New Meaning for Old Traditions

Key Verse: “He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.”
—Mark 14:24

Lesson Scripture:
Mark 14:12-25

THE FIRST DAY OF UNLEAVENED bread, when they killed the Passover, Jesus’ disciples said unto him, “Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?” (Mark 14:12) So Jesus sent two of his disciples into the city where he told them to meet a man carrying a jar of water, and follow him as he entered a house. The Lord said to ask the owner where the room was located in which they were to eat the Passover. Finding everything furnished and ready, as Jesus had told them, they prepared the Passover meal.—vss. 13-16

In the evening, Jesus came with the twelve. When they took their places, and were eating, he revealed that “One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.” (vs. 18) No doubt his remarks were based upon the prophetic scripture of Psalm 41:9, which reads, “Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” This disclosure instantly shocked the disciples, and “They began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.”—vss. 19-21

The most solemn moments of the Passover celebration occurred immediately after Jesus divulged what he was about to experience in suffering and death. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. He said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”—vss. 22-24, New International Version

Jesus could not have meant that the bread was turned into his actual body, and the wine into his actual blood. He could not have meant more than to say, This bread symbolically represents my body which is to be broken for you, and this wine represents my blood, my life, which is to be given up. This symbolism was to represent the merit of the ransom price Jesus was to pay by giving up his perfect humanity and life to redeem his church (the firstborn), and all mankind. As Jesus said, “The Son of man came … to give his life a ransom for many.”—Matt. 20:28

Jesus spoke of the cup, the fruit of the vine, as representing the blood of the New Covenant. The Law Covenant was the old covenant which failed to bring blessings to the Jews because they could not keep it. God promised a New Covenant, however; a better one which would be introduced by a better mediator than Moses. God declares the New Covenant will accomplish for the world what the old covenant could not. The New Covenant will be inaugurated by Messiah, its Mediator at his Second Advent. His kingdom, established in power and great glory, will rule, bless, and instruct mankind—taking away the stony hearts, and giving hearts of flesh to all responding to the righteous kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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