Barry Newman's Blog

July 15, 2010

Christ Centred Communion – Further Thoughts (part XXVI)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion — barrynewman @ 10:25 pm

Concluding Remarks (continued)

Consider the following scenario:  There is a Jew living in the early part of the first century.  He has been attending Passover festivities ever since he can remember.  About three years ago he gave up his profession and became one of the disciples of Jesus.  And now, he is experiencing the most extraordinary Passover meal in which he has ever participated.  At the beginning of the meal Jesus told his disciples how he has had this meal in mind for some time and more than once he made it clear that there would be no such future meals for him until God’s kingdom would come. And now this disciple tells us first hand some of the astonishing things Jesus said at that meal and his reactions to what Jesus said.

(And now consider two possibilities.)

  • “At the beginning of the main course Jesus gave thanks, broke the unleavened bread and gave it to us all, saying, ‘This is my body given for you.  Do this whenever you eat it in remembrance of me’ and at the end of the meal, having given thanks he passed the cup around and said to us all, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.’  It appears that he has a couple of passages from the prophets in mind and it looks like he is talking about his death. He seems to be saying that he is going to die – something to do with the forgiveness of sins. May God never allow his death! Not right now. In this meal we remember God’s great deliverance from slavery to the Egyptians and from the judgement they suffered.  He is now asking us to remember him!  Is he telling us that he is going to die soon and that we should not forget him?  Is he saying that whenever we celebrate Passover in the future we should remember him as we eat this bread and drink from this cup?  But how could we ever forget him!  It does not make sense.  Remembering him just at Passover time would be like remembering anyone only on their birthday.  How could we ever forget him no matter what happens in the future!”

Or,

  • “At the beginning of the main course Jesus gave thanks, broke the unleavened bread and gave it to us all, saying, ‘This is my body given for you.  You are doing this whenever you eat it in remembrance of me’ and at the end of the meal, having given thanks he passed the cup around and said to us all, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.  You are doing this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.’  It appears that he has a couple of passages from the prophets in mind and it looks like he is talking about his death.  He seems to be saying that he is going to die – something to do with the forgiveness of sins. May God never allow his death! Not right now.  But what does he mean that as we are eating this bread and drinking from this cup we are remembering him? How can we ever forget him!  In this meal we remember God’s great deliverance from slavery to the Egyptians and from the judgement they suffered.  How is it that we are remembering him? How is he connected to what happened in Egypt? Is he talking about future Passover meals as well as this one?  Does he have in mind even Passover meals that belong to the past?”

 Which possibility makes the more intimate connection between the death of Jesus and the Exodus event?  Which possibility seems the more likely to have occurred?

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