Parallel Gospel Verses … Part 3 (The Last Supper)

I will let the last post represent those parallel verses that are very similar to each other. In my studies those were somewhat typical of the conflicts of words. I know there are many places in the Old Testament that people report conflicting verses. I did not attempt to cover any of these but instead concentrated on Gospel accounts.  What I found were all somewhat like the previous posts.  The overall message was consistent but the words varied.

One final area of parallel verses that give me some reasons for concern is the last supper. Let’s look at those parallel verses. They appear in all four Gospel text:

Matt 26:26-29

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Mark 14:22-26

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.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “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.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Luke 22:17-23

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

John 13:1-8

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

The Eucharist, as it later came to be called, became one of the basic foundations of the Christian church. Unless this event was reported in a text that was not eventually included in the canon (I think the Gospel of Thomas may have a report of the Last Supper) these are the only words we have of institution of this sacrament.

  • Matthew includes the reason for the blood covenant is for the forgiveness of our sins. The other three writers do not mention this as a reason.
  • Luke reverses the event to do the cup first and then the bread. Luke is also the only writer that mentions that we are to do this in remembrance of Jesus. I find it strange that something that eventually became so foundational was only mentioned by one of the four witnesses and then only for the bread?
  • The apostle John as shown in the last text does not even mention anything about the sharing of the bread or wine. Did he think it was not of significant importance? Did he just decide not to mention it because is was already covered by the others? I just don’t know. But I do take notice that he instead replaced it with a call to service. Jesus came to serve and so should we.

When Martin Luther started the massive Protestant Reformation, or you could say revolt from the Catholic church, he adamantly spoke against five of the then seven sacraments that were being practiced. The only two he left standing was the Communion and Baptism. Should the bread/wine event have also been on his drop list or was it just too embedded by that time?

Quakers read the above words to mean that every time we partake of a meal we are to remember what Jesus did for us. They do not believe that Jesus intended to make this event some ceremonial thing as was typical of Jewish traditions at the time. While most Quakers don’t condemn the practice per say they say it is not dictated by God. They also take the words that John used to record this event are of equal importance, or maybe even more important, than the ceremonial sharing of bread and wine. I tend to believe that the Quakers again pretty much have it right. But having said that I do appreciate taking of the Eucharist as a time of special remembrance. But then again Jesus’ sacrifices should be in my daily thoughts and not just those times I am at the altar. I must alwasys remember that Jesus is constantly with me; not just those time where I share the ceremonial bread and wine with my fellow congregants.

Author: RJ Walters

I am a guy who has a lot of interests. One of the biggest is blogging about my view of the world and the times we live in. I live a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic. I also happen to be deaf and have some rather distinctive Aspie traits. Because of my life experiences I have a pretty unique view of the world that you may find interesting, maybe even enlightening.

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