The cups of redemption and consummation in the Last Supper

March 20, 2015

laneFor my current sermon series in Mark’s gospel, I’ve benefitted immensely from (the late) William Lane’s volume on Mark in Eerdmans’s “New International Commentary on the New Testament.” This Sunday I’m preaching on the Last Supper. As Lane relates Jesus’ words and actions to the Passover meal, he notices the point in the meal at which Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God”:

The cup from which Jesus abstained was the fourth, which ordinarily concluded the Passover fellowship. The significance of this can be appreciated from the fact that the four cups of wine were interpreted in terms of the four-fold promise of redemption set forth in Exod. 6:6-7: “I will bring you out… I will rid you of their bondage… I will redeem you… I will take you for my people and I will be your God”… Jesus had used the third cup, associated with the promise of redemption to refer to his atoning death on behalf of the elect community. The cup which he reused was the cup of consummation, associated with the promise that God will take his people to be with him. This is the cup which Jesus will drink with his own in the messianic banquet which inaugurates the saving age to come. The cup of redemption (verse 24), strengthened by the vow of abstinence (verse 25), constitutes the solemn pledge that the fourth cup will be extended and the unfinished meal completed in the consummation, when the Messiah eats with redeemed sinners in the kingdom of God (cf. Lk. 14:15; Rev. 3:20f.; 19:6-9).[†]

William Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 508-9.

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