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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on March 26, 2017 under 2016 |

Preached Sunday, March 26, 2017 from Mark 14:12-26

Theme: In His last meal with His disciples, Jesus revealed His character as our Passover Lamb.

(Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version; copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

Long ago, on that remarkable night just before He delivered the Jewish people from their long bondage in Egypt, God ordained that a meal be observed. It became the most important feast in the Jewish calendar. We’re told about it in Exodus 12.

It occurred in the month of Nisan; which, from then on, became the first of the months of the year to the Jewish people. On the tenth day of that month, each household was commanded to take a lamb, set it apart, and keep it. It was to be a male lamb one year old. They were to make sure that this lamb was perfect—without blemish. And they were to keep this lamb until the fourteenth day of the month.

Try to imagine what that must have been like. Back in those days—and to the people of that culture—a lamb could almost be considered something like a family pet. It would have become precious to the household over those few days. The children even might have fawned over it quite a bit. But there would be a sober sense of the importance of that lamb; because shortly after the fourteenth day had begun in Jewish reckoning—at twilight—every household was to take hold of it … and slay it.

They were to take some of the blood of that precious lamb and apply it to the two doorposts and to the upper beam of the door of the house in which it was to be eaten. And then, they were to immediately roast it in fire with unleavened bread, and flavor it with bitter herbs, and eat all of it that very night. And they were to eat it with a belt around their waists, and with sandals on their feet, and with a staff in their hand—as if they were about to leave in great haste. They were to allow nothing of the lamb to remain for the next day. Whatever was left over in the morning was to be completely burned away with fire—completely devoted to God.

And in Exodus 12:12-13, God told them why they must do this thing in this specific way:

‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 12:12-13).

And then, God commanded that—after this important evening-time meal—the people were to observe a week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was to be observed from the fourteenth day until the twenty-first day. They were to make absolutely sure that they had no leaven in the home—the leaven being symbolic of the impurity of sin. The unleavened bread—not allowed to bake in the oven and rise—was to illustrate how quickly Pharaoh had sent them away from Egypt the next day.

This, then, was to be a feast for the Jewish people to observe for all their days from then on. It was called the Passover—commemorating that remarkable night when God ‘passed over’ the homes upon which He saw the blood, and spared the obedient Jewish people from the judgment He inflicted upon the Egyptians.

And it was in order to observe this very same feast—on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nisan—that Jesus had met together with His gathered disciples to have His last meal with them. It was His final evening with them before going to the cross. And as we read about it in Mark 14, we discover that this ancient observance was symbolic of something greater—and that had its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Himself.

* * * * * * * * * *

Let’s carefully read together the story of Jesus’ last meal with His disciples. Mark 14:12-26 tells us;

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 (Mark 14:12-26).

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ; this passage of scripture—the story of our Savior’s last meal with His disciples—is a truly holy one. Whenever I preach from the Scriptures, I try my best to dig-out the practical implications of it for daily living; but there are some passages—such as this one—for which a ‘practical application’ is not really the best goal. This is a passage that, I believe, is meant mainly to capture our hearts with a sense of wonder over our Savior; and to move us to the deepest level of our being with an appreciation of His great love for us.

You see; it’s not by mere coincidence that verse 12 begins by saying that it was the first day of Unleavened Bread, “when they killed the Passover lamb”. It’s not mere coincidence that it was on that very same night that our Lord was betrayed into the hands of those who arrested Him, and tried Him, and mocked Him, and then had Him crucified. This passage begins that way in order to stress to us who Jesus was!

He Himself was the true Passover Lamb.

And as I have been interacting with this passage over the last week, I have found myself approaching it less as an objective observer, and more as a submitted participant. I have been placing myself, as it were, in the story; and embracing it from the standpoint of a desperately needy sinner. I am a sinner; and I desperately need for Jesus to be for me all of what He is presenting Himself to be in it.

This morning, I invite you to join me in that perspective. Let’s come to this dinner together as sinners who need God’s saving grace. And from it, let’s learn together how Jesus revealed His character as our Passover Lamb.

* * * * * * * * * *

First, I ask that you notice the remarkable way in which this evening meal began. Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked Him where He wanted them to prepare the Passover. They didn’t ask Him if He wanted to celebrate the Passover; because they already knew that He would. He was always faithful to obey the Father’s will. Rather, they just wanted to know ‘where’ He wanted to celebrate it.

And that’s when He sent two of His disciples out to the place where He and the apostles would observe this meal. In another Gospel, we’re told that the two disciples were Peter and John—two men who were very close to Him. And He sent them on an amazing errand. He told them that they were to leave the region of Bethany—where they were—and that they were to make their way into the city of Jerusalem. (That, by the way, was where the Passover was always to be observed.)

Already at that time, the city would have begun to have been crowded over with pilgrims making their way in for the Feast. But in spite of the great numbers of people, He told them that, when they came into the city, they would be immediately met by a particular man carrying a pitcher of water. Historians tell us that this man would have been easy to identify; because pitchers of water were usually only carried by women and only very rarely carried by a man. This man would have stood out to them. And then, they were to follow this particular man into whatever house he went—carrying his pitcher with him. Did this man recognize the two disciples when they came into the city? It didn’t seem that this was so; but it wasn’t necessarily important that he recognized them. It was only important that they recognized him … and that they then followed him into whatever house he entered.

And then, once they entered, they were to go to the master of the house—perhaps the owner of the house or perhaps the chief servant of the household—and say to him, “The Teacher says, ‘Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’”

Isn’t it interesting that they didn’t have to ask, “Excuse me, Sir; do you happen to have a large room available?” In fact, in Matthew’s Gospel, we’re told that they were introduce themselves to him, in a very bold way, by saying, “The Teacher says, ‘My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples’” (Matthew 26:18). Apparently, the master of the house would know immediately who ‘the Teacher’ was. That introduction—and the simple question “Where is the room?”—would be all that the man needed to hear.

And then, Jesus told His two disciples that the master of the house would then take them upstairs and show them an upper room that was furnished and prepared. Jesus told them, “there make ready for us.” And they did as Jesus told them—and amazingly, they found everything just as He had said.

Now obviously, there is a story going on behind-the-scenes in all that we’re not told here. I have often wondered if the Holy Spirit had already worked in the heart of the master of this house to move him to make these things available—perhaps while he pondered how it would be that the Lord would use them. And when the disciples were led to the man, and said what they were told to say to him, then he himself knew. I strongly suspect that this was the case. But however it happened, it is abundantly clear is that this meal—this Passover meal in which Jesus Himself would serve as the Passover Lamb—was something that He had sovereignly ordained Himself, and had prepared in advance.

And I suggest that this advanced preparation on His part shows us the first thing we can learn about the nature and character of our Lord on this night; and that is …


When the Gospel writer Luke tells us that, when the hour for the meal had come, Jesus sat down with the twelve disciples and then shared His heart with them, and said to them,

With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16).

Literally, He said, “with desire I have desired”. This meal was so carefully arranged by our Lord because it was His heart’s longing to be our Passover Lamb. And as a sinner who needs redemption, I am bringing that to bear personally—and am believing that He sincerely desired to be my Passover Lamb, and to lay down His life for me.

I hope—fellow sinner—that you will embrace it as true that Jesus fervently desired to be your Passover sacrifice as well.

* * * * * * * * * *

Now; Mark goes on to write of how—in the evening, after the preparations had been made—Jesus came with the twelve to the meal. And as they ate, Jesus told them the shocking news: “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” The disciples, Mark tells us, “began to be sorrowful” over this. None of them doubted Jesus’ words; because when He spoke, He always spoke the truth. But who among them would do such a thing? They began to ask—one by one—“Is it I?” (And by the way; that’s how sinners like us should respond. I appreciate what one preacher pointed out long ago—that they didn’t point at one another and say, “Is it him?” A true recognition of our own sinful potential would make each one of us ask—in humility—“Is it I?”)

There was one, however, for whom that question would not have been sincere. Satan had already put it into the heart of Judas to betray the Lord; and there he sat—at that very table—after having already begun the work of betraying Him. And this is one case in which I think it helps to read what we’re told in another Gospel. In John 13; John—who was present that evening—wrote that Jesus said,

Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night (John 13:21-30).

The next time Jesus would meet Judas, it would be with the soldiers that the betrayer had brought along to arrest Him. Jesus was having this final meal—knowingly—with the very one who would betray Him; the very one who dipped into the dish with Him. And do you notice that, when the time came, it was Jesus who sent Judas away to do this evil deed? It seems that Judas could not go out to do his evil deed until Jesus said, “What you do, do quickly.”

And this, I believe, shows us yet another quality of our Savior; and that is …


At the beginning of John 13, the apostle John described our Savior’s frame of mind in this way:

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God … (John 13:1-3).

As a needy sinner, it humbles me to know that Jesus desired to be my Passover Lamb. But it humbles me even more to know that He desired this while knowing perfectly what would happen to Him as my Passover Lamb.

Do you know this too, fellow sinner? In fact, because of what is written here, we can know more than even the disciples knew at that time. And if you truly know this, doesn’t it humble your heart with love and deep gratitude for Him who loved you that much?

* * * * * * * * * *

Now; it may be that at this point in the story as Mark tells it to us, Judas had already left the supper and had gone away to tell the chief priests and scribes where they could come and capture Jesus. And yet, Jesus went on to speak further of him. In verse 21, Jesus said, “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.” Dreadful words; aren’t they? In fact, I wonder: Have more dreadful words ever been spoken about any other human being from more righteous lips than these?

A question has sometimes come up as to whether or not Judas still had time to repent. And it may be that he could have. After all, the apostle Peter also went on to deny the Lord Jesus; but he repented and was forgiven. There is a sense in which many of us have denied our Lord and betrayed Him many times; and yet—as broken and needy sinners—we have come back to Him in repentance and have been forgiven. I don’t believe that there is any sin that Jesus’ blood cannot atone for, if the sinner will sincerely come to Him in repentance and ask. But Judas did not come and ask. He regretted his act later—but he did not seek forgiveness. And as a result, he bore the guilt of the most evil sin in all of human history all the way to his horrific end.

I read something from one Bible teacher that really stood out to me. He said that Judas was ultimately lost for the same reason that millions and millions of people are lost today. They knew who Jesus is; but still would not repent of their sin and come to Him to be forgiven and saved by Him. That Bible teacher said that if you will not come to Jesus to be born again, there will come a day when you will wish you had never been born at all. That’s something that’s very much worth thinking about.

But I ask you to notice what Jesus said before He spoke of Judas. He said that “The Son of Man”—and that’s a reference to Himself—“indeed goes just as it is written of Him”. It was written in several places in the Old Testament. And perhaps He meant us to understand that it was written of Him most evidently in Exodus 12—with reference to the Passover Lamb. And what I would like to suggest to you from this is that this shows another quality of our Savior; and that is …


Judas was guilty of great evil. But Jesus was guilty of no wrong whatsoever. He was perfectly obedient to the will of the Father—even to the point of giving Himself obediently as our Passover Lamb without spot or wrinkle.

In the Old Testament—in Isaiah 53—it says this about Him:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth (Isaiah 53:7-9).

Jesus—our Passover Lamb—was like the lamb of old. He had no spot or blemish. He was perfect in all His ways before the Father. And as a sinner, I’m glad for that. I need a sinless Substitute to bear the guilt of my sin on my behalf.

Jesus is that for me. I hope He is that for you.

* * * * * * * * * *

So; we see the character of our Savior in this story. As our Passover Lamb, He fervently desired to be so. He knew fully well what was about to happen, and yet, gave Himself willingly. And He gave Himself innocently—in perfect obedience to the Father.

And that leads us to one more thing. In this story, we find …


Verses 22-26 is a passage that—if the Lord so wills—I would like for us to explore in greater detail next Sunday; because it will be on that Sunday that we will be putting into practice what it says.

But it’s there that Mark tells us that Jesus then—with, I believe, Judas gone at this point—broke bread and gave it to His remaining disciples and told them, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And that He then took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them and told 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.”

Could there have been a clearer picture than that of how our Lord was presenting Himself as the true Passover Lamb at the Passover meal? And just as with that lamb of old, they needed to take and eat and drink—symbolically, as it were, receiving Jesus fully and taking His atoning sacrifice to themselves by faith—symbolically, as it were, spreading His blood upon the doorposts of their own heart.

When I think of this, I think of what Jesus once told the Jewish leaders on another occasion. They didn’t understand what He meant; but I feel that you and I can understand very well what He meant. He told them;

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:53-58).

As a poor and desperately needy sinner, I look on upon our Lord at this meal, and hear His invitation, and I cry out, “Yes, Lord Jesus—be my Passover Lamb! Let me eat of Your flesh! Let me partake of Your blood! Let Your sacrifice on the cross be for me! I embrace it! I believe it! I receive it! I am saved by it!”

I hope that you—fellow sinner—will join me in saying such a ‘yes’ to the invitation of our Passover Lamb.

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