Thursday, July 26th. Mark 14:17-25

When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

 

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  Mark 14:17-25

 

I believe there is one table.  There are chairs for everyone.  Far too many of those chairs sit empty.  And those at the table are amazed to see the riff raff sitting around them.

 

As a pastor, whether it was last Sunday in a beautiful sanctuary or yesterday morning in a nursing home, I have the incredible privilege of repeating those very same words that Jesus himself used when gathering around that table with his friends.  “This is my body.”  “This is my blood.”  For you.

 

So it is that I read the Old Testament and find myself amazed at how much dirty laundry its Jewish authors hung out for the world to see.  For some reason, rooted I think in its focus on the gracious power of God and the courageous confession of fallen people, the Old Testament pulls no punches in describing people as both fallen and redeemed, blessed and broken, saint and sinner.

 

Adam and Eve trade paradise for a snack.  No sooner freed from 400 years of slavery and the people want to go back into slavery for the sake of a fleshpot of food.  Moses gets the commandments on the mountaintop while the people dance around idols.  David achieves the glory of his kingship and overpowers the wife of an honorable man.  God sends prophets and they are rejected, abused, ignored, or killed.  Relentless willingness to tell the truth of human brokenness that I find amazing.

 

So, given that history, how could it be other than Jesus gathering with his friends for this last meal, with a guest list that included the very disciple who would sell his soul, sell his Savior, for 30 pieces of silver?

 

So why is it, I wonder again and again, that people today still battle (or others impose) the expectation that they have to be “good enough”, to be “worthy”, to “qualify” to sit around that table and receive that blessed Body and Blood?  Why do we dump so many layers of rules and regulations and side-long glances and look what she’s wearing and denominational in-fighting and liturgical gymnastics around this simple act of repeating words and eating bread and drinking wine (fermented or not, from a chalice or a cup or a little plastic glass as if ANY of that matters to Jesus who is ever and ALWAYS the one and only Host of that meal?)

 

Say whatever you want about the church, the faith, or the tired litany of horrible things done throughout history in the name of God….say anything you want…get it off your chest if you need to…but for me it will always come down to this:  Judas ate that bread too.  Only after he had eaten did Jesus send him out to do his dirty work.

 

If there is room for Judas at that table, there is room for us too.

 

Far too many of those chairs are empty.  And we have the privilege of having been sent out to call a still broken world home for dinner.

 

Let us pray:  Thank you, Lord, for coming to us again and again and again, that we might receive your love in bread and wine, around your table, for the sake of your mission in the world.  Use us as signs of your love, that the world might taste and know that the Lord is good.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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6 Responses to “Thursday, July 26th. Mark 14:17-25”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    !!! amen !!!

  2. Marla Says:

    Your words are a blessing and always speak to what we need to hear. Thank you.

  3. Karen Says:

    I love the notion that there are places set at the table for every single person and that we are only called to usher them in and welcome them in the name of Jesus as they arrive.

  4. Mary Says:

    Another amen.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    And another amen!

  6. Sharon Longnecker Says:

    This was so enlightening and helpful. This whole series on Mark has been stellar is usefulness for application, as well as insightful. Thank you sooo much.

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