These small group studies of the gospel of Mark contain outlines, commentary, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Mark 14:22-31 Small Group Bible Study Notes
I. Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper (22-26)
II. Jesus prophecies Peter’s denial (27-31)
I. Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper (22-26)
What does Jesus mean that the bread is His body?
What did Jesus do before eating of the bread and drinking of the cup? Why? What precedent is there for us?
What does he mean that the cup is His blood, poured out for many?
What is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper? Why should we do it?
How often should we do it?
Matthew 26:26-30 – Parallel passage in Matthew.
Luke 22:14-20 – Parallel passage in Luke.
Acts 2:42-47 – They devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship and breaking bread.
1 Corinthians 10:16-22 – One loaf demonstrates the unity of believers in the body.
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 – More in depth discussion of the Lord’s Supper.
Verse by Verse Commentary
What is the Lord’s Supper?
It is an ordinance established by Jesus for His disciples and all future believers. As such it Is one of only two ordinances, including baptism, established for the church. It was established by Jesus at the Passover celebration meal. This is not a coincidence. The Jews celebrated God’s deliverance of the Passover yearly. Jesus is now showing His disciples that there is something more important to remember, His death.
How often should we partake of the Lord’s Supper?
This is an oft argued point among believers. Various denominations hold different views. Some are steadfast in their belief that it should be held every week. Others are steadfast that it should be only once a month. Still other denominations hold it quarterly, yearly, or for special events. A few weeks ago, we learned to ask a question when facing controversial topics. What is the question? “What does the Bible say?”In this case, the Bible does not say. While the believers in Acts (20:7-11) appear to have held it once a week, there is no written command that we do likewise. If Jesus had a very specific time line in mind which He wanted us to follow, I can only assume that He would have told us. Since He didn’t, we should fight about It or look down on others who do it more or less often than we do. The point is that true believers must take part in it.
What is the Lord’s Supper?
This has also been a source of some debate and controversy in church history. Catholics believe intransubstantiation. This is a fancy word which means they believe that the bread literally/magically turns into Jesus’ body and the cup literally/magically turns into His blood (they will point to John 6:53-54 as evidence for this view).
Because there is no visible evidence of the bread and cup actually changing at the Lord’s Supper, Luther came up with the theory of consubstantiation. This believes that the bread and cup are spiritually Jesus’ body and blood. The bread and cup are literally, but not locally Jesus’ body/blood.
There are a couple of other views, held by Calvinists and other denominations. These can be generally grouped under the symbolic view. This view holds that the bread/cup are not Jesus’ actual body/blood, but are meant to represent His body and blood. Reformed groups would likely hold that this is a sacrament, which is a means of grace in the life of believer, while Baptists and others would say it is completely symbolic and has no power to accomplish anything of itself in the life of a believer.
Which view do you hold and why?
The below article from https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/477-what-are-transubstantiation-and-consubstantiation gives clear reasons why hermeneuticaly this should be interpreted figuratively rather than literally.
“One of the fundamental canons in identifying figurative language is this. Normally, a word should be viewed as literal, unless other considerations make it impossible to interpret the term in that light. Determinative factors that are essential to making the proper judgments are these: context, both immediate and remote (i.e., discussion of the same subject in other biblical references), grammar, consistency (the Scriptures do not contradict themselves), common sense (i.e., does a literal interpretation imply an absurdity?).
An appropriate application of these hermeneutic principles will force the serious Bible student to the conclusion that the biblical references to the Lord’s supper as the “body” and “blood” of Christ must be interpreted figuratively, not literally. Consider the following points.
When Jesus took bread and fruit of the vine, gave these objects to the disciples, and said, “this is my body . . .this is my blood” (Mt. 26:26-28), he quite obviously was not speaking literally, for he still possessed his literal body and blood! Moreover, at the same time, Christ specifically identified the drink as “this fruit of the vine” (v. 29). The nature of the substance had not changed.
There is a common figure of speech that is known as metaphor. The metaphor is a dramatic image by which one thing is compared to another, but being represented figuratively as that very thing.
Of the tribal descendants of Judah, Jacob said: “Judah is a lion’s whelp” (Gen 49:9) — certainly not literally, but having certain lion-like traits. When Jesus referred to Herod as a “fox” (Lk. 13:31-32), no one understood him to imply that the ruler was a four-legged animal with a bushy tail! Christ once said: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn. 15:5).
Every careful student knows that the Savior employed symbolism by this language. An analogy was being drawn; the language was not to be pressed literally.
The fact that Jesus instructed the disciples to subsequently partake of the Lord’s supper “in remembrance” of him (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24) contains the implication that he would not be present physically in the communion celebration.”
What is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper?
Jesus instituted this on the very last night before His death. This meal was very special to Him as a time to give last instructions and reminders to His disciples. This was one of the very most important commands He had for them, as evidenced by the priority given to it on the eve of His death.
Fortunately, this is not a difficult question because Jesus already answered it. See Luke 22:14-20. Jesus commanded them to take the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him. Thus the Lord’s Supper is not a complicated theology. Instead it is to celebrated with a very basic goal in mind, to remember Jesus’ death and by implication His resurrection. Jesus’ death/resurrection for sinners is THE most important event in the history of the world. He forfeited His own holy and blameless life to save us, redeem us, adopt us, and bring us up to live with Him in heaven. What kind of followers would we be if we didn’t strive our best to remember and memorialize what He did for us. Abraham Lincoln uttered the famous phrase “[the world] can never forget what you did here” during his Gettysburg address. If the world doesn’t forget the sacrifices of those soldiers how much more should we remember the sacrifice of its very Creator, the Son of God.
One article at https://www.gci.org/church/lordssup/qanda gives a good summary of the purpose of the Lord’s Supper.
Firstly, it looks back to the death of Jesus on the cross. In so doing we are somber and sorrowful at what Jesus had to suffer because of us. If you are driving a car and your mistake causes the suffering of an innocent bystander you can’t help but feel responsible and sorrowful, even guilty at what happened. It is healthy for us to have the same feelings of regret and sorrow at what Jesus had to suffer because of our sins. Do you often thank Christ for what He has done for you or do you take it for granted?
At the same time, there is joy that Jesus was victorious over death (Hebrews 2:9, 14-15).
Secondly, the Lord’s Supper is a look upward. 1 Corinthians 10:16. It shows our willingness to share in Christ, to follow Him even to the point of persecution and death. It is a reminder that Jesus is victorious, has conquered Satan, and currently sits on His throne having already achieved our redemption.
Thirdly, it is a look inward. See 1 Corinthians 11:28. We are to examine ourselves and confess any sin in our lives prior to taking the Lord’s Supper. Are we worthy of Christ’s death? Of course not. Since we aren’t, we must take this time to confess our sins and admit our total reliance upon Christ and throw ourselves upon His mercy. Do you examine yourself when taking the bread/cup or just do it nonchalantly?
Fourthly, it is a look around. In 1 Corinthians 10:17 we learn that one loaf represents one body. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for us we can have true unity with people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, and positions. When taking communion our color, career, and car don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that we have been cleansed through His blood and are part of His family. Look at your neighbor on your left and your right. Do you treat them as family? Do you truly fellowship with them? Do you encourage them in their walks with the Lord?
Finally, it is a look forward. Jesus said that He would not drink from the fruit of the vine until that day… in the kingdom of God. This seems to indicate that Jesus would not drink wine until He returns and sets up His earthly kingdom. At the same time, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that whenever we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Are you looking forward?
What lessons have you learned about communion which you need to apply? What changes will you make the next time you take communion?
Singing a hymn –Aha, after years of searching, I have now found the definitive verse that teaches us we should sing only hymns and not modern praise and worship songs! Well, actually not since this is a narrative of what they did. However, we can learn a few lessons from Jesus’ example?
1. Singing is a good and acceptable way of worshiping God.
2. You do not need to be in temple or church to sing to the Lord.
3. It is good to have a habit of singing hymns/songs to the Lord together with brothers and sisters in Christ in casual settings, not only in worship services.
4. Singing is a productive and meaningful activity you can participate in with other believers whether few or great in number.
5. Anyone can sing even if you haven’t been professionally trained.
II. Jesus prophecies Peter’s denial (27-31)
What does it mean that they would all fall away?
Did this happen? When?
What else did He tell them about what was going to happen?
How did Peter respond to this? What can we learn about Peter?
What were the others saying? What can we learn about them?
What should Peter and the other disciples have said?
What lessons can we learn from this passage?
Zechariah 13:7-9 – Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.
Mark 14:66-72 – Peter did deny Jesus three times.
Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before the fall.
Proverbs 11:2 – With the humble is wisdom.
Galatians 6:3 – If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing he deceives himself.
Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
James 4:6 – He gives more grace. He is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.