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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 26 - Verse 26

Verses 26-30. See also Mr 14:22-26; Lu 22:15-20; 1 Co 11:23-25

 

Verse 26. As they were eating. As they were eating the paschal supper, near the close of the meal. Luke adds, that he said, just before instituting the sacramental Supper, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." This is a Hebrew manner of expression, signifying, I have greatly desired, he had desired it, doubtless,

(1.) that he might institute the Supper, to be a perpetual memorial of him;

(2.) that he might strengthen them for their approaching trials;

(3.) that he might explain to them the true nature of the passover; and,

(4.) that he might spend another season with them in the duties of religion, of worship. Every Christian about to die will also seek opportunities of drawing specially near to God, and of holding communion with him, and with his people.

Jesus took bread. That is, the unleavened bread which they used at the celebration of the passover, made into thin cakes, easily broken and distributed.

And blessed it. Or sought a blessing on it; or gave thanks to God for it. The word rendered blessed not unfrequently means, to give thanks. Compare Lu 9:16; Joh 6:11. It is also to be remarked, that some manuscripts have the word rendered gave thanks, instead of the one translated blessed. It appears, from the writings of Philo and the Rabbins, that the Jews were never accustomed to eat without giving thanks to God, and seeking his blessing. This was especially the case in both the bread and the wine used at the passover.

And brake it. This breaking of the bread represented the sufferings of Jesus about to take place—his body broken or wounded for sin. Hence Paul 1 Co 11:24 adds, "This is my body, which is broken for you." That is, which is about to be broken for you by death, or wounded, pierced, bruised, to make atonement for your sins.

This is my body. This represents my body. This broken bread shows the manner in which my body will be broken; or this will serve to call my dying sufferings to your remembrance. It is not meant that his body would be literally broken as the bread was, but that the bread would be a significant emblem or symbol to recall to their remembrance his sufferings. It is not improbable that our Lord pointed to the broken bread, or laid his hands on it, as if he had said, "Lo, my body! or, Behold my body! that which represents my broken body to you." This could not be intended to mean, that that bread was literally his body. It was not. His body was then before them living. And there is no greater absurdity than to imagine his living body there changed at once to death, and then the bread to be changed into that dead body, and all the while the living body of Jesus was before them. Yet this is the absurd and impossible doctrine of the Roman Catholics, holding that the bread and wine were literally changed into the body and blood of our Lord. This was a common mode of speaking among the Jews, and exactly similar to that used by Moses at the institution of the passover, (Ex 12:11) "It," i.e., the lamb, "is the Lord's passover." That is, the lamb and the feast represent the Lord's passing over the houses of the Israelites. It serves to remind you of it. It surely cannot be meant that that lamb was the literal passing over their houses a palpable absurdity—but that it represented it. So Paul and Luke say of the bread, "This is my body, which is broken for you: this do IN REMEMBRANCE of me." This expresses the whole design of the sacramental bread. It is to call to remembrance in a vivid manner the dying sufferings of our Lord. The sacred writers, moreover, often denote that one thing is represented by another by using the word is. See Mt 13:37: He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; i.e., represents the Son of man. Ge 41:26: The seven good kine ARE seven years; i.e., represent or signify seven years. See also Joh 15:1,5; Ge 17:10.

The meaning of this important passage may be thus expressed: "As I give this broken bread to you, to eat, so will I deliver my body to be afflicted and slain for your sins."

{b} "And as they" 1 Co 11:23 {1} "blessed it", "Many Greek copies have gave thanks.

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