On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So He sent two of His disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” The disciples left, went into the city, and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, He said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with Me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
“It is one of the Twelve,” He replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with Me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is My body.” Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” He said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown Me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
As I was reading this part in Mark 14:12-31 about finding the room for the Passover feast, I couldn’t help but think about the way it was set up. Did Jesus know the owner of the house previously? Did the owner owe Jesus or His earthly family something? I wonder this one simply because of the way Jesus told His 2 disciples to ask the guy: “The teacher asks, ‘Where’s My room’?” Maybe that’s just the way Teachers asked, and so for Jesus to reserve it, maybe He did so for the sake of how the owner expected to be asked by a Teacher? Maybe he wouldn’t have listened or taken them seriously if he wasn’t asked in that way? Either way, it just seemed a bit odd.
There’s really a lot of great stuff going on here, as well as a lot of great info on the Lord’s Supper. But instead of digging into all that, I’d like to touch on Jesus’ 3 party-pooping comments:
1) Jesus and the 12 were sitting at the table, reclining at a fellowship-based meal. Events leading up to this point included:
- The turning point of Mark’s Gospel, when Simon acknowledged Jesus as the promised Messiah
- The Transfiguration
- Jesus’ grand entry into Jerusalem
- The fig tree
- Signs of the end to keep watch for
- and now, they’re eating with Jesus, celebrating the Passover with a feast – happy times.
Then, out of nowhere, Jesus says, “I tell you the Truth, one of y’all will betray me.” Talk about a music-stopper! A Bombshell! I mean, how would you feel if your Pastor (or Youth Pastor) said that to you? No wonder the scripture says they were all saddened.
And right after Jesus mentions the betrayal, He verifies, “One who’s eating with Me.” In a sense, that’s a good thing to hear, for I’m sure there were several workers serving them their meal. So it’s clear that it’s not one of them, but somebody who’s eating with Him…so the servants are in the clear. But what if it’s not just the 12 eating with Jesus? We know that several women often accompanied them on their journeys, also funding His ministry. Understand, I’m not saying for sure that there were others there eating with them. I’m just saying that Jesus’ means of narrowing it down to the one who will betray Him seems to suggest it:
Many there, plus servants. Jesus says, “One of you will betray Me. One who’s eating with Me.”
(Whew!) Servants are in the clear, and all guests are now freaking out, to the point where they wonder “Surely, not I?” Then Jesus responds, “One of the twelve – one who dips bread into the bowl with Me.”
(Whew!) The rest of the guests can now relax. But the 12 are freaking out.
So now, all who aren’t close enough to reach the bowl are in the clear.
See, Jesus started off addressing them all, and slowly began narrowing it down. Then, while the 12 are still freaking out, Jesus gets into the elements, they sing a hymn, then go for a walk.
2) Jesus drops His next bombshell in verse 27: “You will all fall away.” Then to top it off, He backs it up with prophecy! Who can defend themselves from against prophecy, especially when the man standing there telling you this is confirmed in the Scriptures’ prophecy? But Simon tries, saying “Even if all (these other guys here) fall away, I won’t!”
Oh Peter, always putting your foot in your mouth:
- The Transfiguration
- Rebuked Jesus when He told him that He’ll suffer and be killed
- And now here.
I’ve heard several sermons on this, all pointing to Peter’s over self-confidence, pride and separation. Yes, separation. They had just finished partaking in a communal meal (communion), a meal with community at its center. And now, Simon separates himself from them, claiming that his faith and loyalty to Christ is greater than that of anybody else’s there.
I’m sure we would all like to be able to say this: (crossing fingers and saying “Jesus and I are like ‘this’!”) In a sense though, even claiming such and believing it in your heart puts you in line with the Pharisees and Teachers of the religious Law. Why? Because there’s no humility in it. Nobody can be peers with Jesus. We can be friends of/with Jesus (in fact, we must be friends with Him), but not peers. And thinking we are peers with Him, or that we’re more special than everyone else, or that we have more faith or understanding than others, puts us at risk of building pride, leading also to failure. And this is exactly what happened to Simon.
3) Jesus: “Actually, Simon, today, yes tonight, before the rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny me 3 times.” You can see how far Simon’s pride in himself raised, for even after Jesus told him what will happen, Simon refused to believe it, even trying to convince Jesus that He was wrong, saying, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you!” And all the others agreed, claiming the same about themselves.
If you try to tell Jesus He’s wrong about something, or about you, then you need to examine yourself. And if Jesus reveals to you about something that will happen, then no matter how hard you try to prevent it from happening, it will still happen. In fact, God knows you so well that most often, you’ll find that His timing in making it happen even included the time you put into trying to prevent it.