bread, he is talking about the Seder bowl of bitter herbs.
  •  All of Jesus’ words and actions at this meal have significance and greater meaning when placed in the context of his passion (suffering, death and resurrection).  Even though disciples have not understood the significance of his actions, he was also speaking to the greater Christian audience.
  • Mark wants to make a connection between the first Passover and the Last Supper. The Passover meal remembered how God freed his people from slavery with the blood of a lamb.  At the last supper Jesus showed how God would free people from sin through his blood (the lamb of God). The Passover Lamb had to be without blemish, this connection emphasizes Jesus’ innocence. Mark wanted his readers to understand that Jesus’ death signalled the new covenant, or relationship, with God.
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The Last Supper

  • As the Son of God, Jesus understood this to be his last meal so his words and actions have special significance, even though the disciples did not know this at the time.  Jesus looked forward to a future when he would enjoy a Messianic banquet in heaven, he also gave his disciples a way by which they could remember him.
  • Jesus predicts his death and resurrection, emphasising that all that will happen is part of God’s plan, and in accordance with the Old Testament prophecies. This also shows us that Jesus can tell the future and is clearly in control.  This shows that suffering and death have a redemptive value, this would encourage the Christians for whom Mark was writing who were being persecuted. 
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The Last Supper

(c) Explain the significance of the Last Supper for Mark.

·         Mark tells us that the Passover was when the lambs were sacrificed in the Temple.  The sacrifice of lambs symbolized the covenant, or promise, God had made with the Jews to save them.  Jesus was about to shed his blood as a sign of a new covenant between God and his people, which would save them from sin and death.

·         Mark links the Last Supper to the Feast of the Passover, which the Jews celebrated to remember the difficult times their ancestors went through.  By making this link, Mark’s account of the Last Supper reminds Christians of the suffering that they would experience

·         When Mark was writing his Gospel, he was aiming to bring comfort to the persecuted Christians so he wanted to show them the connection between the Passover, where God saved the Jewish people, and the new covenant, in which Christ’s death will save the people from their sins and offer them eternal life.

·         By making reference to the scripture passages, Mark’s readers understood that Jesus was the one predicted in the Old Testament – the Messiah they had been waiting for and the one who rose from the dead to save them.

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