“This means my body … This means my ‘blood of the covenant.’”—Matthew 26:26-28
[From ws 01/19 p.20 Study Article 4: March 25-31]
The opening paragraph says, “No doubt most of us can recall the basic details of the Lord’s Evening Meal.”
Why ask such a question? Can all Witnesses “recall the basic details of the Lord’s Evening Meal.”?
Probably all Witnesses can remember the following: (these are the main points the author remembers from the memorials attended over the years)
- Only the Anointed class partake of emblems.
- The Great Crowd, almost all Witnesses, just observe.
- The pedantic way everyone had to be formally handed the plate and cup by someone else even though they were just to pass it on.
- However, not much beyond this other than perhaps feeling a little awkward and left out as just observing.
However, the article continues, making the following accurate points:
“Why? Because the meal is so uncomplicated. However, this is a significant event. So we might ask, ‘Why is the meal so simple?”
These are two good points. Paragraph 2 goes on to state: “During his earthly ministry, Jesus was known for teaching important truths in a way that was simple, clear, and easy to understand. (Matthew 7:28-29)”
Let us examine Jesus simple clear instructions. Then perhaps we can see reasons for perhaps why not all Witnesses remember the main points Jesus gave.
Paragraph 3 points us to the account in Matthew 26 but in doing so makes its first inaccurate and misleading statement. It says, “Jesus introduced the Memorial of his death in the presence of his 11 faithful apostles. He took what was at hand from the Passover meal and made this simple commemoration. (Read Matthew 26:26-28).”
From this, you would understand that that Judas was not there at this time and hence the benefits of the meal did not apply to him. Yet, the account at Luke 22:14-24 shows the evening meal came first. The Bible account shows Judas left a while after this (Luke 22:21-23).
So what simple things did Jesus do?
Luke 22:19 says:
- “Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them,
- saying: “This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf.
- Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”
And Matthew 26:27-28 records the event saying:
- “Also, he took a cup and, having given thanks, he gave it to them,
- saying: “Drink out of it, all of YOU; for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.
Earlier in his ministry, Jesus made the statement in John 6:53-56 that many of his disciples became stumbled over. The account reads: “Accordingly Jesus said to them: “Most 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 that feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I shall resurrect him at the last day; for my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. He that feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I in union with him.”
These instructions were indeed simple.
All disciples (followers) of Christ should eat the unleavened bread and drink the red wine. They should do it in remembrance of his sacrifice for all humankind. If they did not they would not have everlasting life. It was that simple.
Contrast this with the following teachings from the Watchtower article.
“The simple meal, which he introduced after dismissing Judas,” (Par. 8)
Luke 22:14-23 and John 13:2-5, 21-31 clearly show Judas was there. Mark 14:17-26 does not show when Judas was dismissed, neither does Matthew 26. A likely reason for this wrong claim is so that the partaking of the evening meal can be applied by the Organization to a limited group, rather than all.
“…would remind those who would become his anointed followers of the benefits of Jesus’ shed blood and of sharing in the new covenant. (1 Cor. 10:16, 17) To help them prove worthy of their heavenly calling, Jesus told his followers what he and his Father expected of them.” (par. 8)
Jesus did not make any mention of a heavenly calling nor an earthly calling. He did not say that only anointed followers should partake and all others should only observe. These requirements complicate the simple instructions that Jesus gave.
Rather, he just said, “keep doing this in remembrance of me” and “he who drinks my blood and eats my flesh has everlasting life and I will resurrect him on the last day”.
If we take the meaning of the reverse side of Jesus instructions, we are left with the conclusion that, if we do not eat and drink i.e. partake, to remember Jesus, then we will not get everlasting life. A serious conclusion for all lovers of Bible truth to ponder over.
By contrast, paragraph 10 contains sentiments with which we can have no scriptural issue. It says: ”We can strengthen our courage by thinking about the hope that the ransom sacrifice of Christ makes possible for us. (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7) In the weeks leading up to the Memorial, we have a special opportunity to build our appreciation for the ransom. During that time, keep up with the Memorial Bible reading and prayerfully meditate on the events surrounding Jesus’ death. Then when we gather for the Lord’s Evening Meal, we will understand more fully the significance of the Memorial emblems and the matchless sacrifice that they represent. When we appreciate what Jesus and Jehovah have done for us and understand how it benefits us and our loved ones, our hope grows stronger, and we are motivated to endure courageously to the end.”
Certainly, reading the scriptures alone, in context, is the key to understanding the simple truth Jesus taught. We are then able to filter out the needless and incorrect complications added by the Organization (and other Christian religions for that matter). Then we can clearly see that Jesus asked us to remember him, and additionally what he did for us by offering his life on behalf of all humankind. He did not complicate it with transubstantiation, consubstantiation, little flock and great crowd, and similar complications, all of which have all been added by man’s interpretations.
In summation, Jesus’ fine qualities of humility, courage and love are submerged in Organization-centric interpretation distracting readers from Jesus simple message. We will therefore reiterate his simple message.
- Jesus said, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
- Jesus said all his disciples were to partake, even Judas. “Drink out of it, all of YOU;” (Matthew 26:26-28)
- Jesus said (by implication) without partaking of the unleavened bread and wine we have no opportunity for everlasting life nor resurrection (as a righteous person) (John 6:53-56, Romans 10:9, Beroean Study Bible, ESV)