While “kingdom” is found twice in Mark 13:8 — “kingdom will rise against kingdom” — and neither of those is about Jesus’ kingdom, the usage here is part and parcel of what the word “kingdom” means because they are what “kingdom” has to mean: namely, kingdom refers to a society with a king, king’s will, king’s people, and some kind of land boundary. And so when Jesus refers to “kingdom of God” that meaning carries over to some degree. But our concern today is with Mark’s 19th reference, found in Mark 14:25. In context:
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ?Take it; this is my body.? 23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 ?This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,? he said to them. 25 ?I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.? 26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives..
1. Here clearly kingdom is a state of affairs or a set of conditions that is yet future to the last supper: “I will not drink again … until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
2. The apostle Paul expounds this expression in 1 Corinthians 11:26 with these words: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” That is, for Paul the “drink anew in the kingdom” refers to the coming of the Lord. Whether Paul had a “Near” Expectation for such a coming or a “Far” Expectation is not really at issue for understanding Jesus — what matters is that Jesus’ expectation for the coming kingdom was very early connected to the expectation for his coming.
3. That future kingdom can be “symboled” with the image of a Great Banquet. You know probably the many times Jesus “symboled” or “imaged” the future kingdom as a banquet. I discuss that image in my book, A New Vision for Israel.
4. The future kingdom is the resumption of former fellowship.
5. All Lord’s supper occasions are anticipations of the future Banquet.
6. The kingdom here is future — a future set of conditions in which God’s will is established for God’s society — and participation in the Lord’s supper is a present expression of faith in that kingdom and a present participation in that kingdom.
This last point, to be honest, could be drawn out into all kinds of points … if Lord’s supper anticipates kingdom, what does that tell us about kingdom? It’s a good question; I shall imagine today many of you chatting about this over coffee or with friends somewhere.