“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:24-25).
The last line is a puzzling one. Both Matthew and Mark mention it. It contains both a vow and a promise. The abstention from wine might not seem like much of a vow for many of us. We have other alternatives. But given that wine was the staple drink of the ancient world, refusing it would be tantamount to not drinking anything! It was a serious vow. But what does it mean?
There are two ways to look at this promise:
First, it was an assurance that the arrival of the Kingdom of God was imminent. Jesus would soon rise from the dead, ascend to the father, and take his place at the right hand of God, ruling over all authority, power, and dominion. The Church, where that rule would be seen on the earth, would be established and God’s people would gather regularly to fellowship with Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
But second, perhaps something more future also is involved. Isaiah had promised a glorious banquet in the presence of the Lord (25:6-9). This promise was mentioned several times by Jesus and connected to the Kingdom of God at the end of time (see Matthew 22). John refers to it in Revelation 19 as the “wedding supper of the lamb.” The promise not to drink wine until he drinks it with us looks forward to that day when we will eat and drink together with Jesus, in His presence, at the end of the time. The vow Jesus takes here is our assurance it will happen. The Lord’s Supper is a weekly reminder that something greater is coming.