Barry Newman's Blog

July 13, 2010

Christ Centred Communion – Further Thoughts (part XXV)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion — barrynewman @ 10:48 pm

Concluding Remarks

It is unhelpful to go to the writings of the Early Fathers in order to decide how to understand the words of Jesus uttered at the Last Passover meal.

That “poieite” as it appears in Luke 22: 19 and 1 Cor. 11: 24, 25 should be understood to be in the indicative mood, rather than in the imperative mood, is perfectly legitimate.  There is nothing inherently far-fetched or odd about such a position.  Indeed I suggest that it is the preferred position to be adopted.  The theology involved in such a position, rather than the traditional view is certainly not diminished.  Rather it appears to be enhanced.  Jesus can be understood to be explaining, “As you partake of this meal, you are remembering me.  The Exodus event points to me.”  Additionally he would appear to be saying, “Whenever you partake of this meal, you will be remembering me.”  Furthermore, he might also be indicating, “Indeed, I have always been remembered whenever this meal has been partaken of.  Israel has always been remembering me.  The Exodus event has always pointed to me.” 

Understanding “poieite” to be in the indicative mood in the Luke and Corinthian passages also suggests possible solutions to, sheds some light on or adds texture to certain textual matters:   Of the four Gospels, it is Luke that records Jesus making the most pointed and explicit references to the scriptures in terms of his suffering and it is Luke that records him uttering the words of remembrance. Of the four Gospels, it is in Luke alone that these words of remembrance are recorded.  A ceremonial command relating to the last Passover meal is not mentioned anywhere in the Epistles.  Luke records the words of remembrance only in connection with the bread.  Jesus refers to “remembrance” though he has not yet died.  The pastoral oddity of attaching “remembrance” to a command, as though it is predominantly by responding to a command that one remembers the death of Jesus, disappears.  Furthermore, the indicative mood for “poieite” is well suited to Paul’s treatment of the Last Passover meal as though it were the Corinthians’ meal – a strategy further assisted by his use of the words, “whenever” and “this”.  Finally, that “touto” (this) occurs before “poieite” in both Luke and 1 Corinthians could be considered to focus on what the “this” signified rather than on “the doing”. If a command were involved, one might expect “poieite” to occur before “touto”.

In an aside, a case was made for considering the phrases involving the word, “cup” in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 to be reflective of but distinctly different to Greek customs associated with honouring the gods and others.

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