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IntroductionI think that no doctrine inside Christianity was as arguably and problematic as the doctrine of the Lord's Supper (Eucharistic). Not only that century-old fighting's is going on around the text: 'This is my body' (1.Cor.11:24) between Roman Catholics and Protestants, but there is nonconformity regarding the question among Protestants themselves. The first notification of the Lord's Supper set a division among Christ's disciples, as they were shocked when Christ told them about the suffering that He must go through, so they said: "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" (John 6,60). The cause of this fighting is based on a question of understanding the nature of Christ's presence in bread and wine as in understanding the nature of Christ body, the Church. Those fighting became so intense that the concept of Eschaton in the Lord's Supper (Until he comes, 1.Cor.
11, 26), i.e. the connection of the Lord's Supper and the Kingdom of God that will come , was totally forgotten. And tendency of neglecting the eschatological concept of Lord's Supper would not be so important if it would not have for its consequences the way and oftness of its maintenance , the religiousness of believers and life of a Church and its missionary orientation. In this paper we will not discuss the questions of Christ's presence in the sights of bread and wine during the Lord's Supper and we will not talk about Luther's, Calvin's or Zwingli's view of Lord's Supper. We will not define it nor will we discuss how often we should participate in it
In this paper we assume that the Lord's Supper for many Christians does not implicate the eschatological concept (which guides the Church and its believers to the Heavenly Kingdom) and has became something static and local. The Lord's Supper is always talked about by its meaning in the past, not its future. It has been forgotten (as the Second Vatican Council says) that "The Lord's Supper (Eucharistic) is the wellspring and the crown of all Christian life, and without it the Church would not exist nor be alive" because she wouldn't have its purpose, and that is eternity. Miroslav Volf in his book After Our Likenes quotes famous catholics theologian Ratzinger, "Through, baptism, human beings spet out of isolation and into the trinitarian communion, and thus also into the communion of the church, thereby becoming ecclesial beings. As ecclesial beings, however, they live from the Eucharist.
The church itself, which participates sacramentaly in making individuals into Christians, realizes its own being as church in the Eucharist." To this statement I would add the words of professor Janos Pasztor: "The sacrament of Lord's Supper is not only an addition to the Church, but it is an energy of the Church" that binds a humanity with the Kingdom of God that will come. In order to understand the meaning of Lord's Supper when we talk about Eschatology we will talk about the Passover because Lord's Supper lies on its grounds. We will see what was the goal in Christ's choosing the Passover to establish the Lord's Supper. First part of this paper will talk about Passover in the Old Testament (its establishment, celebration and meaning) and in the New Testament. In the second part we will talk about the Lord's Supper, its establishment, meaning, names and connection with the Kingdom of God.
Since the relationship between Lord's Supper and Kingdom of God is faintly investigated, it would require much more space then we are able to use in this paper, so because of the limited space we will concentrate on the, in my opinion, most important elements. The Passover in the Old TestamentThe Passover is for the first time mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 12. In this chapter one event is described which is placed before the Israelis coming out from the Egyptian bondage. In the Bible we read (Genesis 46) that Jacob on a call of his son Joseph came to Egypt and settled there (Genesis 47,11). But, after Joseph and the Pharaoh from Joseph's time died, hard times came on the People of Israel.
There was an open hate from the side of the ruling dynasty towards the People of Israel (Exodus 1,11). Little by little the people of Israel fall totally under the control of the Egyptians and become their slaves. In order to save his People, God gives special directions to Moses. Those directions that God gave to Moses where called Passover and in fact that was the first participation in Passover in the Bible. After Israelites had done what God asked them to do, at midnight He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12:29).
Pharaoh, realizing that God Jehovah is bigger then he is decided to let the Israelites go (Exodus 12:31). After they went out of Egypt and settled in the Sinai desert, God gave the Israelites special directions considering the maintenance of Passover, and we read about them in Exodus 12:43-51 and Leviticus 23:4-8. After the Egyptian bondage, the Passover became one of the most significant festivities. The Hebrew's celebrated the Passover every year on 14th of Nissan and it was always directed to the Passover lamb that will be sacrificed and its blood that will be spilled as a sign of salvation from the Egyptian bondage during the rule of Pharaoh Amenhotep II (he rules in Egypt 1450-1425 BC). The Passover became the festivity of salvation and liberation that contained in itself the past, the presence and the future.1. The Past - Passover reminded the people of Israel that once they were liberated from Egyptian bondage, and how the houses, marked by the blood of the lamb, were saved by the grace of God.
2. The Presence - Passover celebration always started with a prayer of thanksgiving for everything that God has done, after which followed drinking of wine, eating of the Passover lamb, unleavened bread and bitter cabbage. 3. The Future - by coming out from Egypt, the Passover received a new eschatological dimension. The expectation of that what will come, the final liberation. Liberation from the Egyptian bondage was only an image of that final Messianic liberation.The Passover was the past, the presence and the future, remembrance and hope.
A present joy for liberation that came, and certainty that more important liberation will come in the future when the real Passover lamb will be offered , when the sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins will be laid on, and when the freedom of sin will be granted to all mankind. That means that the Passover became an obligation, in a way, for humanity and for God. Man had an obligation to participate in it and God to fulfill it. In those circumstances, Jesus and his disciples partake in the Passover.The Passover in New TestamentOn the fourteenth day of the first month of religious year according to the Synopsis (Mathew 26:26-29; Mark 14:23-25; Luke 22:15-19), Jesus was eating the Passover dinner with his disciples before he was arrested. At that time, Israelites for more then 1400 years were praying God to remember his covenant and promise given to them as the Chosen people.
Jesus was finishing his work on earth in those circumstances and he wanted to point to the elements of Passover and give them a new meaning. We can see that Jesus chose a very rich, symbolic human context.Lord's Supper'And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.' (Luke 22:19-20)On this feast, this important act received a name 'Eucharist' which means 'giving thanks'. Jesus is giving thanks for the great deeds that God is doing: for giving us food; bread and wine. To celebrate the Eucharistic (Lord's Supper) means to recognize God's gifts always and everywhere, and to know how to be grateful for them. The Last Supper was the farewell supper, but whenever Jesus was talking he was looking forward to the time when the kingdom of God will come in force (Mark 9:1), and so he went to face his death assured in that new feast in God's kingdom. According to writings of New Testament, Jesus established the Lord's Supper the night before he died (Mathew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-19; John 13:1-20; 1.Cor.11:23-25).
The synoptic describe the Lord's Supper differently so that Luke's description is somehow different then Mathew's or Mark's. Luke gives to these event thirty-three rows while Mathew and Mark only thirteen. Luke is writing elements that Mark and Mathew are not. And John gave to this event hundred and fifty-five rows. Clearly Luke, writing his Gospel, had in his mind a heart for the first Church, that he shows in writing the Acts. So I would agree with Dr.
Rudolf Brajcic who says in his book, Bit i suvremenost Crkve, following: "If Luke wanted to look up in Christ biographer John, he could peacefully start his church history like this: "In the beginning there was a gathering." John is contemplating eternity. There in the beginning is Word, simplicity of thought, synthesis of the whole sense of deliberateness. Luke is contemplating the church temporality. There in the beginning is gathering, crowd which by picking is moving in its definitive shape in the synthesis of eternal Sense." From the report of The Last Supper we can draw out the following conclusions: 1. The Last Supper reminds us of what Jesus has done for us. By the words of the apostle Paul Jesus said: 'Do this in remembrance of me' while he was breaking bread and took the cup (1.Cor.11:24-24).
The Lord's Supper reminds us of Jesus, especially his death. Jean Galot in his book, Soteriology, points out that Jesus established the Eucharist (Lord's Supper) on the suffering that was in front of him. He went through that suffering because of us, and with his sacrifice he gave us salvation. By taking the bread and wine we are becoming conscious about what happened on Golgotha. This way he gave the Passover the motif of remembrance a new meaning. The New Testament describes Jesus Christ as God's Passover lamb (1.Cor.5:7) that saved people from the spiritual bondage of sin by his sacrifice on a cross. His sacrifice and spilled blood made people free not from bondage of flesh as it was the case with first Passover, but from spiritual bondage, bondage of sin.
Here we are drawing a comparison between a lamb and Jesus. A Lamb that was taken from the earthly flock set people free from earthly bondage while a lamb from Heaven, born by the Spirit was given as sacrifice to free people from spiritual bondage. By participating in the Lord's Supper, we are remembering how Jesus, as the 'Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world' (Revelation 13:8) saved us with his blood out of sin and from sin.2. [Koinwni,a - community; with Christ and with people]. The Lord's Supper awakens in us a feeling of eternal dependence on Christ.
Day to day we are thanking Christ for saving us and for keeping us in our lives. When Jesus is talking about his body and blood as the spring of life in John 6:53-56, we participate in them, as in the words of G. E. Ladd, "We are uniting in heavenly Christ." The purpose of this report in John 6:53-56 is to point out our universal and lasting communion with Christ, spiritually and bodily. Beside that, the Lord's Supper is pointing to a feeling of togetherness among believers in a local church, and wider because participating in Lord's Supper you become ipso facto a member of all communities in the world.
When Koinwni,a celebrates the Lord's Supper (Eucharist), it means that it recognizes God's gifts of creation and redemption, the new covenant and eternal life in Jesus Christ. By taking bread and wine together, the gathering around the table affirms our interpersonal bondage and unites us in church. Looking ecclesiologically, it could be said that Lord's Supper is the crown of service to God. 3. The Lord's Supper is directing our attention to the future.
"I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom" (Mathew 26:29). With this statement, Jesus gave an eschatological note to the Lord's Supper because he gave his disciples certainty that this feast is something that is expecting and making them participants in a Messianic, eschatological feast. Jesus is leading his disciples in orbit of something that did not yet happened. During history many names were given to the Lord's Supper and they were all attempts to show the multiplicity of the same. NamesThe most common are:1.
["Lord's Supper" (kuriako.n dei/pnon,1. Cor. 11:20)], is used only once in the New Testament and in its original meaning represents a feast, a dinner. Jesus himself had dinner with his disciples on the evening of his sufferings as a foretaste of the Lamb feast in Heaven in heavenly Jerusalem. 2.
["Breaking of bread" (th/| kla,sei tou/ a;rtou, Acts 2:42.46; 20:7)]. This term originally re presented a part of the ritual of the Jewish Passover feast , and now it represents Christ's body (as bread - bread from Heaven, John 6:32-33) which has been given to us to eat so that we could 'receive' the Kingdom of Heaven. Considering that disciples recognized him by act of bread breaking after he was resurrected , that concept was well taken among first Christians. It was a way to say that all of those who are eating from the same broken bread are entering the communion with Christ and with him they are only one Body. 3.
["Communion" (koinwni,a, 1.Cor. 10, 16)]. Paul's concept of "koinonia", communion, community, is not only that which is established by people, but by Christ as a host, which is in the bread and wine indirectly connected with him. The unity of many is, in Paul's eyes, so tight because the concept of togetherness is formally fulfilled with realistically understood Christ's presence in bread and wine. 4.
["The Lord's Table" (trape,zhj tou/ Kuri,ou, 1.Cor. 10:21)], which stands in opposite of the Table of Demons. Here also we see the unity with Christ in bread and wine. 5. ["Gathering ...
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