This would not be just another meal together. It would be miraculous and meaningful from the first to the last.
Never knowing for sure what Jesus would do from one moment to the next, the Twelve were sure of one thing: it was time for the Passover meal. They asked Jesus what they should do. He chose two of them to go ahead to find a place. Events unfolded just as Jesus said they would and the meal was prepared in a borrowed upper room.
As the familiar meal progressed, Jesus made a remarkable statement:
“…one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.”
First there was a moment of disbelieving silence then there was a chorus of denials and personal questions, “Master is it I?” Each of them knew that he was capable of such a horrible thing and hoped against hope that he would not be the guilty one. Surely only someone not of their group would do such a thing. Jesus insisted it was one the Twelve sharing that meal, that night. Sorrow filled the upper room as heads shook from side to side in disbelief and hearts raced with fear. Who could or would do such a thing? What would Jesus do to him? As if He heard their hearts, Jesus went on:
“…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.”
All hunger was gone as the ceremonial food and wine graced the table before them. Jesus took the unleavened bread and broke it, blessed it, and distributed it to each of the men.
“Take, eat; this is My body.”
He took the cup of wine, gave thanks and gave it to each of them and each of them drank from it. He said it represented His blood, that of a New Covenant. He would not eat or drink again until the Kingdom was established. They sang a hymn and returned to a Garden on the side of the Mount of Olives where Jesus loved to pray.
The mood was a somber one and no one spoke, each man lost in his own thoughts and fears.
Jesus broke the heavy silence:
“All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
This was too much for Peter. His shouted protest sent roosting birds flying from their nests, breaking the solemnity of the evening.
“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”
The eleven disciples lowered their heads in embarrassment for Peter. For all his boast, he was no better than the rest of them. Jesus smiled at Peter, that disarming smile that tore away a man’s pride.
“…even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”
Peter was insulted now and spoke even louder, the noise of a man unsure of his own heart.
“If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”
Peter’s blustery courage seemed to infect the others and they aligned with him, agreeing that none of them would ever do such a thing. No one noticed that Judas had slipped away into the night.
Mark 14: 12-31
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?” And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.” So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover. In the evening He came with the twelve. Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?” He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 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.” 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.” 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. Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.’ “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.
Lord Jesus, may my courage never prove to be only bluster. My heart’s desire is to follow wherever You may lead. You know this already and You also know that I am only human. My deeds sometimes stray from my intentions. You know my heart and all its secrets. I invite Your Holy Spirit there to do the work only He can do. I have eaten the bread and drank from the cup You instituted that night. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for me the substance and life of You, Lord Jesus, “the holy food and drink of new and unending life.” Amen.
In Love for Me
Words: Carol Owens. Music: Jimmy Owens
This is my body, broken for you,
Bringing you wholeness, making you free.
Take it and eat it, and when you do,
Do it in love for me.
This is my blood, poured out for you,
Bringing forgiveness, making you free.
Take it and drink it, and when you do,
Do it in love for me.
Do it in love for me.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved