The Feeding of the Multitudes, the Last Supper, the Lord's Supper, and the Eucharist
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

The various New Testament accounts of Jesus feeding the multitudes, the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, and the Early Christian Church's commemoration of the Lord's Supper (also called the "Breaking of the Bread" or later the "Eucharist" ), contain similar patterns of four key verbs (or their synonyms):

Rudolf Koch: The Feeding of the 5000The Feeding of the 5000 (in all four Gospels):

The Feeding of the 4000 (only in Mark and Matthew, not Luke or John):
Rudolf Koch: The Last SupperThe Last Supper (as narrated in the Synoptic Gospels and mentioned by Paul; but very different in John's Gospel):
The Supper at Emmaus (only in Luke):

The Early Christian "Breaking of Bread" (a.k.a. Lord's Supper or Eucharist):


Rudolf Koch: The Divine Meal "The Words of Institution" at the Christian Eucharist

Throughout the centuries, whenever the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" (also known as the "Lord's Supper," the "Mass," the "Divine Liturgy," and/or a "Communion Service") is celebrated in Christian Churches, the priest or minister usually speaks some words based closely on the above NT texts:

Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted,
Jesus took bread, and gave you thanks.
He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples and said:
"Take this, all of you, and eat it:
This is my body which will be given up for you."
When supper was ended, he took the cup.
Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
"Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.
It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in memory of me."

The above text is from Eucharistic Prayer II of the English translation of the Roman Missal, 2nd edition (1975). The versions used in the other Eucharistic Prayers of the Catholic Church and in the various Communion Services of other Christian Churches and Denominations are very similar, with only slight variations in wording or translation.

"The Words of Institution" - Comparative Overview

. Mark 14 Matthew 26 Luke 22 1 Cor 11 Roman Missal, 3rd edition (2011)
Words
over
the
Bread
"Take; this is my body."
"Take, eat; this is my body."
"This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me
."
"This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me
."
"Take this, all of you, and eat of it:
For this is my body
which will be given up for you."
Words
over
the
Cup
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many."
"Drink from it, all of you;
for this is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many
for the forgiveness of sins."
[third cup]: "Take this and
divide it among yourselves;..."
[fourth cup]: "This cup that is
poured out for you is the
new covenant in my blood."
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me
."
"Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
For this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in memory of me."

Old Testament Background: Special Meals, Covenants, and Sacrifices


Electronic New Testament Educational Resources

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