The last supper

This is written by Pip Coombs. She is a final year student midwife and is married to Matt.

Mark 14:12-31

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 predicts Peter's denial
27 'You will all fall away,' Jesus told them, 'for it is written:

'"I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered."

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.'

29 Peter declared, 'Even if all fall away, I will not.'

30 'Truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'today - yes, tonight - before the cock crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.'

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And all the others said the same.

Reflection

Oh Peter! Was there ever a more relatable character in the Bible? Impulsive, bold and sometimes a little bit cowardly. In this passage we see Peter at it once again. After Jesus tells the disciples they would each leave him in some way, Peter emphatically responds saying there is no way that he would do that. And spoiler alert - he goes onto to do exactly that and deny Jesus three times exactly as Jesus predicted, but we'll come to that in a few days time.

I don't really know what is going on in Peter's head when he is speaking to Jesus, but he said "even if all fall away, I will not" (v29). He's very quick to compare himself to the other disciples. It's as though failure and rejection of Jesus are for lesser mortals. He's either very earnest and sure of himself, or just a bit arrogant.

I wonder if like me you find it far easier to see the flaws and weaknesses in others, than in ourselves.

Peter makes all sorts of mistakes in the Bible, but also has some really exceptional moments too. As I read this passage it reminded me that we are all a mixed bag, we're all going to mess up from time to time. We make mistakes. Deep down we know it, Jesus knows it. There is no need to run and hide from it. No need to compare ourselves to others. No need to make excuses.

Instead we should come to the table that Jesus has laid before us and drink from the cup of forgiveness, with humility, knowing he has done what we could never do in our own strength. It is poured out for many, the betrayers, the liars, the deluded, the proud, and know that we are loved beyond measure. Jesus never gave up on Peter, and he'll never give up on you either.

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