Barry Newman's Blog

June 2, 2010

Christ Centred Communion – Further Thoughts (part VIII)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion — barrynewman @ 11:44 pm

“You are doing this in remembrance of me.” – Meaning?  

If understood in this way, what might Jesus have meant?  We know he is referring to his death.  It is the significance that he attaches to his death however that comes to the fore.  Rather than Jesus simply indicating that at this point in time, his disciples are to see in the Passover meal a new and different remembrance event from that associated with the Exodus, could he not additionally be claiming that the deliverance God brought about in ancient times has its fulfilment in that deliverance to be brought about within a few hours?  Rather than the focus being simply upon the Exodus event providing illumination for the death of Jesus it could be that Jesus is additionally claiming that his death provides illumination for the Exodus event.  The deliverance from the death meted out to the Egyptians and the deliverance from the slavery brought about by them was always a portent of, a precursor for and that which intimated and called for, the greatest salvation event of all time.  The death of Jesus for the salvation of sinners had to come about.  The blood of a lamb would never be sufficient.  Only the blood of the precious Son of God would suffice.  Each of us needs deliverance from the great judgement that will fall on all mankind at the end of this age – a far more fearsome event outside of history than any catastrophic event within it. 

We can understand Jesus to be saying something like this – “You have not realised it, you don’t even realise it now, but the truth is, as you eat this Passover bread, you are dealing with an event, though occurring long ago, that has its fulfilment in me.  My imminent death is for that salvation that the Exodus event only points to.  You are at the peak of history.  You are doing this not ultimately in remembrance of an event past but in remembrance of the event about to take place – my death that inaugurates the new covenant.”  On this understanding he is not issuing a ceremonial command or indeed even making a request, but teaching a rich truth.  Understanding “poieite” as a command, though the command is concerned with the Christ who suffered, points to the future with a focus on a need to obey the command.  Understanding “poieite” as a statement, points both to the past and the future with the focus being on the Christ who suffered.

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