2012-01-26 / Worship

The Passover celebration according to the Gospel

(Mark 14:12-17, 22-26)

The time for Passover had come, and the apostles asked Jesus where He wanted them to spread the Passover meal (the seder). He sent two of the them into the city to find a man carrying a pitcher of water. Jesus instructed them to follow the man home and ask permission of the owner to use his guest chamber. Jesus assured them that the man would be receptive to their request, and the two apostles found everything just as He promised. Read Mark 14:12-17, 22-26.

The apostles had no idea what was about to happen. They expected the same festive Passover that all Jews celebrated (and still celebrate) every year, commemorating their deliverance out of slavery in Egypt.

But Jesus knew that this Passover was going to be very different for Him and his apostles, as well as for all of mankind. Jesus was setting the stage for a new tradition that they would initiate that night. This new “passover” would celebrate for all earthly time to come, the deliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin.

In teaching his apostles to observe this new “church passover,” Jesus established the first and holiest tradition of his church. This ritual was carried out for the apostles and for all who, through the witness of those apostles, would come to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

For the followers of Jesus – then and today, over 2,000 years later – the new tradition that He established that night became the holiest of sacraments. Today, various denominations call the ceremony Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, or the Sacrament of the Altar. Verses 22-26 are recited in the service in remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for the sins of all mankind. The broken bread represents his broken and bruised body, and the wine represents the blood that He shed on the cross.

Jesus gave us this beautiful and solemn rite over 2,000 years ago so that we would never forget his great sacrifice on our behalf. He died on the cross to purchase our salvation from the hopelessness of sin. The only response required on our part is to repent of our sin and accept Him as personal Savior.

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