The Last Supper – The Two Types of Bread

John laying head on Jesus

The Last Supper

And The Two Types of Bread

Most Christians are familiar with the dispute over whether Jesus was talking metaphorically or literally during the Bread of Life Discourse.

If Jesus was talking metaphorically then the eucharist is just symbolic.  If Jesus was talking literally, then the Holy Eucharist becomes, in some mysterious way, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

St. John gives us something that is often overlooked at the Last Supper by the other Gospel writers.  He tells us that Judas received bread from the very hand of Jesus while in the Upper Room.  This bread is not the Eucharistic bread that Jesus gives to the 11 other Apostles. 

Throughout John’s Gospel, the Evangelist lays down markers pointing to something that will happen sometime in the future.  Jesus speaks about future events to help his disciples believe: “I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe” (John 14:29).  We are to make several connections based on specific references St. John makes in his Gospel.  An example of John laying down these crumbs or markers, is when the Virgin Mary approaches Jesus to tell him that the wedding feast has ran out of wine.  Jesus responds, John 2:4, “Woman, what does that have to do with us?  My hour has not yet come.”  Several times in Johns Gospel references are made that “My hour has not yet come or My time has not yet come.”  Besides John 2:4 other examples of “My time or My hour” include:  John 7:6-8, 30, John 8:20.  These markers point to John 12 and 13 where Jesus’ hour does come.

This is one of the ways St. John leads us into the revealed and Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.  We should take note of these markers or pointers that John laid down for us.  When we connect the dots, the Gospel opens up and we discover what the Holy Spirit inspired words of the Gospel writer wants us to see in the passages.  Another veil is peeled away and our understanding of the Gospels grow.

A careful study of several scenes in Johns Gospel is significant to understanding the Bread of Life Discourse in its proper context.  It’s always been believed by the Early Church Fathers that St. John writes his Gospel to supplement the synoptic gospels.

But before we look at Johns Gospel we need to look at several scenes from Matthew’s Gospel to supplement our understanding of what John reveals to us in his account of the Last Supper.

In St Matthew’s account of “The Temptation of Jesus,”  after receiving the Baptism of John the Baptist, Jesus was led, by the Holy Spirit, into the wilderness to engage the devil.

Matthew 4:3-4

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’”

The question begs to be asked, “Did satan not know that Jesus was the Son of God?”  The devil is aware of the scriptures in the Book of Moses and the Prophets, that the Messiah has come into the world: The Incarnation of the Word (Logos) became Flesh, and the Baptism of Jesus.

What satan asks Jesus to do is change the lifeless stones into something substantial that would provide sustenance after His 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert.  This is an allusion to the Exodus and the 40 years that the Jews wandered in the desert.

Jesus asks in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:9, “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?”  Again, the mention of the stone and the bread.  The tempter asks that stone be turned to bread and then the Father giving his son stone when he asks for bread.  God the Father gives us the True Bread which is Christ.  But that Bread must be Blessed and Consecrated to become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Jesus, in the divinely given Lords Prayer, has us pray to “Give us this day our daily bread.”  The Greek word Epiousios which is translated “daily” can also be translated as “supersubstantial” and this is how St. Jerome translated this word in the Latin Vulgate.

With this in mind, we will now focus on what St. John is pointing us to.  Without getting into the entire controversy of the Bread of Life Discourse, the focus will be on several verses that the Evangelist highlights and wants us to understand and see a connection.

 The Bread of Life Discourse

In verse 6:45 Jesus says this: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.'(…..).” he is evoking both Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:33ff, where both prophets refer to the future Covenant which God will establish with his people when the Messiah comes, the Covenant which will be sealed forever with the blood of the Messiah and which God will write on their hearts.  This is a clear link to the Discourse and the Last Supper where Jesus Institutes the Holy Eucharist and the New Covenant.  Another dot.

In the Bread of Life Discourse, we know that the learned Jews are grumbling among themselves when Jesus says in verse 6:41 “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” Jesus also reveals that He is “The Bread of Life and that we must Eat His Body and Drink His Blood.”

Any Jew reading John 6 would be aware that the Jews in the desert were grumbling because they were hungry, as noted in Exodus 16 and 17.  God of course provides.  He provides Water, the Manna and Flesh (Quail) for the Jews to survive in the wilderness.  St. John also tells us that the Bread of Life Discourse, as well as the feeding of the 5,000 and the Walking on Water is near the time of the Passover.  He drops another dot for us to connect later on.

With this in mind we need to look at another significant verse:

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!

In verse 6:62, Jesus is referring to a future event by saying “What if…”  We, the readers, of course know that Jesus will be Resurrected, but the Apostles and Disciples don’t yet know this.  So, Jesus is asking them to put their faith in him, even if it is just based on seeing the signs and miracles he has displayed before them.  Another dot to connect later on.

Because the Jews took Jesus literally, that he was asking them to do what the Torah explicitly condemns, they no longer walked with him, as revealed in John 6:66.  Jesus lets them go, as if to say, “I shake off the dust from my feet” or “Let the dead bury the dead,” He lets them walk away.  No explanation, no calling them back to explain that He was talking metaphorically, or symbolically or even sacramentally.  He doesn’t stop them and explain to them that He is the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity.  He doesn’t call them back and say its all a misunderstanding and just hang with me a little longer.  None of these things are said or done.  Jesus, without any explaination given to them or to the Apostles, watch as they walk away from the Word made Flesh.

 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

Notice that Jesus himself links Judas to satan and St. John links Judas as the one who will betray him.  Simon Peter asks the question that we all must ask:  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  Judas hears these words also.  Judas stays and doesn’t leave with the other disciples for John 6:66.  Here is another dot to connect later on.

St. Johns Account of The Last Supper

imagesCAF5GDC7John 13:21-30
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.
23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him;
24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” a So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. b
27 After he received the piece of bread, c Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.”
28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Now turning to the Last Supper in John Chapter 13, Jesus and the 12 Apostles are in the Upper Room for the celebration of the Passover Meal.  The Passover Meal, in the time of Jesus, was an event that took hours to complete.   In verse 13:2, during the long celebration of Passover, Jesus rises up and washes the disciples feet, and definitely washed the feet of Judas as well.  Because the Passover Meal is hours long, containing many parts and many offerings of bread and wine, it may appear that Jesus could have already Instituted the Holy Eucharist while Judas is present.  But it is very unlikely because why would Jesus speak the words of Institution, whether we are speaking of the Holy Eucharist as His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, or in a spiritual sense, as most Protestant denominations prefer to understand it while Judas is there.  Would Jesus offer Satan His body and blood?

I propose that this is unlikely.  Luke has Judas participating in the Last Supper during institution, but scholars have noted that Luke doesn’t put many events in time-order.

In verse 13:21, Jesus echo’s the same dire warning again, that one of them, the 12, will betray Him, see John 6:70-71. Jesus here is himself pointing us to the connection of the Discourse to St. Johns account of the Last Supper.  Another dot.

The Apostles, of course don’t know which one of them will betray Jesus.  John 13:24: So Simon Peter asks St. John, who has his head on the bosom of Christ, (where else should one ever place their head to rest), “Tell us to who He is speaking.”  Jesus then says in 13:26, “it is the one to whom I give this piece of bread…..”  He gave it to Judas.  Note that again, only these two Apostles are mentioned by name.  Another dot to connect later on.

St. John does not give us any other details of The Last Supper or The Institution of the Eucharist.  That has been given by the other Gospel writers.  We have John’s eyewitness account of Jesus giving ordinary, unblessed, unconsecrated bread to Judas.   Jesus, according to the other Gospel writers takes Bread, Blesses it and says “This is My Body and This is My Blood.”  This is the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and Jesus thus reveals the full meaning of the Bread of Life Discourse with the word: “This is My Body, This is My Blood.”

 The Two Types of Bread at the Last Supper

The bread of denial

The Bread of Life

The first bread offered during the Last Supper is symbolic of nothing but the denial of Jesus as the Son of God.  It was unsubstantial bread and it is, as Judas represents, the denial of the very words of Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior.

The second Bread is the Word that Becomes Flesh.  His Flesh is True Food and  His Blood is True Drink indeed.  It is Supersubstantial Bread; greater than the Manna and the Flesh that the Jews ate in the wilderness and died.  This Bread that He gives us is to Eternal Life.

The first bread was ordinary bread and is devoid of the eternal life that Jesus says we will receive when we Eat of His Body and Drink of His Blood, when it is blessed and consecrated by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Early Church, founded upon the faith of the Apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, has celebrated the Divine Liturgy from the very beginning of the Apostolic Churches, right up to this very day.

Of the four Gospels only St. John indicates there were two types of bread.  Was St. John letting us know this?  We know that St. John relates other scenes that the other writers didn’t mention.  What is equally important to note is not just that Judas receives unblessed bread from the hand of Jesus, but that there is only 2 types of bread, not 3 or 4 types of bread.  The first bread is ordinary bread, contrasted by his dipping it into sop; the second bread is held up and the words, This is My Body, et., etc., are invoked.  Another dot.

St. John is an eyewitness during the scene in the Upper Room.  He sees Jesus give Judas the unblessed bread.  The disciples did not know why Judas leaves the Last Supper supposing him to be on an errand.  They do not know the real reason of his leaving until a few days later.  Judas was banished from the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.  He was truly deaf, blind and fractured.

When Jesus hands Judas the unblessed bread, satan and Judas became one.  Each abiding one in the other.

When Jesus blesses the First Eucharist, he institutes the New Covenant.  Judas and therefore satan are not withesses of this Holy Sacrament instituted by our new High Priest.

When Jesus gives the blessed bread to the disciples from the Road to Emmaus, they immediately recognize him and he disappears; not bound by space and time.  Those who partake of a symbolic wafer or cracker, also do not recognize Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in this Holy Sacrament.

Let’s connect the dots:

  • During the Exodus, God provides Manna in the morning and Flesh in the evening.  At the Last Supper, Jesus takes Bread and says “This is My Body.”  His body is His Flesh as he also stated in the Bread of Life Discourse.
  • Jesus, in the Bread of Life Discourse evokes the prophets that God will establish a New Covenant with his people.  This is the cup of the New Covenant.  (Matthew 26:28, Luke 22:25, 1 Cor 11:25)
  • Both the Bread of Life Discourse and the Last Supper occur near or on the Passover.
  • Jesus connects the The Bread of Life Discourse to the Last Supper with the same dire warning of betrayal.
  • Two named Apostles at the Bread of Life Discourse are linked to the Last Supper: Simon Peter and Judas.
  • Two named Apostles at the Last Supper in the Upper Room: Simon Peter and Judas.
  • At the Bread of Life Discourse, The Bread of Life is denied thus denying the Divinity of Christ Jesus, and the disciples leave Jesus: John 6:66
  • Judas and Satan leave the Upper Room, and therefore are not witnesses to the Institution of the Eucharist: John 13:27 and John 13:30
  • At the Last Supper, two types of bread are given.  The first bread given is the bread of denial given to Judas, who should have left Jesus in John 6:66.
  • The second Bread given to the other Apostles, although not mentioned by John, is the Institution of the Eucharist, by the Word made Flesh.

To fully undertand the Holy Eucharist as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, it is paramount to look at the Liturgical Worship of the Early Apostolic Church.  The Bread of Life Discourse is to be understood both Spiritually and Sacramentally, in tandum and fully revealed to the Apostles after the resurrection of our Lord and Savior; under the guidence of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ,

Ron Sr.

7/26/2015

Just as an aside:  John 21:20, St. John is again pointing us to the Last Supper one more time to highlight it’s importance to us.

Thank YouEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on Google+1Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit0

About Ron Sr.

Just a guy who came to his senses.
This entry was posted in Faith, The Eucharist and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Last Supper – The Two Types of Bread

  1. Joanne says:

    Beautiful read and understanding into the Last Supper. Thanks for breaking it down and giving us your prospective.

  2. David Roemer says:

    Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the “passion of man,” not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are “traditional” alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer

    347-417-4703

    David Roemer
    http://www.newevangelization.info

  3. Kris says:

    If you don’t mind, I have posted a link to this page on a Catholic forum (https://www.reddit.com/r/Catholicism/)

    I don’t know of your own denominational affiliation, if you espouse The Real Presence it sort of makes you Catholic or Orthodox – if only by assent.

    I try not to dichotomize (much), this article is my invitation to – that is it makes me into a quasi-gnostic insofar as gnostics divided Christians into two types of Christian

    But that is to see things in a mirror-reflected (back-to-front) – gnosticism doesn’t get to define what is orthodox, it is orthodoxy that defines what is heretical.

    A very interesting and illuminating post, many thanks

    • Ron Sr. says:

      Hi Kris,

      You are welcome to post this article on a Catholic forum.

      Thanks for the comment. I’m in a Pre-Denominational Church, established on the faith of the Apostles and in Jesus as the cornerstone. My Church was founded on the Day of Pentecost, 33 A.D. The first Bishop of my Church was someone who denied Christ 3 times on the day he was crucified. We call this the “BIG C” Catholic Church.

      Jesus Christ prayed for unity in John 17 and it’s known as the High Priestly Prayer. If you look very closely at John 6, you will notice that the Bread of Life Discourse caused disunity (grumbling, scandal) and division amongst the disciples of Jesus. It wasn’t until Luther, Calvin and Zwingli that large numbers of people walked away from the Holy Eucharist, as they did in John 6:66.

      Here is a quote I learned a few years back: Heretics always call Heresy Orthodoxy.

      Blessings,

      Ron Sr.

  4. Phil says:

    Hi Ron,
    This is Phil.
    And you could add: “and those who disagree with them are lost.”
    Keep up the good work and continue praying for them. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can convict them.
    God bless you.
    PS I disagree with you on your support of the Panthers because I am a Broncos fan.

  5. Ron Sr. says:

    Thanks Phil,

    Brian has banned me again. I’m a little relieved. They have now admitted they are Nestorians and know I’ve been a constant thorn in their sides. My last comment there really gave Brian the ammo he’s been looking for to boot me. No matter. I spoke the truth.

    He thinks he can go up against the Big Boys at C2C or Nicks Blog. He can’t if he makes those types of scriptural errors. He didn’t give me a chance to pounce on his other questions he asked me. Well, I don’t believe in throwing my pearls to the swine.

    And Kevin provided me with a lot of laughs with his clueless recitation of scripture which proves our theology to be correct. He was the blind leading the blind. I will definitely miss the back and forth I had with Mike though. It’s my only regret.

    Please keep in touch. I’m getting ready to do a bible study at my parish here in Raleigh.

    In the Peace of Christ,

    Ron Sr.

  6. Cary says:

    Luke 22:17-23 pretty clearly indicates that Judas was still present during the institution of the Lord’s Supper as would be expected. We know from Jesus’ rebuttal of Peter, that Satan did not want Jesus to die. His hope was that God the Son would abandon humanity to their sins and eternal death when faced with the reality and terror of his own imminent suffering and death. Likewise, Judas had no expectation of Jesus dying. He was simply planning to force Jesus’ hand and make him accept his role as King and establish his kingdom and end the power of Rome. Jesus lovingly gave Judas one last chance to understand that he was truly going to die, not to deliver the Jews from Rome, but sinners from death. He was truly going to lay down his life and shed his blood for us, and he wanted Judas to understand that.

  7. Ron Sr. says:

    Hi Cary, (Are you Cary from Onefold?)

    Interesting comment. Let’s go over it together.

    Several new testament scholars have written that Luke is not at all interested in time-lines, as I did point out in the article. If we take only Lukes account then we have to disregard the other gospel accounts. The Article is based on what St. John wants us to know and understand about Jesus and His life and ministry and most importantly about the Bread of Life Discourse. .

    Cary says: Likewise, Judas had no expectation of Jesus dying. He was simply planning to force Jesus’ hand and make him accept his role as King and establish his kingdom and end the power of Rome.

    To say Judas had no expectation of Jesus’ death is an understatement to say the least. Let’s see what scripture has to say. Jesus is talking to the disciples here:

    Luke 9:22

    …saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” 23 And He was saying to them all.

    Luke 18:31-33

    31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; 33 they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

    Jesus himself has told his Disciples and Apostles he is to be put to death at least 3 times in each of the Synoptics. So that assertion isn’t correct. It does say so in one or two places that it was kept from them, but not all. And then we have Johns account as well.

    Cary says: Jesus lovingly gave Judas one last chance to understand that he was truly going to die, not to deliver the Jews from Rome, but sinners from death. He was truly going to lay down his life and shed his blood for us, and he wanted Judas to understand that.

    Judas never believed. As I point out in the Article, Jesus links Judas’ actions to the Devil and St. John links Judas as the one who will betray Jesus at the Bread of Life Discourse. As the Article does point out, St. John is linking the Bread of Life Discourse to the Passover. The Passover meal was hours long. There were hymns to sing and Psalms to be read or sang and 4 cups of wine to drink before the night was done in a typical Passover Feast. What is very important at the Last Supper, is the Passover Lamb is no longer the center of the Pascal Feast. It is now Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist occurs after the meal has ended and there is no reason to think that Judas and Satan are partakers of the New Covenant.

    The Devil also reads scripture and knows it very well, as St. James points out “even the demons believe……” Satan knows what’s coming in the future. But neither Satan or Judas are witnesses to the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. Satan witnessed the fall of man, and he is a witness to the symbolic bread of denial. But he isn’t a witness to the Institution and neither are those who deny the Real Presence.

    I’m so sure that Judas could have repented even after his betrayal and would have been forgiven. But he doesn’t.

    In Christ,

    Ron Sr.

Leave a Reply