MARK 14:1-26 (NIV – UK)
Jesus anointed at Bethany
1 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 ‘But not during the festival,’ they said, ‘or the people may riot.’
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly.
6 ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, [Deuteronomy 15:11] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
The Last Supper
12 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?’
13 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. 14 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?” 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’
16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 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.’
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, ‘Surely you don’t mean me?’
20 ‘It is one of the Twelve,’ he replied, ‘one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 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.’
22 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.’
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. 25 ‘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.’
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus sends the disciples ahead to make preparations for their Passover meal – he knows exactly where to send them and what they should expect to find (v. 13-16). Jesus knows his fate – he knows the path he walks. Jesus even offers them a sign that he is to give his body and pour out his blood for many (v. 22-24). Jesus knows he is moving ever closer towards his gruesome fate, yet he doesn’t turn back – he is embracing it because he loves his Father and he loves us.
That this is Passover and that Jesus speaks of his blood being poured out for many is significant. In Exodus 12, when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, the Lord commanded every Israelite household to sacrifice a lamb and paint the blood of the lamb on their door frames. The Lord would then pass over the houses where the blood of the lamb is painted, saving their firstborns. When Jesus speaks of his blood being poured out for many, therefore, he means to say that he is the True Passover Lamb (John 1:29) – his blood will be poured out to save all those who will accept it.
Question: How does it make you feel to know that Jesus knew his fate, yet lovingly continued towards it for you?