The Bread and Cup at The Last Supper
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 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.”
20 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.
Observations & Reflections
During the last supper Jesus told of his death another time. However, it would seem that the disciples would not get the message since we know that they are a bit in shock when it actually happens. Either way, Jesus us preparing the way psychologically for them. But his message is not so simple. Jesus is not just going to die, he is going to be the body and blood that leads to salvation for all man-kind. This larger picture is certainly not in view yet for the disciples.
This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:29)
There is a special note of concern in this passage which is what the meaning of “is” is (as Bill Clinton would famously say). When Jesus claims “this is my body” was he referring literally that the bread becomes Jesus’ actual body? I think most of Christianity would say no. However, there are some who would claim yes. In an initial caution I would point out that no one can know for sure, but I believe common sense would lead use to say that it was a metaphorical claim. It was both metaphorical and true just like Jesus says “I am the door”, “I am the way”, etc. Jesus has a history of using metaphors and hyperbole.
That being said, it would seem as though his dullard disciples (as the gospels often show) took the saying literally. We know this because early Romans sources thought the Christians to be cannibals. I am sure that some knew that it was metaphorical but chose to call them cannibals anyways. Nevertheless, from what we can detect from the scriptures it appears that Jesus would have us take the bread and wine as a remembrance.
However, I am certain that when we get to heaven we will not be quizzed on whether or not we believed it was a metaphor or not. Jesus will be more concerned with how we treated one another and whether or not we truly loved the Lord and served him.