Bread and cup.

Matthew 26.26-29 = Mark 14.22-25 = Luke 22.14-20  (John 6.26-59).

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Notes and quotes.

§ I note the following agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark:

  1. Matthew 26.20 has ανακειτο (reclined) and Luke 22.14 has the synonymous ανεπεσεν where Mark 14.17 has ερχεται (comes), an historic present.
  2. Matthew 26.29 has απ αρτι (from this time on) and Luke 22.18 has απο του νυν (from now on). Mark 14.25 has no corresponding phrase.
  3. Matthew 26.27 and Luke 22.20 each have the present participle λεγων (saying), while Mark 14.24 has the aorist indicative ειπεν (said).

§ The textual variations in Luke 22.17-20 comprise a classic shorter western reading.

§ This pericope has clear verbal and thematic connections with the feedings of the four and five thousand. The clearest connection is the series of verbs used to describe the actions of Jesus over the elements. The basic fourfold sequence is taking, blessing (or thanking), breaking, and giving, in that order.

The actions over the bread at the last supper in Jerusalem of Judea are as follows according to the synoptic gospels:

Matthew 26.26a. Mark 14.22a. Luke 22.19a.
Εσθιοντων δε
αυτων λαβων
ο Ιησους αρτον
και ευλογησας
εκλασεν και δους
τους μαθηταις....
Και εσθιοντων
αυτων λαβων
εκλασεν και εδωκεν
εκλασεν και εδωκεν
But while they
were eating Jesus took
bread, and blessed it,
and broke it,
and after giving it
to the disciples....
And while they
were eating he took
bread, blessed it,
and broke it
and gave it
to them....
he took
bread, gave thanks,
and broke it
and gave it
to them....

Now note the parallels from the feedings of great crowds during the Galilean ministry. Matthew 14.19 (from the feeding of the five thousand):

....λαβων τους πεντε αρτους και τους δυο ιχθυας, αναβλεψας εις τον ουρανον ευλογησεν και κλασας εδωκεν τοις μαθηταις τους αρτους, οι δε μαθηται τοις οχλοις.

...having taken the five breadloaves and the two fish, he looked up into heaven and blessed them and after breaking them gave the breadloaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the crowds.

Matthew 15.36 (from the feeding of the four thousand):

Ελαβεν τους επτα αρτους και τους ιχθυας και ευχαριστησας εκλασεν και εδιδου τοις μαθηταις, οι δε μαθηται τοις οχλοις.

He took the seven breadloaves and the fish and after giving thanks broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples to the crowds.

Mark 6.41 (from the feeding of the five thousand):

Και λαβων τους πεντε αρτους και τους δυο ιχθυας αναβλεψας εις τον ουρανον ευλογησεν και κατεκλασεν τους αρτους και εδιδου τοις μαθηταις αυτου ινα παρατιθωσιν αυτοις, και τους δυο ιχθυας εμερισεν πασιν.

And he took the five breadloaves and the two fish and after looking up into heaven blessed them and broke the breadloaves apart and gave them to his disciples so that they might place them before them, and he divided the two fish amongst all.

Mark 8.6b (from the feeding of the four thousand):

Και λαβων τους επτα αρτους ευχαριστησας εκλασεν και εδιδου τοις μαθηταις αυτου ινα παρατιθωσιν και παρεθηκαν τω οχλω.

And having taken the seven breadloaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples so that they might place them before the crowd, and they did so.

Luke 9.16 (from the feeding of the five thousand):

Λαβων δε τους πεντε αρτους και τους δυο ιχθυας αναβλεψας εις τον ουρανον ευλογησεν αυτους και κατεκλασεν και εδιδου τοις μαθηταις παραθειναι τω οχλω.

And he took the five breadloaves and the two fish and after looking into heaven blessed them and broke them apart and gave them to the disciples to place before the crowd.

John 6.11 (from the feeding of the five thousand):

Ελαβεν ουν τους αρτους ο Ιησους και ευχαριστησας διεδωκεν τοις ανακειμενοις, ομοιως και εκ των οψαριων οσον ηθελον.

Jesus took therefore the breadloaves and after giving thanks gave them out to those reclining, and likewise from the fish as much as they wished.

The Johannine version lacks the act of breaking. The various synoptic versions each have all four steps in the pattern.

§ Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.7:

Εκκαθαρατε την παλαιαν ζυμην, ινα ητε νεον φυραμα, καθως εστε αζυμοι. και γαρ το πασχα ημων ετυθη Χριστος.

Clean out the old leaven, so that you might be a new lump, just as you are unleavened. For also Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

1 Corinthians 10.16-17:

Το ποτηριον της ευλογιας ο ευλογουμεν, ουχι κοινωνια εστιν του αιματος του Χριστου; τον αρτον ον κλωμεν, ουχι κοινωνια του σωματος του Χριστου εστιν; οτι εις αρτος, εν σωμα οι πολλοι εσμεν, οι γαρ παντες εκ του ενος αρτου μετεχομεν.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we the many are one body, for we all partake of one bread.

1 Corinthians 11.23-26:

Εγω γαρ παρελαβον απο του κυριου ο και παρεδωκα υμιν, οτι ο κυριος Ιησους εν τη νυκτι η παρεδιδετο ελαβεν αρτον και ευχαριστησας εκλασεν και ειπεν· Τουτο μου εστιν το σωμα το υπερ υμων· τουτο ποιειτε εις την εμην αναμνησιν. ωσαυτως και το ποτηριον μετα το δειπνησαι, λεγων· Τουτο το ποτηριον η καινη διαθηκη εστιν εν τω εμω αιματι· τουτο ποιειτε, οσακις εαν πινητε, εις την εμην αναμνησιν. οσακις γαρ εαν εσθιητε τον αρτον τουτον και το ποτηριον πινητε, τον θανατον του κυριου καταγγελλετε, αχρις ου ελθη.

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was delivered up, took bread and after giving thanks broke it and said: This is my body, which is for you. Do this in my memory. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in my memory. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you announce the death of the Lord until he comes.

§ Ignatius to the Ephesians 5.2:

Μηδεις πλανασθω· εαν μη τις η εντος του θυσιαστηριου, υστερειται του αρτου του θεου. ει γαρ ενος και δευτερου προσευχη τοσαυτην ισχυν εχει, ποσω μαλλον η τε του επισκοπου και πασης της εκκλησιας.

Let no one be deceived. If anyone is not within the area of the altar, he lacks the bread of God. For, if the prayer of one and two has such a force, how much more that of the bishop and of all the church!

Ignatius to the Romans 7.2b-3:

Ο εμος ερως εσταυρωται, και ουκ εστιν εν εμοι πυρ φιλουλον, υδωρ δε ζων και λαλουν εν εμοι, εσωθεν μοι λεγον· Δευρο προς τον πατερα. ουχ ηδομαι τροφη φθορας ουδε ηδοναις του βιου τουτου. αρτον θεου θελω, ο εστιν σαρξ του Χριστου του εκ σπερματος Δαυιδ, και πομα θελω το αιμα αυτου, ο εστιν αγαπη αφθαρτος.

My lust has been crucified, and there is within me no fire of loving; but there is within me a living and speaking water, saying to me from within: Come to the father. I take no pleasure in the food of corruption or in the pleasures of this life. I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ who was of the seed of David, and as a drink I want his blood, which is incorruptible love.

§ Didache 9.1-5:

Περι δε της ευχαριστιας, ουτως ευχαριστησατε· πρωτον περι του ποτηριου· Ευχαριστουμεν σοι, πατερ ημων, υπερ της αγιας αμπελου Δαυιδ του παιδος σου ης εγνωρισας ημιν δια Ιησου του παιδος σου· σοι η δοξα εις τους αιωνας. περι δε του κλασματος· Ευχαριστουμεν σοι, πατερ ημων, υπερ της ζωης και γνωσεως ης εγνωρισας ημιν δια Ιησου του παιδος σου· σοι η δοξα εις τους αιωνας. ωσπερ ην τουτο το κλασμα διεσκορπισμενον επανω των ορεων και συναχθεν εγενετο εν, ουτω συναχθητω σου η εκκλησια απο των περατων της γης εις την σην βασιλειαν, οτι σου εστιν η δοξα και η δυναμις δια Ιησου Χριστου εις τους αιωνας. μηδεις δε φαγετω μηδε πιετω απο της ευαριστιας υμων, αλλ οι βαπτισθεντες εις ονομα κυριου, και γαρ περι τουτου ειρηκεν ο κυριος· Μη δωτε το αγιον τοις κυσι.

But concerning the eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our father, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your slave. To you be the glory unto the ages. But concerning the broken bread: We thank you, our father, for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through Jesus your slave. To you be the glory unto the ages. Just as this broken bread was scattered over the mountains, and was gathered and made one, so let your church be gathered from the extremes of the earth into your kingdom, because yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ unto the ages. But let no one eat or drink from your eucharist but those who have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for concerning this also the Lord has said: Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.

§ From Epiphanius, Panarion 30.22, writings of the Ebionites and their gospel:

Αυτοι δε αφανισαντες αφ εαυτων την της αληθειας ακολουθιαν ηλλαξαν το ρητον, οπερ εστι πασι φανερον εκ των συνεζευγμενων λεξεων, και εποιησαν τους μαθητας μεν λεγοντας· Που θελεις ετοιμασωμεν σοι το πασχα φαγειν; και αυτον δηθεν λεγοντα· Μη επιθυμια επεθυμησα κρεας τουτο το πασχα φαγειν μεθ υμων;

And they themselves, having removed from themselves the following of the truth, changed the word, which is apparent to all from the words in context, and made the disciples to say: Where do you wish us to prepare the Passover for you to eat? And they made him to clearly say: It is not with desire that I have desired to eat meat, this Passover, with you, is it?

§ From Jerome, On Famous Men 2, writing of the gospel according to the Hebrews:

Evangelium quoque quod appellatur secundum Hebraeos, et a me nuper in Graecum Latinumque sermonem translatum est, quo et Origenes saepe utitur, post resurrectionem salvatoris refert: Dominus autem cum dedisset sindonem servo sacerdotis, ivit ad Iacobum et apparuit ei. iuraverat enim Iacobus se non comesturum panem ab illa hora quia biberat calicem domini donec videret eum resurgentem a dormientibus.

Also the gospel which is named according to the Hebrews, and which was recently translated by me into Greek and Latin, which also Origen often used, refers after the resurrection of the savior: But the Lord, when he had given the shroud to the servant of the priest, went to James and appeared to him. James indeed had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour when he had drunk the chalice of the Lord until he saw him risen from among those who sleep.

Rursusque post paululum: Afferte, ait dominus, mensam et panem. statimque additur: Tulit panem et benedixit, ac fregit, et dedit Iacobo iusto, et dixit ei: Frater mi, comede panem tuum, quia resurrexit filius hominis a dormientibus.

And again after a little bit: Bear forth, said the Lord, a table and bread. And immediately is added: He bore bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to James the just, and said to him: My brother, eat your bread, because the son of man has resurrected from among those who sleep.

§ Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies 5.8.11-12, writing of the Naassenes:

Τουτο, φησιν, εστι το ειρημενον υπο του σωτερος· Εαν μη πινητε μου το αιμα και φαγητε μου την σαρκα, ου μη εισελθητε εις την βασιλειαν των ουρανων· αλλα καν πιητε, φησι, το ποτηριον ο εγω πινω, οπου εγω υπαγω, εκει υμεις εισελθειν ου δυνασθε. ηδει γαρ, φησιν, εξ οποιας φυσεως εκαστος των μαθητων αυτου εστι, και οτι εκαστον αυτων εις την ιδιαν φυσιν ελθειν αναγκη· απο γαρ των δωδεκα, φησι, φυλων μαθητας εξελεξατο δωδεκα και δι αυτων ελαλησε παση φυλη.

This, he says, is what has been spoken by the savior: If you do not drink my blood and eat my flesh, you will not go into the kingdom of the heavens. But even if you drink, he says, the cup which I drink, whither I go, you cannot go into there. For he knew, he says, of what sort of nature each of his disciples was, and that it was necessary that each of them should come unto his own nature. For it was from the twelve tribes, he says, that he elected twelve disciples and spoke through them to each tribe.

§ Justin Martyr, Apology 1.66.3:

Οι γαρ αποστολοι εν τοις γενομενοις υπ αυτων απομνημονευμασιν, α καλειται ευαγγελια, ουτως παρεδωκαν εντεταλθαι αυτοις, τον Ιησουν λαβοντα αρτον ευχαριστησαντα ειπειν· Τουτο ποιειτε εις την αναμνησιν μου· τουτο εστι το σωμα μου. και το ποτηριον ομοιως λαβοντα και ευχαριστησαντα ειπειν· Τουτο εστι το αιμα μου· και μονοις αυτοις μεταδουναι.

For the apostles in the memoirs made by them, which are called gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was commanded them, that Jesus took bread and after giving thanks said: Do this in my memory; this is my body. And the cup likewise, having taken it and given thanks, he said: This is my blood. And he gave it to them alone.

Dialogue with Trypho 111.3:

Και τους εν Αιγυπτω δε σωθεντας οτε απωλλυντο τα πρωτοτοκα των Αιγυπτιων, το του πασχα ερρυσατο αιμα, το εκατερωσε των σταθμων και του υπερθυρου χρισθεν. ην γαρ το πασχα ο Χριστος, ο τυθεις υστερον, ως και Ησαιας εφη· Αυτος ως προβατον επι σφαγην ηχθη. Και οτι εν ημερα του πασχα συνελαβετε αυτον και ομοιως εν τω πασχα εσταυρωσατε γεγραπται. ως δε τους εν Αιγυπτω εσωσε το αιμα του πασχα, ουτως και τους πιστευσαντας ρυσεται εκ θανατου το αιμα του Χριστου.

And those saved in Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians were destroyed the blood of the Passover delivered, that which was anointed on the doorposts and lintels. For the Passover was Christ, he who was afterwards sacrificed, as also Isaiah said: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. And it is written that on the day of the Passover you seized him, and that likewise on the Passover you crucified him. And as the blood of the Passover saved those in Egypt, so also the blood of Christ will deliver from death those who have been faithful.

§ From the inscription of Abercius, lines 12-16 (face 2):

  1. Παυλον εχων επο{μην}·
    πιστις παντη δε προηγε,
  2. και παρηθηκε τροφην
    παντη ιχθυν απο πηγης
  3. πανμεγεθη καθαρον ον
    εδραξατο παρθενος αγνη,
  4. και τουτον επεδωκε φι-
    λοις εσθιειν δια παντος,
  5. οινον χρηστον εχουσα,
    κερασμα διδουσα μετ αρτου.
Having Paul I followed; faith led everywhere, and everywhere set before me as food the fish from the fountain, mighty, clean, which a chaste virgin grasped, and this gave to friends to through everything, having fine wine, giving it, mixed, with bread.