Easter is one of my favorite holidays, and not because of all the tempting candies that suddenly appear in my house! I’m drawn to the holiday because of what happens in the days which immediately precede it. We spend the days before Easter aligning our hearts to Jesus’ suffering in order to truly engage what he did for us on the cross. Before we can give genuine and exuberant Easter thanks for the risen Savior, we must first encounter his great suffering. We prepare our hearts, and then we remember and celebrate his sacrifice. Today’s passage details Jesus’ own example of preparation as he taught those closest to him how to remember.
- What things do you do in order to align your heart with Jesus’ suffering?
READ THE WORD: MARK 14:10-25 (ESV)
10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 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.”
- In the time of preparation for the Passover, what was Judas doing (vss. 10-11)? Contrast his actions with those of two other disciples, revealed as Peter and John in Luke 22:8 (vss. 12-16).
- During the Passover meal, what did Jesus say about the one who would betray him (vss. 18-21)?
- What did Jesus do twice as he instituted the sacrament known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper (vss. 22-23)? (Note that “blessing” in this context connotes a prayer of thanksgiving.)
- What are you doing to remember Jesus’ sacrifice? How do you honor Jesus when you remember his suffering with thanksgiving in your heart?
RESPOND TO GOD
In this passage, there are many different acts: opportunism, betrayal, underhandedness, obedience, explanation, and preparation. But one sacred, symbolic act stands out. At a Jewish ritual of remembrance—a Passover meal that Jesus “had earnestly desired” to share with his apostles “before he suffered” (Luke 22:15)—Jesus gave a lingering lesson to all present, including his betrayer. He broke and poured out as a tangible symbol of his own breaking, his own pouring out. He taught us the best way to remember his suffering—with thanksgiving. Now we are the ones who break and pour, take and eat, in order to follow his command to remember (Luke 22:19).
- Spend some prayerful time contemplating the immeasurable gift of Jesus’ suffering.
- Praise him with your words of gratitude.