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.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 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.” Mark 14:22-25
As an ordained pastor, one of the profound privileges of my call is to officiate at the Lord’s Table. It is comforting for me to know when I say the words of institution, I am speaking words that date back to my Lord.
What you are looking at today is one of the oldest references to Jesus’ words at the Last Supper. By the 50s AD, Paul uses them in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, telling his audience that the words were handed down to him from the Lord. Depending on when you date Mark, you are looking at a similar timeframe, but you may also be hearing from an eyewitness.
How can I say this? In the last post, I mentioned that some believe Mark’s family were the owners with “the upper room” where his last supper took place, and he may have been there too. But even if that is not the case, if you believe that John Mark passed on the Apostle Peter’s eyewitness account, then what you read could be the first account recorded.
I find great joy and comfort that these words were memorialized in the first decades of the church. They are a beautiful connection with the church throughout history, and we get to carry them into the future until such a time when we feast at the table of the Lamb!
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Worthy is the Lamb!
Help us to never take for granted your table. It connects us to the Living God in the past, present, and future!
I pray in the name of our High Priest and Sacrifice. Amen!