What does Mark 14:22 mean?
ESV: And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”
NIV: 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.'
NASB: While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, 'Take it; this is My body.'
CSB: As they were eating, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."
NLT: As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, 'Take it, for this is my body.'
KJV: And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
NKJV: 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.”
Verse Commentary:
Although the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread doesn't start until the next evening, unleavened bread is still eaten on Passover. It represents the bread the Israelites ate on the eve of their escape from Egypt because they didn't have time to let bread rise (Exodus 12:8). It is necessary to "break" the bread because it is baked in a large, flat disk.

This is not the first time Jesus has compared Himself to bread that His followers must eat (John 6). Back in Capernaum, when confronted by a crowd after He miraculously fed thousands, Jesus accused them of merely wanting Him because He could make a few loaves of bread and a couple fish feed a crowd of thousands. He explained that He is the bread of life.

The symbolism has always been difficult to understand. When Jesus told the people that they needed to "eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood" (John 6:53), many of His followers abandoned Him (John 6:66). When the early church celebrated the Lord's Supper, eating the bread as Jesus' body, their pagan detractors accused them of cannibalism. Catholicism still teaches transubstantiation: that somehow the bread literally becomes Jesus' flesh and the wine His blood.

But Jesus is speaking in a metaphor (John 6:63). When God sent manna to the Israelites in the wilderness, it kept them alive for a time, but eventually they all died. Those who "eat" the bread of life will never die. We must intentionally allow Jesus to become part of us to receive eternal life. Obviously, our bodies die. But if we take the spiritual life Jesus offers, our spirits will live.
Verse Context:
Mark 14:22–25 occurs almost 1500 years after the event that Passover commemorates. Here, Jesus radically repurposes the God-given tradition, creating the Lord's Supper we celebrate today. Instead of escaping Egypt, we escape hell. Instead of gifts from Egyptian neighbors (Exodus 11:2), we receive gifts from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4–11). Instead of sacrificing a lamb, we remember the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Matthew 26:26–29 is nearly identical; Luke 22:14–23 adds a bit more detail; John doesn't mention the Lord's Supper, but Paul goes into more detail about how it should be observed (1 Corinthians 11:23–32).
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is anointed in a symbolic anticipation of His death. Judas decides to secretly cooperate with local religious leaders to arrest Jesus in secret. During the Passover meal, Jesus predicts His betrayal by Judas, and Peter's denial. He also institutes the Lord's Supper, also known as communion. After praying on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is captured when Judas identifies Him to a hostile mob sent by Jewish authorities. He endures a corrupt, prejudiced trial, ending in a conviction for blasphemy. Peter, fearing for his life, lies about knowing Jesus, before remembering Jesus' prediction and breaking down in sobs.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has finished His public teaching ministry and now prepares for the crucifixion. His sacrificial loyalty will provide the means by which the disciples' abandonment will be forgiven. Next, the Romans, as representatives of Gentiles throughout history, will join the Jews and kill Jesus. Jesus will be buried, but He will rise again with the promise that His sacrifice will redeem the world. Matthew 26 and Luke 22 follow Mark 14 more closely while John 13:1—18:27 records more of Jesus' teaching in the upper room.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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