Matthew 26:26-30 The Lord’s Supper

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ The Redeemer Church Manhattan KS, 13 Oct 2013

Greyed-out text was edited from the 40-minute version of the sermon.


26:26 Now, while they were eating, Jesus,

after taking [the] bread and giving thanks, broke it, and He was giving it to the disciples and said,

“Take; eat; This is my body.”


26:27 Then after He took the cup and gave thanks, He gave it to them saying,

“Drink out of it, all of you,

26:28 for this is the blood which is mine,

of which is the New Covenant,

[and] which is being poured out for the many for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.


26:29 But I’m telling y’all that from now on, I shall never drink of this produce of the grape-vine

until that day whenever it is that I shall be drinking with y’all anew in the kingdom of my father.

26:30 and after hymn-singing, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


·         Most of the commentaries I read on this passage said that what Jesus was doing here had nothing to do with the Passover, that it was something totally new to replace the Passover[1].

·         However, I have observed a number of Passover liturgies in both Jewish and Messianic contexts, and I think that what Jesus is described as doing here fits exactly with parts of the Jewish traditional Pass­over ceremony. And although I don’t believe it is necessary to know the Jewish traditions to appre­ciate the Lord’s Supper, I am going to interpret Jesus’ actions as being part of the Passover liturgy.


26:26 Now, while they were eating, Jesus, after taking [the] bread and giving thanks [saying the blessing], broke it, and He was giving it to the disciples and said, “Take; eat; This is my body.”

Εσθιοντων δε αυτων λαβων ‘ο Ιησους [τον[2]] αρτον και ευχαριστησας[3] εκλασεν και εδιδου[4] τοις μαθηταις και4 ειπεν Λαβετε φαγετε τουτο εστιν το σωμα μου

·         First off, it was traditional to set the table at the Passover meal with three pieces of flatbread folded up together in a napkin:

o       This flatbread was unleavened – like a big cracker; they call it Matzoh. In the context of the Passover, leaven represents sin. Jesus said of the bread, “This is my body.”
Like this un-leavened bread, Jesus was sinless.

o       And every good piece of matzoh is pierced through with holes and has stripes on it from the cooking process – kinda like a grilled hot dog gets a striped pattern on it.
Jesus, likewise, would be whipped the very next day, creating stripes on his back, and He would be pierced in His hands, feet, and side, to pay for our sins.

o       The middle one of the three pieces of bread gets broken and half of it pulled out of the napkin before the meal. This piece is hidden somewhere for the kids to find later – it is called the Afikomen. Just as the second piece of bread is pulled out of the napkin, so Jesus, the second person of the Trinity was revealed to us in this world as a man, then broken in death. He was also hidden in the earth after His death, like the afikomen was hidden, then Jesus was raised from the dead.

o       Finally, after this piece of bread from the Passover ceremony is hidden and then found and brought back to the table, it was the tradition for the host to distribute it to every­body at the table to eat a piece. This, I think is what Jesus was doing here in v. 26.

o       By the way, it was not a basket of pieces handed out to the disciples but rather one piece of Matzoh. Paul comes back to this later in 1 Corinthians 10, saying that the one piece of bread represents the fact that we are part of the one body of the church.

o       I believe that, through the gift of prophecy, these Passover traditions were developed so that, at this supper, Jesus could point to the bread and say, “This is me!” and a rich set of parallels would unfold in the understanding of His followers.

·         In the traditional Passover liturgy, the head of the household chants a prayer separately over the food and over the drinks. For the bread it goes, “Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the World, who brings forth bread from the earth.” [Sing it in Hebrew.]

·         The Parallel passages in Luke and 1 Corinthians add, “This is my body given instead of [or “on behalf of” or “for”] you. Be doing this for the purpose of my memorial” (NAW, or “in remem­brance of me” KJV).

·         Most Greek manuscripts of 1 Cor. 11 also add the word “broken” – “This is my body broken for you” – although it doesn’t appear in any Greek manuscripts older than the 9th Century[5], and for that reason, you’ll only find the word “broken” in 1 Cor. 11:24 if you’re looking at it in a King James Version.

o       Brokenness is a result of the wrath of God against sin[6]. God vented His just wrath against our sin upon Jesus, who was broken for us so that we do not have to be broken. I believe that this is why the bread of the Lord’s Supper was broken as a symbol.

o       1 Corinthians 10:16 “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a fellowship of the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a fellowship of the body of Christ?” (This passage, by the way, is where we get the name “Communion” to describe this ordinance.)

o       The phrase “break bread,” however, is not used exclusively in the Bible to describe the Lord’s Supper; many times it just means serving bread up as a meal.[7]

·         A study of other passages in the Greek Bible with this same word “memorial/remembrance,” is instructive:

o       Leviticus 24:5-9 And ye shall take fine flour, and make of it twelve loaves; each loaf shall be of two tenth parts. And ye shall put them in two rows, each row containing six loaves, on the pure table before the Lord. And ye shall put on each row pure frankin­cense and salt; and these things shall be for loaves for a memorial (LXX αναμνησιν), set forth before the Lord. On the sabbath-day they shall be set forth before the Lord continually before the children of Israel, for an everlasting covenant. (Brenton)

§         I find the symbolism in this fascinating. Twelve loaves of bread were always kept in the holy place in the temple, and they’re called a “memorial.” There the bread represented the twelve tribes of Israel who were always remembered by God.

§         Here in the Lord’s Supper, it’s the other way around, it is God-in-flesh represent­ed by bread and placed before His people, and this is called a “memorial,” that we will always remember Him[8]!

o       Likewise, the Old Testament sacrifices are called by the same word in Greek, “memorials” in Hebrews 10:3. Twice a day, year after year, sacrifices were made which reminded the Israelites that they had sinned and that they needed a savior from sin, now, when Christians gather for the Lord’s Supper, it is a reminder that our savior did come to die for our sin, and no more sacrifices need to be made![9]

·         I also want to mention that Jesus did not say, “This is my flesh,” but rather He said, “This is my body.” “Flesh” and “Body” are two different words in Greek.

o       Jesus is not condoning cannibalism – actually eating meat from human bones; He is introdu­cing a metaphor[10]. “The bread which you have always used at Passover points to me in my physical body; let it always remind you of me because of the similarities; think about it!”

o       The only place Jesus talks about eating His “flesh” is in John 6, which sounds like cannibalism until you notice the parallel statements and realize that “eat my flesh” is a metaphor framed and defined by the parallel statement “believe in me,” which He says both before and after He says “eat my flesh:” John 6:28-64 (NASB) Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent… I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe... 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day… 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life... [and now for the metaphor for believing] 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh… Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. [Wait, He just finished saying that he who believes in Him has eternal life and will be raised up on the last day. Which is true? Both are true, because they are one and the same thing. Eating is a metaphor for believing.] 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him... [and now to complete the chiasm, Jesus leaves the metaphor and talks about belief again] 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe...

·         Furthermore, the word “is” can mean different things in Greek, just as it does in English.

o       Often we will look at a picture and tell someone else, “Look, that is me!” Of course you don’t really believe that you are a set of pigments on a piece of paper or a set of pixels on a screen; what you really mean is that the image in the photo is a representation of you.

o       Likewise, when Jesus says, “This is my body,” He cannot be saying that His body is chemically equivalent to cooked wheat flour or that His human form is actually in the shape of a flat, crunchy cracker.

o       The literal body of Jesus couldn’t be both the bread that was being passed around and at the same time also the muscles and bones that were passing the bread around.

o       At other times Jesus said that He was a door (John 10:9), a vine (John 15:5), and a road (John 14:6). None of these were literal; they were metaphors – comparisons with familiar objects to teach us more about who He is and what He does.

o       So when Jesus says He is bread, we think about how bread provides nourishment for living and remember that Jesus, in a similar way, provides us with the word of God so that we can have eternal life.

·         Now we come to the other element in the Lord’s Supper:


26:27 Then after He took the cup and gave thanks, He gave it to them saying, “Drink out of it, all of you,

και λαβων το[11] ποτηριον και[12] ευχαριστησας εδωκεν αυτοις λεγων Πιετε εξ αυτου παντες


26:28 for this is the blood which is mine, of which is the New Covenant, [and] which is being poured out for the many for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.

τουτο γαρ εστιν το ‘αιμα μου το[13] της καινης[14] διαθηκης το περι πολλων εκχυνομενον[15] εις αφεσιν ‘αμαρτιων

  • The traditional blessing for the drinks at meals went like this: “Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the world, who brings forth fruit from the vine.” [Chant in Hebrew.]
  • Historians confirm that what they drank was real, fermented wine diluted with water[16].
  • It was also a single cup which was passed around, not separate glasses. It symbolized real intimacy to share a cup! Paul applies this in 1 Corinthians 10, that just as we all share the same cup, so we are one body in Christ.
  • In the Passover liturgy, there are actually four times when the wine glasses are filled, and each cup is given a certain significance. The first two cups come before the dinner, and the last two cups come after the dinner. That’s why the passage in Luke mentions the cup more than once and that this cup came “after the supper.” The one I think is spoken of in all the Gospel accounts is the third filling, which is called the Cup of Salvation (spoken of in Psalm 116:13), and which is poured after the afikomen bread is shared.
    • This, by the way, is why I serve the bread and wine separately for our communion services and do not practice intinction.
    • Now, the Roman Catholic tradition is to say that Jesus actually turned the wine into His blood, but there are several problems with this:
    • Jesus did not say that the wine was His blood but that the cup was His blood and He told his disciples to drink from the cup. In the parallel passage in 1 Cor., it says, “This cup is the new covenant made with my blood.” The covenant was made using blood; blood was not used to make the drink.
    • In the next verse, Jesus is going to call what’s in the cup, “this fruit of the vine,” not blood. If it did turn into blood, then apparently Jesus didn’t know about it.
    • Furthermore, when He said “do this,” Jesus did not provide an example of saying “hocus pocus” over a cup of wine and turning it into blood as the Roman Catholics supposedly do; Jesus was referring to the meal or to the particular part of the meal where bread and wine were shared when He said “do this as my memorial.”
  • The phrase “this is my blood” is also metaphorical language, telling His disciples that this is, or is like His blood.
    • The cup was a sign of that covenant, just as there were other covenantal signs, from the rainbow in Noah’s day (Gen. 9:12-17), to circumcision in Abraham’s day (Gen. 17:11), to the ark of the covenant in Moses’ day (as well as salt - Lev. 2:13). The covenant was embodied in a symbol which illustrated some aspect of the nature of the covenant.
    • For Christians, the cup means that this covenant is about joyful fellowship with God (like the fellowship at a dinner table), but without any more blood!
  • You see, blood is God’s way of forgiving sin.
    • Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of flesh is its blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for its blood shall make atonement for the soul” (Brenton).
    • Here’s how they did it in the Old Testament: Exodus 24:6-10 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. (NASB) Did you catch what happened after the blood covered their sins? They enjoyed heavenly fellowship and a meal with God Himself!
    • After the Mosaic Law, the prophet Zecheriah predicted a time when the Messiah would create peace between God and the nations through the blood of His covenant and set them free from hell! Listen to this: Zechariah 9:9-11 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey… And He will speak peace to the nations... As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.” (NASB)
    • Hebrews 9:22 “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (NASB)
    • 1 John 1:7b …the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (NASB, cf. Rev.1:5b)
  • So, what is this covenant?
    • Where the Gospels say, “this is my blood of the covenant,” the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 11 says, “This cup is the covenant in my blood.” Clearly it is a covenant or a contract sealed with the blood of Jesus.
    • Blood is the Biblical symbol for death, so it is a contract in which Jesus agreed to die in order to get some benefit from the other party in the agreement.
    • What was that benefit, and who was that other party? The rest of the verse tells us that Jesus’ death was for the forgiveness (or remission) of sins.
    • The legal context developed by God in the first place with human beings is that the “wages of sin is death,” so Jesus made a covenant or contract with God: If Jesus fulfills His end of the contract and dies, God will fulfill His end of the contract and forgive our sins. That’s the covenant which we’re supposed to bring back to mind whenever we take the cup ourselves!
    • Now, if you’re reading a King James Bible, it will say this is the “new covenant” whereas most other English versions do not have the word “new” – they just read “this is the covenant.”
      • This is due to the fact that three 4th Century Greek manuscripts which do not have the word “new” were discovered after the translation of the King James Bible.
      • However, the dispute is not whether or not Jesus said that the covenant was “new,” for it is undisputedly in all the Greek manuscripts of the parallel passages on the Lord’s Supper in Luke and 1 Corinthians, so Jesus did call it the “new covenant.” The only question is whether the original manuscripts of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark had the word “new” in them.
      • My current opinion is that the modern Bible editors have been misguided in removing the word “new” from the traditional text, since translations and quotes of this passage with the word “new” in them have been found dating further back in time than those three Greek manuscripts, and the vast majority of Greek manuscripts have the word “new” in them, with a strong showing among the early manuscripts.
    • But even if you go with the modern versions and don’t use the word “new” to describe the covenant, but just call it “the covenant,” it doesn’t mean that we’re talking about two different covenants, because the phrase “the covenant” is used to describe the “new covenant” in Jeremiah 31:31,[17] Malachi 3:1,[18] and Hebrews 10:29![19]
    • Apart from the accounts of the Lord’s Supper and the passage in Jeremiah 31, the term “new covenant” occurs once in 2 Corinthians and four times in the book of Hebrews contrasting the old way of sacrificing animals (Jer. 34:18) with the new and better sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins.
    • Hebrews 9:15 is particularly descriptive, “…He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”[20]
  • Now in this new covenant, blood was “Poured out/shed for many for the purpose of forgive­ness/ remission of sins” The picture here is of a ceremony which happened at the temple every day. Every morning and evening, a bull or a sheep was slaughtered as a sacrifice for sin, its blood was caught in a bowl, then that blood was smeared on each of the four corners of the altar and then the rest of the blood was poured out at the base of the altar. This is a picture of what would happen to Jesus, whose blood stained the four ends of a cross and poured down at the base of the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.[21]
  • Note, however, that Jesus’ blood was not poured out to forgive the sins of all humans, just many of them.
    • Instead of “for many,” Luke’s parallel account specifies, “for you,” indicating that the disciples were part of the “many” for whom Christ arranged this covenant to forgive sins.
    • We can have the confidence that it is for us too, because Jesus said that all who believe that He did this for them will receive eternal life (John 6:40), and elsewhere in scripture it says that this faith itself is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8). If you believe this, then you can be assured that God gave you this faith and that Christ’s blood was indeed shed for you to forgive you of your sins!
    • Growing up, I always heard my church pastor quote from the King James Version, “Drink ye all of it,” and I thought it meant that we were supposed to drink all the juice, but actually the emphasis is on everybody participating – “all of y’all drink it.”
    • For this reason, the Roman Catholic tradition of private masses and of withholding the cup from laypeople is unbiblical.
  • This brings up the intriguing question of whether or not Judas Iscariot participated in this part of the liturgy or if he had already gone to mobilize the temple guard to capture Jesus. All I can say is, after comparing all four gospel accounts, I don’t think the Bible tells us conclusively one way or the other whether Judas was there.
    • John’s Gospel is the only one that mentions Judas leaving the dinner prematurely, but John does not mention the part of the meal where Jesus offered the cup and the bread, only that Jesus gave Judas bread with a dip at some point during the meal, so we can’t really conclude anything from that with certainty.
    • The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke aren’t much more help, because they don’t mention Judas leaving. The synoptic gospels do, however, mention a sequence of events from which we could infer whether or not Judas was there. Luke’s sequence of events is that Jesus first offered the bread and cup to all, then announced that “the hand of my betrayer is with me at the table” (from which we could logically infer that Judas was served the Lord’s Supper). However Matthew and Mark have Jesus first announc­ing that “one of you will betray me,” and then, after that, offering the bread and wine (which doesn’t tell us anything about whether or not Judas was there). Since Matthew, Mark, and Luke put the events in different orders, it seems unwise to draw an inference based on the order of events in just one of the Gospels. We don’t know for sure which Gospel writer was presenting his sequence in time order and which was presenting his sequence in some other topical order which was not meant to be chronological.[22]
  • So, why do we do this ceremony every Sunday now?
    • The parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 quotes Jesus as saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; keep doing this – whenever you do drink – for the purpose of the remembrance of me, for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until whenever He comes.” (NAW)
    • So we do it because of this command in 1 Corinthians 11, “do this in remembrance of me”– it is a Present tense Greek command which indicates doing it more than once, and the implication is to keep doing it until Jesus comes back.
    • The antecedent to the word “this” in the command “do this” could refer to the Passover dinner, or it could refer just to the sharing of the bread and cup. Which is it?
      • Because the context of this command is Paul’s instructions to a church for what to do every time they gather together (1 Cor. 11:17 & 20 & 33),
      • and because Acts 20:7 “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them...” and Acts 2:46 “breaking bread from house to house day by day,” indicate that sharing a meal was the custom of Christians when they gathered together, (and neither of those two passages in Acts happened at Passover),
      • and because the wording in 1 Cor. 10:16 “the bread which we break” indicates customary action,
      • and because Passover observance was specifically not required of Gentiles at a time when Jews wanted to demand it – along with the other ceremonies of Judaism (Acts 15:28-29, Colossians 2:16-17),
      • I therefore believe this is speaking of what is to be done in the regular gatherings of the church,
      • but even so, Jesus is not legalistic about how often to practice Communion, for He says in 1 Cor. 11:26, “however often you happen to eat this bread and drink the cup,” therefore I believe we cannot set demands on anybody else about how frequently or infrequently they practice communion, only that they take communion with some regularity – especially when the body of Christ is gathered together for this purpose.
    • According to the parallel account in 1 Cor. 11, this is a way that we “proclaim the Lord’s death.” It is an act of proclamation to take the bread and the cup. You are saying, “Jesus died to forgive me of my sin and bring me into fellowship with God!”[23]
  • Now, returning to our text, Jesus adds something interesting:


26:29 But I’m telling y’all that from now on, I shall never drink of this produce of the grape-vine until that day whenever it is that I shall be drinking with y’all anew in the kingdom of my father.

λεγω δε ‘υμιν οτι[24] ου μη πιω απ’ αρτι εκ τουτου του[25] γεννηματος[26] της αμπελου[27] ‘εως της ‘ημερας εκεινης ‘οταν αυτο πινω[28] μεθ’ ‘υμων καινον εν τη βασιλεια του πατρος μου

  • There is a contrast between “this juice” and “that day.”
    • “That day” is defined here as “the kingdom of my Father.” However, in 1 Cor. 11, the parallel phrase seems to be “until the Lord comes.” I conclude that Jesus is saying that He won’t drink wine again until His second coming and the new order of heaven.[29]
    • Just as we saw in Jesus’ discourse on His coming in chapter 24 and 25, the day of His coming to eradicate all evil from the world belongs to a different time, but now something really big is about to happen which will mean for Jesus a break from the order of things in this world, a break which will continue in pause until the new world is created and He can drink again.
    • The break from this world, of course, is His death, which will separate Jesus to some extent from communion with His followers (John 20:17) until the wedding feast of the Lamb when full intercourse will be restored.
  • Why does Jesus use abstaining from wine to symbolize this time between His death and His second coming?
    • I think it goes back to the Old Testament law, which forbade priests to drink wine when they were on duty[30], for alcohol slows down thinking and muscle coordination, making mistakes more likely. Priests couldn’t afford to mess up while on duty, because getting right with God was too serious a matter.
    • Jesus was going on duty now as a priest to reconcile man and God through offering Himself to God as a sacrifice for our sin, but His priestly duty did not end after He offered Himself on the cross; it continues on as He even now stands before God the Father, interceding for us, as it says in Rom. 8:34 “…Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (NASB).
    • This is consistent with what the Bible describes for the rest of the time that Jesus was on the earth. If you look at the post-resurrection accounts, although the Gospel writers mention that Jesus ate bread and fish (in Emmaus and Jerusalem and Galilee), they never mention Jesus drinking wine again.
    • Now, in the Old Testament, a priest, after his official work was over, could then sit down with the people he served and eat and drink wine with them (Deut. 14:26-27).
  • I believe that in the marriage supper of the lamb described in the book of Revelation[31], in the new heavens and new earth (2 Pet. 3:13), we will see Jesus finally step down from His duty of priest and really party in communion with His people, once there is no more sin left to deal with. That’s what I believe Jesus meant when He said, “I will drink it anew[32] with you.” What a glorious day to look forward to!
  • With this, the special meal comes to a close…


26:30 and after hymn-singing, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Και ‘υμνησαντες εξηλθον εις το ορος των ελαιων

  • This Greek verb is the word from which we get the English word “hymn,” and it means to sing the praises of another person – in this case, the praises of God.
    • This word used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to denote the Psalms of David and Asaph in 2 Chron. 29:30,
    • but we also see it in the book of Isaiah (who wrote well after David and Asaph), commanding God’s people in 42:10 to make up new hymns to sing in praise to God,[33] so the Greek verb hymnaw does not refer exclusively to Psalm-singing.
  • However, in the context of the Passover supper, it is most likely that they sang from the traditional Passover Psalms 113 to 118 and Psalm 136, which open with “Praise the Lord” and recount the deliverance from Egypt and repeat that the covenant love of God is forever.
  • Also, for what it’s worth, the Greek verb here does not imply that they only sang one hymn; rather, it means that they did some “hymn-singing,” with no reference to how many hymns they sang.
  • This is not the only time we see Jesus singing, either.
    • If you consider Him to be the personification of wisdom in Proverbs, He sings hymns according to the Greek translation of Proverbs (Brenton’s translation of the LXX follows.)
      • 1:20 “Wisdom sings aloud in passages, and in the broad places speaks boldly.”
      • 8:3-6 [Wisdom] sits by the gates of princes, and sings in the entrances, saying, “…Hearken to me; for I will speak solemn truths; and will produce right sayings from my lips.”
    • and it is certainly Jesus who sings in Heb. 2:12 “He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will announce Your name to my brothers, in the middle of the church I will hymn You.’” (NAW) (Quoting Psalm 22:22)
    • If Jesus sings, then we His followers should sing too!
  • The Gospel of John (chapters 14-16) records more of what was said that night, including
    • Jesus’ explanation that He was going away to prepare a place for His followers
    • and that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us in the meantime.
    • This was also where He spoke of being the true vine
    • and how His followers must abide in him by obeying His commandments, chiefly that they love one another.
  • So it is with musical praises to God on their lips and fresh reminders of God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt that Jesus and the disciples go to the place where the disciples think they will be sleeping for the night, while Jesus goes, expecting to be arrested and crucified.


Now, as we conclude our worship service with the Lord’s Supper,

  • Let us think on the way Jesus’ body is like that bread: sinless, the second person of the Godhead, removed from heaven to be seen in this world, whipped, pierced, and broken in death, buried and raised again, and now shared in common by His followers through His Spirit.
  • Let us feed on Jesus, not physically, but Spiritually by believing in Him, trusting Him to give us eternal life, just as physical bread nourishes us and gives us life.[34]
  • Praise God that Jesus shed His blood to forgive you of your sin and save you from the waterless pit.
  • Rejoice that no more blood needs to be shed, but that you can enjoy fellowship with God through Jesus!
  • Remember Jesus and take the bread and cup as if to say, “Jesus died for me!”
  • And look forward to the marriage feast of the Lamb in heaven when sin will be no more and we will enjoy intimacy and fun times with Jesus when He drinks wine anew with us then!

[1] John Chrysostom: “He did not appoint the sacrament until the rites of the law were to cease. And thus the very chief of the feasts He brings to an end, removing them to another most awesome table.”
John Calvin “I do not take these words to mean that the new and far more excellent meal was mixed in with the Passover, but rather at this point an end was put to the former feast. This is expressed more clearly in Luke, when he says, “the cup in like manner after supper.”
William Hendriksen: “Jesus instituted the new sacrament that was to replace the old. A few more hours and the old symbol, being bloody – for it required the slaying of a lamb – will have served its purpose forever, having reached its fulfillment in the blood shed on Calvary. It was time, therefore, that a new and unbloody symbol replace the old.”

[2] Although the majority of total Greek manuscripts (including A and W) includes the definite article here (followed by the Textus Receptus and Patriarchal editions of the Greek New Testament), the majority of the oldest manuscripts don’t have it (followed by the Critical editions), and neither do the KJV, ESV, NAS, or NIV translations or any of the parallel passages in the Bible. Although probably not of consequence, I think it is referring to a particular piece of bread called the afikomen, which carries many symbolic parallels to the body of Christ, not just any piece of bread, so I prefer to keep the definite article.

[3] Over 80% of Greek manuscripts (including A, K, W, Γ, Δ, f1, f13) say that Jesus “gave thanks” (ευχαριστησας), so this is the reading of some of the Patriarchal editions of the Greek New Testament and, oddly enough, of the NIV. This is the word in the parallel statement about the cup in the next verse and also the reading of the parallel accounts in Luke and 1 Corinthians. However, a significant minority of Matthew manuscripts (including P45, א, B, C, D, L, Z, Θ, 074, 0160, but practically no miniscules), read that Jesus “said the blessing” (ευλογησας). The latter reading is followed by both the Textus Receptus and the Critical editions, and thus of the KJV as well as the ESV and NAS English translations. It’s also the reading of the parallel passage in Mark. The two terms are synonymous, however, and the traditional prayer is well-known, so it’s no real problem.

[4] Several of the oldest Greek manuscripts (P37,P45, B, C, L, Z, Θ – plus a handful of the miniscules, including both families 1 and 13) read the Aorist Participle δους instead of the Imperfect Indicative εδιδου, and thus the former is the reading of Critical editions, but the latter is well-supported by the vast majority of Greek manuscripts – including some of the most ancient (א, A, C, W, 074) – and by the Textus Receptus and Patristic editions of the Greek New Testament. Though no different in meaning, the Indicative would require a kai to read smoothly, and we indeed find that in almost all the manuscripts with the Indicative, as well as in the parallel passages of Mark and Luke (which use an Aorist tense of the verb, however, instead of an Imperfect). The Imperfect tense in Matthew here is surprising, since the four other verbs in this sentence describing Jesus’ actions are Aorist, and the parallel use of “gave” in v. 27 about the cup are also Aorist. It’s also surprising that the KJV and NKJ, which normally follow the T.R., translate “gave” as though it were Aorist rather than Imperfect. More surprising is that the NAS and ESV, which normally follow the Critical editions, included the “and” before “said,” even though the Critical editions do not include an “and” there.

[5] Although it does show up as early as the 5th Century in the majority of Syriac translations, and in the D manuscript, which reads the synonym thruptomenon.

[6] 1Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces | Job 38:15 And from the wicked their light is withheld, and the high arm shall be broken. | Psalm 3:7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. | Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

[7] Compare this Greek phrase across all its uses in the Greek Bible: Jer. 16:7; Mat. 14:19;  15:36; 26:26; Mark 8:6, 19; 14:22; Luke 22:19; 24:30; Acts 2:46; 20:7-11; 27:35; 1Cor. 10:16; 11:24

[8] Cf. use of “memorial” in Numbers 10:10, Psalm 38:1 and 70:1

[9] Hebrews 10:1-3 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. (NASB)

[10] Or, as John Calvin put it, “metonymy.”

[11] Just as the definiteness of the bread is questioned by variants in the manuscripts, so it goes with the definiteness of the cup. The NIV and KJV render “the cup,” and this is supported by majority of Greek manuscripts (including P45, A, C, and D) and the Textus Receptus and Patriarchal editions of the GNT (as well as the parallel accounts in Luke and 1 Cor. and the majority of the Greek manuscripts of Mark). On the other hand, the NAS and ESV render “a cup,” and this is supported by Critical editions of the GNT, which follow a handful of other Greek manuscripts (א, B, L, W, Δ, Θ, 074, and a few miniscules and ancient versions). Once again, I think it is referring to a particular part of the Paschal liturgy, namely the Cup of Salvation poured after the meal, and therefore it is more appropriate to refer to “the cup.”

[12] This “and” is omitted in A, C, L, Z, and Δ, but is included in Patriarchal, T.R. and Critical editions of the GNT.

[13] Critical editions do not include the extra definite article (“the”) which is in the majority of total Greek manuscripts, because it is not in the majority of the oldest Greek manuscripts. This “extra” definite article (which is in A, C, W, 074, and practically all the minisules) is neuter and singular in Greek, matching the neuter and singular word for “blood.” It’s presence divides the phrase neatly into three phrases: 1) “the blood” which is “mine” 2) “the [blood] ” which is “of the covenant,” and 3) “the [blood]” which is “poured out for many…” As you can see from this literalistic rendering in English, it does not change the meaning to remove the second “the.”

[14] Due to its omission in three ancient Greek manuscripts dated to the 4th Century (P37, א, Β - plus L, Θ), Critical editions of the Greek New Testament do not include the word “new” here, and the NAS, NIV, and ESV therefore call it “the covenant” rather than “the new covenant” as the KJV does. The point of dispute, as is often the case, is not whether Jesus said “new,” for it is undisputedly in all the Greek manuscripts of Luke and 1 Corinthians, but whether Matthew and Mark recorded Jesus as saying that the covenant was “new.” The word “new” is found in the vast majority of Greek manuscripts of Matthew and Mark, some of them dating back as far as the 5th Century (A, C, D, W), plus practically all of the translations made at the time – and earlier (into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian), and it’s also in the 2nd Century Diatessaron, so I think it’s quite legitimate to consider the word “new” as part of the original text of all the Synoptic Gospel writers (although Mark doesn’t have the support that Matthew does from C, D, and W). Regardless, the phrase “the covenant” and the phrase “the new covenant” are not talking about two different things, so this is not a variant in meaning even if it is a variant in wording.

[15] Without citing any manuscript support, Critical editions of the GNT deviate from the majority of Greek manuscripts by spelling this word with a doubling of the middle letter εκχυννομενον, but it is merely a spelling variation, not a difference in meaning or parsing.

[16] The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, under the heading of “wine,” demonstrates from rabbinical writings that this was so. It is my understanding that grapes were harvested in the Fall, and Passover was in the Spring, so it was not possible to preserve grape juice all winter without it becoming alcoholic by Passover.

[17] This is the only place where the phrase “new covenant” occurs in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

[18] "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1, NASB

[19] which equates “regarding as unclean the blood of the covenant” with “trampling under foot the Son of God.”

[20] The other passages mentioned are as follows (all from the NASB):

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


Hebrews 8:13 When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

[21] Exodus 29:12 “You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger; and you shall pour out all the blood at the base of the altar.” (NASB, cf. Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34, 8:15; and 9:9)

[22] A.T. Robertson, in his Harmony of the Gospels places Judas’ departure before the Lord’s Supper, a position shared by Hendriksen, and I think it is a reasonable position, but I think it is just as reasonable to follow Luke’s sequence, which Chrysostom (Homily LXXXII on Matt. XXVI. 26-28) and the writers of the Belgic Confession (art. 35) did, and say that Judas was there. I think I side with the latter.

[23] Regarding discerning the body and who should take the Lord’s Supper and the punishments threatened for improper use, see my sermon on 1 Cor. 11:23-34 That You Not Come Together For Judgment at .

[24] There is some division in the Greek manuscripts across all of time, some with the word “that” and some without. The Critical editions don’t include it, and the T.R. and Patriarchal editions do. It is indisputably in the parallel account in Mark. It doesn’t really matter because the context is clear enough that a quote follows.

[25] Omitted in a few ancient Greek manuscripts (P37, א, C, L), but retained in T.R., Critical, and Patriarchal editions. It seems a bit redundant, but doesn’t hurt.

[26] The majority of Greek texts double the letter nu, but Critical editions and my 1904 Patriarchal text do not have this doubling. My UBS and Nestle-Aland critical texts do not cite manuscript support in the critical apparatus for their spelling. It makes no difference in meaning, however, and the majority sides with the single nu in Mark’s parallel passage.

[27] There appears to be only one passage in the Greek Bible where this word for “vine” is not referring to a grape vine, and that is the one that bore poisonous gourds in 2 Kings 4:39.

[28] A few ancient Greek manuscripts (P37, D, and Θ) give the Aorist spelling (piw) instead of the Present, indicating a single action, rather than a repeated one, but neither the Critical nor the T.R. nor the Patriarchal editions follow that variant.

[29] Jameison, Fausset and Brown were the only commentators I saw who interpreted it as the inauguration of the kingdom during Jesus’ earthly ministry rather than the eschatological heaven. “It was the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals, the one about to close for ever, the other immediately to open and run its majestic career until from earth it be transferred to heaven.”

[30] Leviticus 10:8-9 The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying, "Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die--it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations—(NASB)

[31] "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he *said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he *said to me, "These are true words of God." Revelation 19:7-9, NASB

[32] Vincent was the only commentator I read who said that “drink it new” meant that the wine itself would be new – as in fresh before any fermentation set in.

[33] Hymns are also what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego sang in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:23) and what Paul and Silas sang in the Phillipian jail (Acts 16:25), and what Jesus sings to God (Prov. 1:20, 8:3, Heb. 12:2).

[34] “Christ, to teach us that He alone is sufficient to give firm supply of all that belongs to our salvation, makes Himself our food and drink: this is a wonderful and shining goodness, that wills to assist our faith in lowering itself to the simplicity of our flesh.” ~John Calvin