The Eucharist

Wine and Bread

As was the custom during all Jewish meals, bread was broken, wine was shared and blessings were said over each. This is what was done at the Last Supper that Jesus shared with The Twelve. Jesus never said anything about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Such a thing was absolutely forbidden under Jewish law and Jesus was a faithful Jew who never would have ever even thought of such a thing, let alone said it.

The words that came to be said decades after Jesus’ crucifixion came from Paul, not from Jesus. In a letter to his followers at Corinth in A.D. 54, Paul said the words about eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood as a new covenant. Paul says he “received” those words from Jesus. How or when he “received” the words from Jesus is not revealed. Certainly Paul was not present at that Wednesday evening meal; and Paul wrote those words 24 years after Jesus’crucifixion.

Jesus’ Apostles knew that Jesus never said those words because they were at that last meal. Two of those Twelve were Jesus’ brothers and they never spoke of any such words said by Jesus. Furthermore, the record that we have of the Eucharist in an ancient Christian instruction manual titled, “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” used to instruct candidates for Christian baptism, contains these words, “With respect to the Eucharist, you shall give thanks as follows. First with respect to the cup: ‘We give you thanks our Father for the Holy Vine of David, your child which you made known to us through Jesus your child. To you be the glory forever.’ And with respect to the bread: ‘We give you thanks our Father for the life and knowledge that you made known to us through Jesus your child. To you be the glory forever.’

There is no mention of wine being blood and bread being flesh in this record of the early Christian Eucharist. This early community of followers of Jesus did not get their Eucharist prayer from Paul. They likely knew that this was the prayer used by the Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jerusalem, led by the successor of Jesus, his brother, James the Just.

Paul was inventing his own theology for his own reasons rather than following what The Twelve knew from first hand experience. Unfortunately, Paul’s contrived theology served the later organized church of the gentiles very well for their own purposes, wanting to separate themselves from Jesus’ Jewishness.

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