Broken and Poured Out
“…He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’”
– Mark 14:22-24
There are so many beautiful things in these verses….today I want to focus very briefly on just two of them.
The Body and Blood of Our God
First, consider that this is God Almighty in the flesh talking. This is the Creator of the universe. This is the One for whom and through whom ALL THINGS were made (Col.1:16) and in whom ALL THINGS hold together (Col.1:17) and by whose word ALL THINGS are upheld (Heb.1:3), this is the One whose revealed glory bows seraphic heads (Is.6:1-2) and sends heaven and earth fleeing for refuge (Rev.20:11), this is the One eternally beheld and beloved of the Father (Jn.17:23), ever the joy of God (Prov.8:30)…and now here He sits, veiled in and interwoven with body and blood so that He can do what He does in these verses, namely, offer His body and blood to His people.
What glory and unparalleled beauty there is in this reality: our Lord and our God says: “Take; this is my body,” and, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” YHWH takes on body and blood so that He might be broken and poured out. Indeed, it might well be argued that the human body exists for this end. The human body exists so that God might become incarnate and be made a propitiatory, substitutionary sacrifice, broken and poured out on the altar of a cross (1 Cor.6:13, Heb.10:5 – as a side not, this is why demons so often demand human sacrifice and why human sacrifice is so perverse: it is a mockery of the cross, the single sacrifice that the human body was indeed designed to be). What love the Lord shows us, that THIS is how He saves, this is how He heals, how He redeems, how He conquers, how He achieves all blessing for His people, this is how He communicates Himself to the universe: by being broken and poured out in love over the head of His Bride….
Broken and Poured Out
And that brings us to the parallel I wanted to note. Just a few verses early (14:3-9), Mark recounts Mary’s act of love to Christ, “she broke the flask and poured it over His head” (14:3). The words for “broken” and “poured” used in verse 3 are not the same as those used during the last supper, but I think we are not going too far to see a thematic link between the two passages. It is no coincidence that Mary “breaks” and “pours” something out in an act of great love for Christ just a few verses before Christ speaks of “breaking” and “pouring” Himself out in the great act of love for the world. I believe Mark intends us to see the love of Mary for Christ as a faint and miniature echo of God’s love to His people, a picture of Christ’s sacrifice albeit on an infinitely smaller scale.
Just as Mary broke the flask so that its contents could be poured out over Christ’s head, so too on the cross the flask of Christ’s body is broken so that the contents (physically it is His blood, spiritually and symbolically I think the “ointment” poured out through Christ’s death is the Spirit, the living Water, John 19:34, Acts 2:17) might be poured out over creation’s head. If we are moved by Mary’s love to Christ –the creature to pouring out such costly oil over the infinitely worthy Creator’s head – how much more are we to be moved by God’s love in Christ to His creatures – Creator pouring Himself out over creation’s infinitely undeserving head. The disciples were indignant toward Mary’s lavish display of affection for her Lord, but how much more should they (and we!) have been staggered by the Lord’s lavish display of affection for them and for all people! Here is a staggering reality that God Himself teaches us to say: One of the descriptions we can use for the God of the universe is this – Broken and Poured Out.
What god is like Him? What other “god” has loved the way YHWH has loved? Let him stand up and say so….no one can answer that challenge. Friends, this is love, this is our God in His glory proclaiming Himself to us, this is YHWH, YHWH a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. There is no other God like Him and we see that through the wrath-absorbing death and justifying resurrection of Jesus Christ alone. Oh, may He grant us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to savor and imaginations to explore and tongues to sing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge! And may Jesus Christ, the only Son and Image of God, trample every false god and false ideology and false worldview under His Love-Pierced feet…and may we, His people, be conformed to the same image, for our joy, the world’s good, and His glory – amen.