Luke 22.7-38 (comments please?)

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover victim had to be slaughtered, and Jesus sent Peter and John with these instructions: “Go and prepare for our Passover supper.”

“Where would you like us to make the preparations?” they asked.

He replied, “As soon as you set foot in the city a man will meet you carrying a jug of water. Follow him into the house that he enters and give this message to the householder: ‘The Master says, “Where is the room in which I can eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ He will show you a large room upstairs all set out; make the preparations there.”

They went and found everything as he had said. So they prepared for Passover.

When the time came, he took his place at table, and the apostles with him; and he said to them, “How I have longed to eat this Passover with you before my death! For I tell you, never again shall I eat it until the time when it finds its fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you, from this moment I shall drink from the fruit of the vine no more until the time when the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks, and broke it; and he gave it to them, with the words, “This is my body.

“But mark this — My betrayer is here, his hand with mine on the table. For this son of Adam is going his appointed way; but alas for the man by whom he is betrayed!”

At this, they began to ask among themselves which of them it could possibly be who was to do this thing? Then a jealous dispute broke out: Who among them should rank highest?

But he said, “In the world, kings lord it over their subjects; and those in authority are called their country’s ‘benefactors’. Not so, with you. On the contrary, the highest of you must bear himself like the youngest, the chief of you like a servant. For who is greater? — the one who sits at table, or the servant who waits on him? Surely the one who sits at table. Yet here I am among you like a servant.

“You are the men who have stood firmly by me in my times of trial; and now I vest in you the kingship which my Father vested in me; you shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, take heed! Satan has been given leave to sift all of you like wheat; but for you I have prayed that your faith may not fail; and when you have come to yourself, you must lend strength to your brothers.”

“Lord,” he replied, “I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow tonight until you have three times denied that you know me.”

He said to them, “When I sent you out barefoot without purse or pack, were you ever short of anything?”

“No,” they answered.

“It is different now,” he said. “Whoever has a purse had better take it with him, and his pack too; and if he has no sword, let him sell his cloak to buy one. For scripture says, ‘And he was counted among the outlaws;’ and these word, I tell you, must find fulfillment in me. Indeed, all that is written of me is being fulfilled.”

“Look, Lord,” they said. “We have two swords here.”

“Enough, enough!” he replied.

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2 responses

  1. Too much to take in, all at once.
    This is Passover, not just a meal.
    The guy with the jug is either sending a pre-arranged signal, or Jesus simply knows he’s going to be there. With a room he wants to rent out for passover dinners. Unless this is in some Judaic form of monastery (as some people have suggested) that water jug is an anomaly. (Carrying water is normally woman’s work at the time.)

    Jesus has been continually telling people that ‘the kingdom of God,’ the ‘reign of God’, is ‘here’, ‘nearby’, or ‘within your grasp.’ But now, whatever this means to him, it is evidently imminent in some more intensive way, or in some new sense.

    Is this a Eucharist as people customarily practice that today? Notice there is divergence between one manuscript and another about whether he calls the wine ‘my blood,’ and the New English Bible’s translators decided to put it in a “some witnesses add” footnote.

    The Didache (which might well describe church practice dating from before Paul) has:

    “Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup:
    ‘We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which Thou madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever..’

    And concerning the broken bread:

    ‘We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever..’ ”

    This is interesting, in that whenever these actual Gospels were first committed to writing, there is practically universal agreement that Paul’s letters were written first.

    I followed Steven Davidson’s suggestion to read more Hyam Maccoby… and found him pointing out something really odd about Paul’s Eucharistic recommendation:

    [1 Corinthians 11:23-26] “For the tradition which I handed on to you came to me from the Lord himself: that the Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread and, after giving thanks to God, broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way, he took the cup after supper, and said: ‘This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.” [Early Friends aka ‘Quakers’ gave up this practice on the grounds that Jesus had in fact returned and was present in our meetings.]

    The language, Maccoby says, is basically identical with typical ceremonial language in the mystery religions of the time, to invite symbolic participation in the deaths of their gods. It isn’t a “tradition” familiar to the churches where Paul introduces it — and neither, evidently, is it known to the church in Jerusalem, established by Peter and several other witnesses to the actual supper.

    Paul doesn’t, in fact, claim that it is. He says Jesus told him so. In a vision.

    Could Paul have received valid information in that way? Certainly. But at the time he’s saying this, the available embodied witnesses aren’t saying or practicing any such thing.

  2. Furthermore:
    “and now I vest in you the kingship which my Father vested in me; you shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    If Jesus is about to reign as God’s agent, these twelve men, one of whom is expected to betray him, are being delegated to rule under his authority.

    And, he says, he is soon going to be considered an outlaw. So they’d better arm themselves accordingly.

    They say, “We’ve got two swords already!”

    And he says, more or less: ~”Great. You’re way ahead of me!” [It isn’t nice to use sarcasm on dumb people, is it?]

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