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THE INSTITUTION OF THE SUPPER OF THE LORD.
St. Matthew xxvi. 26-29.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave
, it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
The Paschal Supper was now become a prolonged religious feast. Much instruction was mingled with it. Before they rose from the Table, the Lord, who had already instructed them by one symbolic act, proceeds to another of still greater significance. He took a loaf, and having given thanks to the Father," He blessed it,consecrating or setting it apart as hallowed bread, elevating it into an instrument or means of blessing,—and brake it, and bade them partake of that which He speaks of as His Bodys given * and broken for them. This He bids them do, that is continually thus eat bread for a memorial of Him. In like manner He took a cup of wine, distinct from that other of which we read at the beginning of the Paschal Supper," which He speaks of as
· Not pow eaten in haste, as at its first institution. Ex, xii. 11. The necessity for that had ceased. Its ritual had developed, and our Lord, as we have seen, conformed to the custom.
? So in the original. 1 Cor. x. 17.
3 Hence the terin Eucharist, regarding the rite in its aspect of a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving."
* St Luke xxii. 19
s On the “is,” round which verb the whole transubstantiation contro
versy clusters, no stress can be laid. As Alford observes, “ In the original tongue in which our Lord spoke, it would not be expressed.” The stress is really to be laid on the word " this." This is the emphatic word; q. d. This is the Body, this the Blood of which I was speaking to you. St. John vi. 51-58.
61 Cor. xi. 24. Hence the term Breaking of Bread, Acts ii. 42.
· St. Luke xxii, 17.
His Blood ;? Blood which sånctions ? a new and better covenant than that of Moses and his Law, Blood shed not for Jews only but also for the Gentiles, whereby they may obtain the forgiveness of their sins. And He adds that He will drink this wine no more until that day that He drinks it new with them, that is as inaugurating or ushering in a new era and state of things, when the Gospel dispensation, the Church and Kingdom of God, should be indeed established after His resurrection from the dead. Thus He throws light upon His dark saying in the Synagogue at Capernaum, and shows what He meant by eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood. Thus the Lord 5 instituted that Christian Feast of Holy Communion which supersedes the Jewish Passover. “The Cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? For as often as ye eat this Bread and drink this Cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till He come.” 6 This He bids His servants do continually in remembrance of Him. Can we be remembering Him if we never do it? Shall we feel bound to remember the charge of a dying friend, and yet habitually neglect the command of a dying Saviour ? All who draw nigh to this Feast with any degree of faith become united to Christ, become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, that is through Adam's fall.
· Grotius remarks that, in ratifying ix. 27. treaties, they were wont to pour blood * St. John vi. 48-58. In answer into bowls; but because to drink to the unuttered question of their blood was barbarous, among civilized minds, He tells them what this means. peoples wine was substituted for the See Ex. xvi. 15 in margin. blood. Wine is called the blood of 5 As typified in Melchizedek, Gen. the grape, and by its very colour re- xiv. 18; Ps. cx. 4; Heb. vii. 15-22. calls the blood. Those who drank See too Prov. ix. 1-5. this wine were considered to be im- • Coleridge (Table Talk, 103) speakbued with the very blood of the vic- ing of Zwinglian and of Roman errors tim. Christ passes from this compa
on this subject of the Eucharist, says, rison with treaties to that of expiatory “ The first have volatilized the Euchasacrifices, in which the life of a beast rist into a metaphor; the last have was offered in substitution for that of condensed it into an idol.” the man who had merited death. ? On the various reports of the Gen. xlix. 11.
words of institution, see Bp. Words? Sanction, according to Grotius, worth in St. Matt. xxvi. 28, and in comes from the Latin word for blood. his Introduction to the Four Gospels, 3 Heb. viii. 6, 9; ix. 18-20; Dan. xlvii.
THE TREACHERY OF JUDAS.
St. John xiii. 18-20.
I speak not of you all : I know whom I have chosen : but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell
Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
The Lord is speaking to them all, words which seem to imply some distrust. So, for the comfort of the sincere, He assures them that, in the announcement He is about to make, He speaks not of them all. Not concerning all is He so speaking. Only at the one sad case of apostasy in that otherwise faithful band is He here glancing. He had chosen them all to this ministry and apostleship, and He knew the hearts of all whom He had chosen. He knew that even among these there was one unsound, covetous, a traitor, ready to betray, waiting only for opportunity. And the treachery of Judas was the fulfilment of the Scripture." Not that Judas must needs sin because the Scripture foretold his fall, but the Scripture foretold his fall because he would sin. And the special Scripture this miserable man all unwittingly fulfilled was that prophetic passage of the Psalm,* in which David speaks of Ahitophel, once his counsellor, afterwards his enemy; fit type of this traitorous one, who, · Compare vv. 10, 11 above.
a pause after the “but,” a sort of 2 Compare St. John vi. 70, 71; aposiopesis. Acts i. 25.
* Ps. xli. 9. Compare Ps. lv. 12. 3 The style of v. 18 is abrupt, suit- It is the same Hebrew word in both ing the awful subject. There seems places.
after having partaken of his Lord's hospitality' (which thing, according to Eastern ideas, would greatly aggravate such conduct), had lifted up the heel against Him; endeavouring, as a wrestler, to trip Him up, to work His fall. Such seems the import of this proverbial expression. Our Lord too Himself foretold it, and the event would prove His Divine foreknowledge. When the event verified the prediction, they would acknowledge that He knew all things; 5 they would recognize Him as the eternal Son of God. Then the Lord returns to a subject He had been speaking of before. He had read them a lesson of humility; now He speaks to them of their exaltation: for “ before honour is humility,” and “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” They were ambassadors of Christ. In the person of an ambassador, the Sovereign himself may be either received or set at nought. Thus, in words already familiar to them, the Lord instructs both His Church and them. As He was sent of the Father, so are they sent of Him. By this gracious analogy He arms them with authority and inspires them with courage. To receive them, let the Church know, is to receive and honour God Himself.10
THE SAME SUBJECT—continued.
St. John xiii. 21, 22.
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of 1 St. Luke xxii. 21.
cause of the fore-knowledge." 1 Cor. v. 11. See also St. Mark 5 St. John ii. 24, 25; viji. 28; xiv. xiv. 8; Obad. 7.
29. 3 Some suppose it a metaphor taken 6 Ex. iii. 14. from an animal suddenly striking out ? In v. 16. Both vy. begin with and kicking at its keeper.
the same solemn formula. - Justin Martyr (Quæst. et Respons. 8 St. Matt. x. 40-42; St. Luke x. 16. ad Orthodox, Resp. lviii.) says, “ The 9 St. John xx. 21. fore-knowledge was not the cause of 1 Thess. ii. 13; iv. 8. the betrayal, but the betrayal was the
you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
There is a melancholy emphasis upon this "you ;" one of you who these three years have enjoyed my intimacy and instruction, one of you to whom I am come from ministering, one of you whom I have been thus addressing, one of you who are even eating with me, that ancient and sacred sign of friendshp,—one of you shall betray me; shall take advantage of your intimacy with me, your knowledge of my ways and my whereabout, to guide the enemy to my retirement, and deliver me into their hand who seek to take away my life. Not for Himself was the Lord thus disturbed in mind, but at the baseness of him whom not all this could move, or turn from his covetousness. Even in Pagan story the name of Ephialtes obtained a bad pre-eminence, and could hardly be mentioned without borror ; bribed by Persian gold to betray his countrymen. Sad indeed that in Christian annals it should have its more than parallel. Now we may see the Disciples exchanging doubtful glances one with another; scarcely daring to surmise which of them it could be who should do this thing. From which we gather that, however
. deep-seated was the covetousness of Judas, he had managed hitherto to conceal his propensity from his fellows. They, we find, at this announcement “were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?"2 “And He answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.” 3
This general announcement, it seems, the Lord first made. But as more than one, probably, had thus shared His dish, they are still left in uncertainty. Then the Lord adds that word of woe, which might well give the traitor pause, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed ! good were it for that man if he had never been born." 4 He became man that He might die, but His disciple need not therefore betray Him. Judas was under no necessity to be a traitor
3 St. Mark xiv. 20.