Mark 14:12… On the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him where he wanted them to prepare the Passover meal.
Being Jewish means lots of celebrations. First, there was the feast of Pentecost. This one commemorated God’s merciful provisions at harvest time (Ex. 23:16). It’s very same feast the Jews were commemorating when the Holy Spirit descended in Acts 2. Second, there was the feast of Tabernacles (Booths). It reflected back on Israel’s 40-year wanderings in the wilderness following the exodus from Egypt. They lived in tents, hence, the feast of tabernacles (a movable tent). During that time they were fully dependent on God to provide for all their needs (Lev. 23:33-43). Third, there was the Day of Atonement which was the most holy day of the year. The high priest would offer a goat on behalf of the people to atone for their sins, and the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the altar symbolizing God’s stipulation of atonement for the sins of His people (Lev. 23:27-32). There were other feasts, but these were the principal ones.
The greatest feast of the Jews, however, was Passover, and it was closely associated with the feast of Unleavened Bread which followed Passover for seven days making an eight-day feast. The Passover commemorated God’s deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian captivity in 1446 BC under Moses. Passover began on Nisan 14 (April/May) and was followed from the 15th to the 21st with the feast of Unleavened Bread – which was named after the bread the Jews ate the night they left Egypt. This bread had no leaven (yeast) which would make it soft. The Bible often uses leaven as a metaphor for evil because it influences the bread. So bread without leaven symbolized leaving evil influences behind in Egypt which represented slavery and idolatry. This is why unleavened bread was eaten during the seven days that followed the Passover feast.
Moses prescribed that the Jews select a lamb to be slaughtered on Nisan 10 (formerly called Abib) and keep it in the house until the 14th when the head of the household would kill the lamb and roast it (Ex. 12:2-6). In the year Jesus was crucified (AD 33) the tenth of the month was a Monday. Therefore the disciples would have selected a lamb on the Monday of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (cf. Mark 11:1). On Tuesday Jesus cleansed the temple, and on Wednesday he taught extensively there then gave his Olivet Discourse (Mark 13). On Thursday, Nisan 14, he observed the Passover, and on that same Thursday, according to the Jewish day being sunset to sunset (our Friday), he was also offered as the Passover Lamb around 3:00 p.m.
After the slaughter of the lambs at Passover, there was an enormous amount of blood that flowed into the nearby Kidron valley from the altar. It would flow into the river there, and for many days afterwards the blood made the water bright crimson red. One commentator notes that this served as a reminder to the Jews of the necessity of shed blood to atone for sins – innocent animal blood. But Hebrews 10:4 says, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Therefore it is obvious that the OT sacrifices only served as pictures of the perfect sacrifice that Jesus Christ would make by giving his life as the sacrifice for many. In His sinless perfection he offered himself as “one sacrifice for sins for all time” (Heb. 10:12).
Food for Thought
John 19:14 notes that it was about noon (sixth hour) on Friday when Jesus was condemned to die by crucifixion. John noted the time in connection with that Friday being “the day of preparation for the Passover” because he shows how just hours later, when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the temple, THE Passover Lamb (Jesus) was being slaughtered on the cross. Truly “Christ is our Passover” having been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Mark 14:12-16… The disciples asked Jesus, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 He sent two of them saying, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a water jar will meet you. Follow him. 14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples left, went into the city, and found things just as he said; and they prepared the Passover.
In Mark 14:12 the date is Nisan 14, the day of the Passover, on the Thursday night before Jesus’ death. This is the night that he will celebrate the Passover meal and later be arrested by the Jews following Judas’ betrayal of him into the hands of the chief priests.
The disciples asked Jesus in v. 12 where they were going to eat the Passover. This inquiry probably came on Thursday morning. They had most certainly already selected a lamb to be slaughtered (though the Gospels never say this), and they likely had already purchased the bitter herbs, fruits, nuts, and unleavened bread that accompanied the Passover feast. Now they just needed to know where they were going to eat. The Passover meal was only to be eaten within the Jerusalem city limits. Those city limits had to be expanded each year during Passover with all of the pilgrims coming into the city. Each person had to find a place to eat their Passover meal, and they had to do so in groups of no less than ten people. Hence, the disciples’ inquiry.
Jesus had a location already in mind, but it was unknown to the disciples and for good reason. Mark says that he sent two disciples to find the place, and Luke 22:8 says that it was Peter and John who went. They were to find a man that they did not know, for Jesus only told them that they would find a “certain man carrying a jar of water.” This man would stand out to them, however, because it was highly unusual for a man to carry a jar of water – it was normally a task for women. This unnamed man was the servant of another household, and Jesus told them that he would lead them to the place where the meal was to be eaten. They would then go to the owner of the home, explain their mission, and they would then be shown a large upper room furnished and ready for their Passover feast with Jesus. Clearly, Jesus wasn’t making things up as he went along. He had already made arrangements for the Passover beforehand.
When one recalls that Judas “ was seeking how to betray Jesus at an opportune time” (Mark 14:11), it becomes clear why Jesus used this covert approach to reserving a room for the Passover. This is why he only sent Peter and John on the mission to secure the house. For if he had made all the disciples aware of the location then Judas would certainly have betrayed him by having him arrested at the Passover feast in that house since he was looking for an opportunity to betray him. By only telling Peter and John, Judas would have no way of knowing where the meal was to be eaten, nor would the other eight disciples, until they arrived there that evening.
So Peter and John obeyed Jesus, found the “certain man carrying the jar of water,” and they made preparations there for the feast. They were likely in charge of having the lamb slaughtered at 3:00 that day, roasting it, and bringing it to the upper room for the feast.
Food for Thought
Peter and John were trusted friends of Jesus. Judas, however, though trusted with the money bag (John 13:29), was only loyal to Jesus so long as he agreed with him. In Mark 14:3-11 Judas found himself at odds with Jesus over money, and only then did his loyalty become clear. Truly, genuine Christians take Jesus at his word, even when the Bible offends their sensibilities. Let us be known as Peter and John were known – as faithful loyal friends of Jesus our Lord.
Mark 14:17-21… Then, when it was evening, he came to the house with the Twelve. 18 While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me will betray me.” 19 They were distressed, and one by one said to him, “Surely not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the Twelve, one who dips his hand with me into the bowl. 21 For the Son of Man will go as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born.”
By evening time when Jesus and his disciples came to the house to eat they had no doubt roasted their lamb and had everything they needed to have an orthodox Passover celebration. The Passover meal Jesus would share with the disciples would be his last opportunity to instruct them and have fellowship with them prior to his death. This was also the time that Jesus would alter the Passover feast of the Old Covenant, which was marked by the spilling of the lamb’s blood in the OT, into the Lord’s Supper of the New Covenant which would be marked by the spilling of His own blood (cf. Luke 22:20). This is why it was of utmost importance that Jesus not be arrested prior to this meal with his disciples. In the same way that he had to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15), he also had to partake of this final Passover. After that event Jesus would allow himself fall into the hands of his betrayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
While they were eating Jesus told them that a traitor was among them. Perplexed, each man began to examine himself as opposed to pointing fingers toward the others. They said, “Surely not I?” They had already begun to celebrate the feast which always began with an opening prayer followed by a cup of red wine. Then there was the ceremonial washing of hands which signified moral and spiritual cleanliness and purity of heart. Next, the Jews would eat bitter herbs which symbolized the cruel bondage the Jews endured while in Egypt for over 400 years. Then they would take another cup of wine while the head of the household – in this case Jesus – would explain the meaning of Passover. The ceremony would continue with the singing of a hymn – the Hallel Psalms of 113-118. Finally, after the singing, the roasted lamb was brought out along with the unleavened bread, and they would all partake of the Passover feast.
Judas had been participating in this ceremony and had “dipped his hand with [Jesus] into the bowl.” This is why Jesus said that his betrayer was one who had done such – it was one who lived with Jesus as one of his closet friends but who was really a devil. So when Jesus said in v. 21, “the Son of Man will go as it is written about him” he was saying that his atoning death was ordained by God from the beginning. This was “written about him” in Psalm 41:9 which says, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has raised up his heel against me.”
Food for Thought
Was Judas all bad? After all, he fulfilled God’s plan in betraying Jesus. Luke 22:3 and John 13:27 say that Satan entered him, and John 6:70 says the he was a devil. Jesus called him the “son of perdition” in John 17:12. Jesus also said, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21). Judas illustrates Hebrews10:26-27, 29: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries… How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Truly, it would have been better for Judas to have not ever seen the light of day.
Mark 14:22-26… While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it. This is my body.” 23 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many. 25 I tell you the truth, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
On Thursday evening Nisan 14 (April 2, AD 33), the day before Jesus was crucified, he and his disciples celebrated the Passover with a feast that commemorated the exodus from Egypt 1,500 years prior. The bread they ate in v. 22 was Jesus’ body, and the cup was his blood – the blood of the New Covenant which made the old covenant obsolete. In the OT blood ratified a covenant made between two people. God did this with Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 15:9-10), and with Moses (Ex. 24:8). When God brought reconciliation between Himself and man He always did so through the shedding of blood, for “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). God ordained that animals, instead of men, had to not only be killed, but their blood had to be shed. Leviticus 17:14 says, “The life of all flesh is in its blood.” So, in order for a life to be truly sacrificed, and for sin to be atoned for, its blood had to be spilled.
Now when Jesus took the bread and said, “This is my body” he clearly was not speaking literally – no more so than when he said, “I am the vine” (John 15:5) or “I am the door” (John 10:7, 9). John reports that Jesus was misunderstood earlier in his ministry and ridiculed greatly when he spoke of his flesh as real food and his blood as real drink (John 6:55-56). But even Jesus clarified that his words were spirit and not literal in John 6:63. Therefore in Mark 14:22 the reader must not mistake Jesus’ words as literal. Jesus, in equating bread with his body and wine with his blood, was instructing the disciples to partake of his death through memorial (cf. 1 Cor. 11:24-25). In the same way that the unleavened bread signified leaving evil influences behind in Egypt during the first Passover, and in the same way that the red wine symbolized the shedding of the lamb’s blood painted on the doorposts so that the death angel would “pass over” them (Ex. 12:13) – so too are the bread and wine in the ordinance of the Lord’s supper only symbolic of Christ’s body and blood which were given as a once for all sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
Jesus inaugurated the New Covenant with the bread and wine. This covenant was ratified in HIS blood. The old covenant required the blood of animals, but that was an inferior covenant. Now the perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ, was to shed His blood one time and for all people. Because of his atoning and perfect sacrifice Jesus is now the Great High Priest who offered one sacrifice on behalf of all – Himself. His blood was “poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
In v. 25 Jesus knew that he would be resurrected and drink this cup again with his disciples. From that day forward the Passover celebration ceased, and the Lord’s Supper replaced it. Today it serves as a reminder, not only of his perfect sacrifice for sins but as a reminder that He will return and eat it again at the marriage supper of the Lamb (cf. Rev. 19:7-9).
Food for thought
Sin separates us from God. Good works can’t reconcile us to Him, but trusting in Jesus does. His shed blood covers all our sins and brings eternal life to those who place their faith in Him alone for salvation. Now our imminent physical death is actually something we don’t have to fear in light of the fact that the blood of Jesus will bring those who trust in His sacrifice into His eternal presence. Now offer your sacrifices to God in the form of praise and thanksgiving.
Mark 14:12… On the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him where he wanted them to prepare the Passover meal.
Mark’s account (along with Matthew and Luke) of the day of Passover seems at odds John 18:28 and 19:14. Matthew, Mark, and Luke say that Christ ate the Passover on the night before he was crucified. This would have been the month of Nisan (modern April/May) on the 14th day, the day specified by God for the Passover (Ex. 12:6) – a Thursday. It’s not possible, however, that Jesus would have eaten it one day early. To do so would have broken the Mosaic law which forbade Passover on any day except Nisan 14. Moreover, this was not viable because the lamb eaten on Passover had to have been slain by the priests in the temple and its blood sprinkled on the altar. And no priest would have performed that ritual a day earlier.
Whereas Mark says that Jesus ate the Passover on Thursday night, John 18:28 says that the Jewish guards who arrested Jesus did not want to enter into Pontius Pilate’s palace the next day because in doing so they would become defiled and be unable to eat the Passover – the very Passover Mark says that Jesus had already celebrated. So if Jesus ate the Passover the previous night when the Jews arrested him, why would the Jewish leaders be concerned about defilement before eating the Passover on Friday? Furthermore, John 19:14 says that after Jesus was arrested and brought before Pilate, the Friday morning of his death, it was “the day of preparation for the Passover.” This would mean that Jesus’ meal the night before was something other than the Passover meal because Friday was the “day of preparation” for the Passover.
The phrase “day of preparation” appears in all the Gospels as the day Jesus died, namely Friday because it was the day the Jews prepared for the Sabbath on Saturday when they could not work. But John 19:14 says that Friday was also the day of preparation for the Passover. So the preparation for the Passover in that specific year was also the day of preparation for the Sabbath (cf. 19:31). The day of preparation for the Passover meant making plans as to where to eat and gathering the required foods. John speaks of this day being the very same day that Jesus died, so once again the question is why did Jesus eat the Passover meal the day before?
From a couple of different sources (Josephus and the Mishnah) it is known that the Jews had two ways of reckoning time. Those from northern Israel in Galilee reckoned a day from sunrise to sunrise. But those from the south in Judea reckoned a day from sunset to sunset. Whereas Nisan 14 for the Galileans was from Thursday at sunrise to Friday at sunrise, the Judeans recognized Nisan 14 as occurring from Thursday evening at sunset to Friday evening at sunset. Jesus, a Galilean, would have celebrated the Passover on Thursday evening Nisan 14 after the slaughter of the lambs from 3 to 5 p.m. John’s Gospel, however, views time from the Judean standpoint. Thursday night the Jews arrested Jesus, and early Friday morning they brought him to Pilate at his palace. But they wouldn’t enter into his palace because it would defile them and keep them from eating the Passover that evening. So clearly the chief priests reckoned time from sunset to sunset and would celebrate the Passover that evening Nisan 15. To them, however, it was still Nisan 14 which didn’t end until the sun went down. So they were still celebrating the Passover on Nisan 14 even though it was Nisan 15 to the Galileans.
This way of reckoning time would have obviously been confusing even to those in that day, but its benefits are obvious. It allowed for two celebrations of Passover, and since there was a myriad of lambs needing to be slaughtered within a two-hour time frame, the dual time reckonings between the two groups gave the priests an additional two hours, for a total of four hours, to slaughter the lambs for all those people – one on Thursday and the other on Friday.
- After the slaughter all blood ran into Kidron Brook as a reminder of sin – a PICTURE
- Hebrews 10:4 says, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
- Jesus, in sinless-ness, offered himself as “one sacrifice for sins for all time” (Heb. 10:12)
- Food for Thought… John 19:14 speaks of Jesus dying around slaughter time. Truly “Christ is our Passover” having been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7).
- The Passover meal to be eaten in Jerusalem with TEN or more.
- Food for Thought… Faithful friends; loyal Christians even when teaching is tough
- A final opportunity to teach (cf. John 13-17)
- Alter the Passover of the old (spilling of the lamb’s blood) into the Lord’s Supper of the New Covenant marked by the spilling of His own blood (cf. Luke 22:20).
- Jesus had to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15)…
- Each man examined himself!
- Judas “dipped his hand with [Jesus] into the bowl.”
- “The Son of Man will go as it is written about him” in Psalm 41:9… “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has raised up his heel against me.”
- Food for Thought… Judas rejected Jesus, Satan entered him (John 13:27), he was a devil (John 6:70), “son of perdition” (John 17:12), better he not be born (Mark 14:21).
- Judas illustrates Hebrews10:26-27, 29…
- Order of the FEAST:
- Opening prayer followed by a cup of red wine.
- Ceremonial washing of hands (moral and spiritual cleanliness and purity of heart)
- Eat bitter herbs which symbolized the cruel bondage
- Another cup of wine while the head of the household explained Passover
- Singing of a hymn – the Hallel Psalms of 113-118
- Partake of the roasted lamb
- In OT blood ratified a covenant made between two people.
- “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).
- Leviticus 17:14 says, “The life of all flesh is in its blood.”
- Would drink again in Rev. 19:7-9
U Note that Jesus washed the feet of Judas and gave him opportunity to repent up to the end.
U Judas: lost for the same reason so many are today: he didn’t repent and believe.
U Judas was angry over Jesus’ response to the “wasted” money.
U Judas sat under all of Christ’s teaching, the most recent being the Olivet Discourse.
U If the eleven were innocent why did they ask, “Is it I?” They knew they were susceptible?
U Jesus did not point Judas out b/c he wanted them to evaluate… “work out your salvation” (Phil. 2:12)… “test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.” (2 Cor. 13:5).
U The “woe” isn’t just for Judas but for all who betray (reject) Christ.
U “Better if he’d not been born”… Jesus condemned his creation for his choice