1 Corinthians 11:24
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
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(24) And when he had given thanks . . .—Better, and having given thanks, He brake it, and said,This is My body which is for you.” The insertion of the words, “take, eat,” and “broken” is not supported by MS. evidence. The former were probably inserted so as to produce a verbal identity with St. Matthew’s account, and the word “broken” possibly as explanatory. At the institution the act of breaking the bread explained sufficiently what was meant. The Master, while in the act of breaking it, said, “This is My body, which is for you.”

This do in remembrance of mei.e., all that was done then. Bless the bread, break it, distribute it, eat it. When I am no longer with you bodily, these acts will make memory grow into realisation of My presence in your midst. If the soft music of those words could reach us now, disentangled from the theological discords of intervening ages, surely they would come to us with some such significance. To those who first heard them they certainly must have implied not that a physical presence was about to be perpetuated, but rather that there was now something for them which would in after ages console them for a physical absence.

1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 11:24

The account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, contained in this context, is very much the oldest extant narrative of that event. It dates long before any of the Gospels, and goes up, probably, to somewhere about five and twenty years after the Crucifixion. It presupposes a previous narrative which had been orally delivered to the Corinthians, and, as the Apostle alleges, was derived by him from Christ Himself. It is intended to correct corruptions in the administration of the rite which must have taken some time to develop themselves. And so we are carried back to a period very close indeed to the first institution of the rite, by the words before us.

No reasonable doubt can exist, then, that within a very few years of our Lord’s death, the whole body of Christian people believed that Jesus Christ Himself appointed the Lord’s Supper. I do not stay to dwell upon the value of a rite contemporaneous with the fact which it commemorates, and continuously lasting throughout the ages, as a witness of the historical veracity of the alleged fact; but I want to fix upon this thought, that Jesus Christ, who cared very little for rites, who came to establish a religion singularly independent of any outward form, did establish two rites, one of them to be done once in a Christian lifetime, one of them to be repeated with indefinite frequency, and, as it appears, at first repeated daily by the early believers. The reason why these two, and only these two, external ordinances were appointed by Jesus Christ was, that, taken together, they cover the whole ground of revealed fact, and they also cover the whole ground of Christian experience. There is no room for any other rites, because these two, the rite of initiation, which is baptism, and the rite of commemoration, which is the Lord’s Supper, say everything about Christianity as a revelation, and about Christianity as a living experience.

Not only so, but in the simple primitive form of the Lord’s Supper there is contained a reference to the past, the present and the future. It covers all time as well as all revelation and all Christian experience. For the past, as the text shows us, it is a memorial of one Person, and one fact in that Person’s life. For the present, it is the symbol of the Christian life, as that great sixth chapter in John’s gospel sets forth; and for the future, it is a prophecy, as our Lord Himself said on that night in the upper chamber, ‘Till I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom,’ and as the Apostle in this context says, ‘Till He come.’ It is to these three aspects of this ordinance, as the embodiment of all essential Christian truth, and as the embodiment of all deep Christian experience, covering the past, the present, and the future, that I wish to turn now. I do not deal so much with the mere words of my text as with this threefold significance of the rite which it appoints.

I. So then, first, we have to think of it as a memorial of the past.

‘Do this,’ is the true meaning of the words, not ‘in remembrance of Me,’ but something far more sweet and pathetic-’do this for the remembering of Me.’ The former expression is equal to ‘Do this because you remember.’ The real meaning of the words is, ‘Do this in case you forget’; do this in order that you may recall to memory what the slippery memory is so apt to lose-the impression of even the sweetest sweetness, of the most loving love, and the most self-abnegating sacrifice, which He offered for us.

There is something to me infinitely pathetic and beautiful in looking at the words not only as the commandment of the Lord, but as the appeal of the Friend, who wished, as we all do, not to be utterly forgotten by those whom He cared for and loved; and who, not only because their remembrance was their salvation, but because their forgetfulness pained His human heart, brings to their hearts the plaintive appeal: ‘Do not forget Me when I am gone away from you; and even if you have no better way of remembering Me, take these poor symbols, to which I am not too proud to entrust the care of My memory, and do this, lest you forget Me.’

But, dear brethren, there are deeper thoughts than this, on which I must dwell briefly. ‘In remembrance of Me’-Jesus Christ, then, takes up an altogether unique and solitary position here, and into the sacredest hours of devotion and the loftiest moments of communion with God, intrudes His personality, and says, ‘When you are most religious, remember Me; and let the highest act of your devout life be a thought turned to Myself.’

Now, I want you to ask, is that thought diverted from God? And if it is not, how comes it not to be? I want you honestly to ask yourselves this question-what did He think about Himself who, at that moment, when all illusions were vanishing, and life was almost at its last ebb, took the most solemn rite of His nation and laid it solemnly aside and said: ‘A greater than Moses is here; a greater deliverance is being wrought’ : ‘Remember Me.’ Is that insisting on His own personality, and making the remembrance of it the very apex and shining summit of all religious aspiration-is that the work of one about whom all that we have to say is, He was the noblest of men? If so, then I want to know how Jesus Christ, in that upper chamber, founding the sole continuous rite of the religion which He established, and making its heart and centre the remembrance of His own personality, can be cleared from the charge of diverting to Himself what belongs to God only, and how you and I, if we obey His commands, escape the crime of idolatry and man-worship? ‘Do this in remembrance,’-not of God-’in remembrance of Me,’ ‘and let memory, with all its tendrils, clasp and cleave to My person.’ What an extraordinary demand! It is obscuring God, unless the ‘Me’ is God manifest in the flesh.

Then, still further, let me remind you that in the appointment of this solitary rite as His memorial to all generations, Jesus Christ Himself designates one part of His whole manifestation as the part into which all its pathos, significance, and power are concentrated. We who believe that the death of Christ is the life of the world, are told that one formidable objection to our belief is that Jesus Christ Himself said so little during His life about His death. I believe His reticence upon that question is much exaggerated, but apart altogether from that, I believe also that there was a necessity in the order of the evolution of divine truth, for the reticence, such as it is, because, whatsoever might be possible to Moses and Elias, on the Mount of Transfiguration, ‘His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem,’ could not be much spoken about in the plain till it had been accomplished. But, apart from both of these considerations, reflect, that whether He said much about His death or not, He said something very much to the purpose about it when He said ‘Do this in remembrance of Me.’

It is not His personality only that we are to remember. The whole of the language of the institution of the ritual, as well as the form of the rite, and its connection with the ancient passover, and its connection with the new covenant into connection with which Christ Himself brings it, all point to the significance in His eyes of His death as the Sacrifice for the world’s sin. Wherefore ‘the body’ and ‘the blood’ separately remembered, except to indicate death by violence? Wherefore the language ‘the body broken for you’; ‘the blood shed for many for the remission of sins?’ Wherefore the association with the Passover sacrifice? Wherefore the declaration that ‘this is the blood of the Covenant,’ unless all tended to the one thought-His death is the foundation of all loving relationships possible to us with God; and the condition of the remission of sins-the Sacrifice for the whole world?’

This is the point that He desires us to remember; this is that which He would have live for ever in our grateful hearts.

I say nothing about the absolute exclusion of any other purpose of this memorial rite. If it was the mysterious thing that the superstition of later ages has made of it, how, in the name of common-sense, does it come that not one syllable, looking in that direction, dropped from His lips when He established it? Surely He, in that upper chamber, knew best what He meant, and what He was doing when He established the rite; and I, for my part, am contented to be told that I believe in a poor, bald Zwinglianism, when I say with my Master, that the purpose of the Lord’s Supper is simply the commemoration, and therein the proclamation, of His death. There is no magic, no mystery, no ‘sacrament’ about it. It blesses us when it makes us remember Him. It does the same thing for us which any other means of bringing Him to mind does. It does that through a different vehicle. A sermon does it by words, the Communion does it by symbols. That is the difference to be found between them. And away goes the whole fabric of superstitious Christianity, and all its mischiefs and evils, when once you accept the simple ‘Remember.’ Christ told us what He meant by the rite when He said ‘Do this in remembrance of Me.’

II. And now one word or two more about the other particulars which I have suggested. The past, however sweet and precious, is not enough for any soul to live upon. And so this memorial rite, just because it is memorial, is a symbol for the present.

That is taught us in the great chapter-the sixth of John’s Gospel-which was spoken long before the institution of the Lord’s Supper, but expresses in words the same ideas which it expresses by material forms. The Christ who died is the Christ who lives, and must be lived upon by the Christian. If our relation to Jesus Christ were only that ‘Once in the end of the ages He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself’; and if we had to look back through lengthening vistas of distance and thickening folds of oblivion, simply to a historical past, in which He was once offered, the retrospect would not have the sweetness in it which it now has. But when we come to this thought that the Christ who was for us is also the Christ in us, and that He is not the Christ for us unless He is the Christ in us; and His death will never wash away our sins unless we feed upon Him, here and now, by faith and meditation, then the retrospect becomes blessedness. The Christian life is not merely the remembrance of a historical Christ in the past, but it is the present participation in a living Christ, with us now.

He is near each of us that we may make Him the very food of our spirits. We are to live upon Him. He is to be incorporated within us by our own act. This is no mysticism, it is a piece of simple reality. There is no Christian life without it. The true life of the believer is just the feeding of our souls upon Him,-our minds accepting, meditating upon, digesting the truths which are incarnated in Jesus; our hearts feeding upon the love which is so tender, warm, stooping, and close; our wills feeding upon and nourished by the utterance of His will in commandments which to know is joy and to keep is liberty; our hopes feeding upon Him who is our Hope, and in whom they find no chaff and husks of peradventures, but the pure wheat of ‘Verily! verily I say unto you’; the whole nature thus finding its nourishment in Jesus Christ. You are Christians in the measure in which the very strength of your spirits, and sustenance of all your faculties, are found in loving communion with the living Lord.

Remember, too, that all this communion, intimate, sweet, sacred, is possible only, or at all events is in its highest forms and most blessed reality, possible only, to those who approach Him through the gate of His death. The feeding upon the living Christ which will be the strength of our hearts and our portion for ever, must be a feeding upon the whole Christ. We must not only nourish our spirits on the fact that He was incarnated for our salvation, but also on the truth that He was crucified for our acceptance with God. ‘He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me,’ has for its deepest explanation, ‘He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life.’

My friends, what about the hunger of your souls? Where is it satisfied? With the swine’s husks, or with the ‘Bread of God which came down from Heaven?’

III. Now, lastly, that rite which is a memorial and a symbol is also a prophecy.

In the original words of the institution our Lord Himself makes reference to the future; ‘till I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ And in the context here, the Apostle provides for the perpetual continuance, and emphasises the prophetic aspect, of the rite, by that word, ‘till He come.’ His death necessarily implies His coming again. The Cross and the Throne are linked together by an indissoluble bond. Being what it is, the death cannot be the end. Being what He is, if He has once been offered to bear the sins of many, so He must come the second time without sin unto salvation. The rite, just because it is a rite, is the prophecy of a time when the need for it, arising from weak flesh and an intrusive world, shall cease. ‘They shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord; at that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord.’ There shall be no temple in that great city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple thereof. So all external worship is a prophecy of the coming of the perfect time, when that which is perfect being come, the external helps and ladders to climb to the loftiest shall be done away.

But more than that, the memorial and symbol is a prophecy. That upper chamber, with its troubled thoughts, its unbidden tears, starting to the eyes of the half-understanding listeners, who only felt that He was going away and the sweet companionship was dissolved, may seem to be but a blurred and a poor image of the better communion of heaven. But though on that sad night the Master bore a burdened heart, and the servants had but partial apprehension and a more partial love; though He went forth to agonise and to die, and they went forth to deny and to betray, and to leave Him alone, still it was a prophecy of Christ’s table in His kingdom. Heaven is to be a feast. That representation promises society to the solitary, rest to the toilers, the oil of joy for mourning, and the full satisfaction of all desires. That heavenly feast surpasses indeed the antitype in the upper chamber, in that there the Master Himself partook not, and yonder we shall sup with Him and He with us, but is prophetic in that, as there He took a towel and girded Himself and washed the disciples’ feet, so yonder He will come forth Himself and serve them. The future is unlike the prophetic past in that ‘we shall go no more out’; there shall be no sequences of sorrow, and struggle, and distance and ignorance; but like it in that we shall feast on Christ, for through eternity the glorified Jesus will be the Bread of our spirits, and the fact of His past sacrifice the foundation of our hopes.

So, dear brethren, though our external celebration of this rite be dashed, as it always is, with much ignorance and with feeble faith; and though we gather round this table as the first generation of Israelites did round the passover, of which it is the successor, with staff in hand and loins girded, and have to eat it often with bitter herbs mingled, and though there be at our sides empty places, yet even in our clouded and partial apprehension, and in the imperfections of this outward type, we may see a gracious shadow of what is waiting for us when we shall go no more out, and all empty places shall be filled, and the bitter herbs shall be changed for the asphodel of Heaven and the sweet flowerage round the throne of God, and we shall feast upon the Christ, and in the loftiest experience of the utmost glories of the Heavens, shall remember the bitter Cross and agony as that which has bought it all. ‘This do in remembrance of Me.’ May it be a symbol of our inmost life, and the prophecy of the Heaven to which we each shall come!

1 Corinthians 11:24. And when he had given thanks — The word ευχαριστησας, thus rendered, is the term used also by Luke, whence Macknight infers, that the word ευλογησας, used by Matthew and Mark, ought to be understood, not of Christ’s blessing the bread, but of his blessing God for saving sinners through his death, See on Luke 22:19. He brake it — Into several pieces; and — Distributing it to his disciples who were present, said — With great sweetness and solemnity, This is my body which is broken for you — “As the clause, which is broken, cannot be taken literally, because it would imply that Christ’s body was broken, or put to death on the cross, at the time he said this, contrary to truth; so the clause, this is my body, cannot be taken literally: for the two clauses making but one proposition, if the clause, this is my body, which is the subject of the proposition, be interpreted literally, the predicate, which is broken for you, must be so likewise. Consequently the proposition will import, that the bread in our Lord’s hands was converted into a thing which at that time had no existence. Both the doctrine of the Papists, and that of the Lutherans, therefore, [on this head,] ought to be rejected, as implying an evident falsehood; namely, that Christ’s body, at the time he spake, was broken, or put to death.” In other passages of Scripture, we frequently find expressions perfectly similar to, this is my body, as is proved in the note on Matthew 26:26, which see. The evident meaning of our Lord is, This bread is the representation of my body, which is to be broken for you. “The Papists contend, that in every age, by the priests pronouncing what they call the words of consecration, the same change is made in the bread and wine, which they affirm was made in these elements by Christ’s saying, This is my body, &c. But, to gain credit to their doctrine, they ought to show from Scripture, that the power of working that miracle was promised by Christ to all his faithful servants in the ministry to the end of the world. But this they cannot do. Besides, that St. Paul did not possess any such power is evident from 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 of this chapter, where he calls the elements bread and wine after their consecration, as he had named them before.” — Macknight. This do in remembrance of me — In an humble, thankful, obedient remembrance of my dying love, of the extremity of my sufferings on your behalf, of the blessings I have thereby procured for you, and of the obligations to love and duty which I have by all this laid upon you.

11:23-34 The apostle describes the sacred ordinance, of which he had the knowledge by revelation from Christ. As to the visible signs, these are the bread and wine. What is eaten is called bread, though at the same time it is said to be the body of the Lord, plainly showing that the apostle did not mean that the bread was changed into flesh. St. Matthew tells us, our Lord bid them all drink of the cup, ch. Mt 26:27, as if he would, by this expression, provide against any believer being deprived of the cup. The things signified by these outward signs, are Christ's body and blood, his body broken, his blood shed, together with all the benefits which flow from his death and sacrifice. Our Saviour's actions were, taking the bread and cup, giving thanks, breaking the bread, and giving both the one and the other. The actions of the communicants were, to take the bread and eat, to take the cup and drink, and to do both in remembrance of Christ. But the outward acts are not the whole, or the principal part, of what is to be done at this holy ordinance. Those who partake of it, are to take him as their Lord and Life, yield themselves up to him, and live upon him. Here is an account of the ends of this ordinance. It is to be done in remembrance of Christ, to keep fresh in our minds his dying for us, as well as to remember Christ pleading for us, in virtue of his death, at God's right hand. It is not merely in remembrance of Christ, of what he has done and suffered; but to celebrate his grace in our redemption. We declare his death to be our life, the spring of all our comforts and hopes. And we glory in such a declaration; we show forth his death, and plead it as our accepted sacrifice and ransom. The Lord's supper is not an ordinance to be observed merely for a time, but to be continued. The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger of receiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping up the covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew and confirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt, and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. But fearful believers should not be discouraged from attending at this holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scripture to be written to deter serious Christians from their duty, though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord's table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord's table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God's worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.And when he had given thanks - See the note on Matthew 26:26. Matthew reads it, "and blessed it." The words used here are, however, substantially the same as there; and this fact shows that since this was communicated to Paul "directly" by the Saviour, and in a manner distinct from that by which Matthew learned the mode of the institution, the Saviour designed that the exact form of the words should be used in its observance, and should thus be constantly borne in mind by his people.

Take eat ... - See the note on Matthew 26:26.

24. brake—The breaking of the bread involves its distribution and reproves the Corinthian mode at the love-feast, of "every one taking before other his own supper."

my body … broken for you—"given" (Lu 22:19) for you (Greek, "in your behalf"), and "broken," so as to be distributed among you. The oldest manuscripts omit "broken," leaving it to be supplied from "brake." The two old versions, Memphitic and Thebaic, read from Luke, "given." The literal "body" could not have been meant; for Christ was still sensibly present among His disciples when He said, "This is My body." They could only have understood Him symbolically and analogically: As this bread is to your bodily health, so My body is to the spiritual health of the believing communicant. The words, "Take, eat," are not in the oldest manuscripts.

in remembrance of me—(See on [2290]1Co 11:25).

Ver. 24,25. These words we also met with, Luke 22:19,20, and in the other evangelists’ narration of the institution of the supper. See Poole on "Luke 22:19". See Poole on "Luke 22:20".

And when he had given thanks,.... So Luke 22:19, but Matthew 26:26 and Mark 14:22 say "he blessed"; not the bread, but his Father; for to bless and give thanks is one and the same thing with the Jews; so we often read of their blessing for the fruits of the earth, for wine and bread; concerning which they have these rules (r),

"he that blesseth for the wine, before food, frees the wine that is after food; he that blesseth for the dessert before food, frees the dessert after food; , "he that blesseth for the bread", frees the dessert, for the dessert does not free the bread;''

or excuse from a blessing for that again;

"if they sit at eating, everyone blesses for himself; if they lie (upon couches) , "one blesses for them all"; when wine is brought to them whilst they are eating, everyone blesses for himself: if after food, "one blesses for them all";''

our Lord conformed to these rules, he blessed and gave thanks for the bread separately, and he afterwards blessed, or gave thanks for the wine; and as he and his disciples lay at table, he blessed and gave thanks for them all; for this is not to be understood of any consecration of the bread by a certain form of words, changing its nature and property, and converting it into the body of Christ; but either of asking a blessing of his Father upon it, that whilst his disciples were caring of it, their faith might be led to him, the bread of life, and to his broken body, and spiritually feed and live on him, and receive spiritual nourishment from him; or else of giving thanks to his Father for what was signified by it, for the true bread he gave unto his people, meaning himself; and for that great love he showed in the gift and mission of him; and for the great work of redemption, and all the benefits of it he had sent him to procure, and which were just on finishing; and for all the might, strength, and assistance, he gave to him as man and Mediator, in completing the business of salvation for his people; which was the joy set before him, and which filled his heart with pleasure and thankfulness; both these senses may be joined together, and may direct us as to the matter of blessing and giving thanks at the supper; for no form of words is pointed out to us; what were the express words our Lord used we know not:

he brake it; as a symbol of his body being wounded, bruised, and broken, through buffetings, scourgings, platting of a crown of thorns, which was put upon his head, and piercing his hands and feet with nails, and his side with a spear; for which reason the right of breaking the bread in this ordinance ought literally and strictly to be observed: Christ himself took the bread and brake it, denoting his willingness to lay down his life, to suffer and die in the room of his people; and this action of breaking the bread was used in order to be distributed, and that everyone might partake, as all the Israelites did at the passover, and not as these Corinthians at their ante-suppers, when one was full and another hungry; but Christ broke the bread, that everyone might have a part, as every believer may and ought, who may eat of this bread, and drink of the wine, and feed by faith on Christ, and take every blessing procured by him to themselves:

and said, take, eat; that is, to his disciples, to whom he gave the bread, when he had took and given thanks and brake it, bidding them take it; receive it into their hands, as an emblem of their receiving him, and the blessings of his grace in a spiritual sense, by the hand of faith; and eat the bread put into their hands, as a symbol of their eating and living by faith on Christ as crucified, as having loved them, and given himself for them;

this is my body; in opposition to, and distinction from, , "the body of the passover", as the lamb was called (s); meaning not his mystical body the church, of which he is head, though this is one bread, and one body, 1 Corinthians 10:17 but his natural body, and that not properly, as if the bread was really changed into it; for the bread in the supper, after the blessing over it, and thanks given for it, retains its same nature, properties, form, and figure, only is set apart for the use of commemorating the broken body of Christ; and therefore this phrase is to be understood in a figurative sense, that it was a sign and seal of his body; it being broken into pieces represented his wounds, bruises, sufferings, and death; just in such sense as the rock is said to be Christ, in 1 Corinthians 10:4 not that that was really Christ, but was a type and sign of him: which is

broken for you; for though a bone of him was not broken, but inasmuch as his skin and flesh were torn and broken by blows with rods and fists, by whippings and scourgings, by thorns, nails, and spear; and body and soul were torn asunder, or divided from each other by death; and death in Scripture is expressed by "breaking"; see Jeremiah 19:11 his body might be truly said to be broken, and that for his people; not merely to confirm his doctrine, or set an example of patience, or only for their good; but in their room and stead, as their surety and substitute:

this do in remembrance of me; signifying that it was not a passover commemoration, or a remembrance of the Israelites going out of Egypt; which because done in the night, as that was, and following upon the passover, the judaizing Christians among the Corinthians took it to be in remembrance of that; having imbibed that notion which the Jews then had, and still retain, that their deliverance from Egypt will be remembered in the days of the Messiah (t);

"Nyrykzm, "they commemorate" the going out of Egypt in the nights; says R. Eleazer ben Azariah, lo, I am about seventy years of age, and I never was worthy to say, that the going out of Egypt was recited in nights, till Ben Zoma expounded what is said, Deuteronomy 16:3 "that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt; all the days of thy life; days of thy life", mean days; "all the days of thy life", nights; but the wise men say, "the days of thy life"; mean this world, and "all the days of thy life" include the days of the Messiah:''

now the apostle mentions these words of our Lord, to show that the design of the institution of this ordinance of the supper was not in commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews out of Egypt; but it was in remembrance of himself, of what he did and suffered on the behalf of his people: particularly the eating of the bread was intended to bring to remembrance how the body of Christ was wounded, bruised, and broken for them; how he bore their sins in his own body on the tree, and suffered, and made satisfaction for them; and which was spiritual food for their faith when they reflected on it, and could not fail of bringing to their remembrance the love of Christ in all, when this was the case.

(r) Misn. Beracot, c. 6. sect. 5, 6. (s) Misn. Pesachim, c. 10. sect. 3.((t) Misn. Beracot, c. 1. sect. 5.

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is {i} broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

(i) This word broken denotes to us the manner of Christ's death, for although his legs were not broken, as the thieves legs were, yet his body was very severely tormented, and torn, and bruised.

1 Corinthians 11:24. Τοῦτό μου ἐστὶ τὸ σῶμα] This is my body (the body of me). The emphasis lies not on the enclitic μου, but on τὸ σῶμα. See, further, on Matthew 26:26, and see Keim (in the Jahrb. für Deutsch. Theol. 1859, p. 73), as against Ströbel (in Rudelbach’s Zeitschr. 1854, pp. 598, 602 ff.), who would have τοῦτο not to refer to the broken bread at all, but to point forward to what is to be designated by the predicate. This τοῦτο can mean nothing else whatever but: this broken bread here, which again necessitates our taking ἐστί as the copula of the symbolic “being.”

Otherwise the identity of the subject and predicate here expressed would be, alike for the speaker and the hearers, an impossible conception; the body of the Lord was still alive, and His death, which answered to the breaking of the bread, was yet in the future. When we come, therefore, to define ἐστί more precisely in connection with that first celebration of the Supper, it is to be taken as “being” in the sense of proleptic symbolism; and thereby the very possibility of the Lutheran synecdoche (upon which even Mehring falls back, in the Luther. Zeitschrift, 1867, p. 82) is done away.

τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν] κλώμενον is spurious. We must supply simply ὄν: which is for your behoof, namely, by its being broken (slain[1856]). Christ’s body was not, indeed, literally broken (John 19:33), but in His violent death our Lord sees that accomplished in His body which He had just done with the bread. This is the point of what He beholds in the broken bread looked upon by Him with such direct creative vividness of regard; but in truth the simple τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν is more in keeping with the deep emotion of the moment than any attempt to expound in a more detailed way the symbolism which both presents and interprets itself in the breaking of bread; and Matthew and Mark have not even this “for you.”

τοῦτο ποιεῖτε] to wit, what I now do; not merely the breaking of the bread joined with a thanksgiving prayer, but also—as the action itself became the silent commentary on this τοῦτο—the distribution and eating of the bread; comp 1 Corinthians 11:26.

ΕἸς Τ. ἘΜ. ἈΝΆΜΝ.] in remembrance of me, presupposes His absence in body for the future; see on Luke 22:19. We may add that these words also do not occur in Matthew and Mark, whose simple τοῦτό ἐστι τ. σῶμά μου carries with it a presumption of its being the original, unexpanded by any later explanation or reflection. Generally speaking, a like preference must be accorded to the narratives of the Supper by Matthew and Mark (and between those two, again, to that of Mark) over those of Paul and Luke.

[1856] This more precise explanation of the absolute τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμ., sc. ὄν, is to be drawn from the preceding ἔκλασε; and hence the addition of κλώμενον is very correct in point of interpretation. But the word was not spoken by Jesus, only the thought was expressed in the action of breaking the bread. This silent language of lively depicting suits well with the deep emotion of the moment; and there is no ground either for regarding the reading which admits κλώμενον as probable on internal evidence (Kahnis, Dogmat. I. p. 616), or for characterizing that which rejects it as “vaga et frigida” (Reiche, Comm. crit.); nor will it do to explain the omission of the word by John 19:36 f. (Hofmann). As to Hofmann’s making κλώμ. refer only to the violent bending and wrenching, as the term is used of men under torture (see Wetstein) and by physicians, the very fact that the bread was broken should have sufficed of itself to forbid the idea.

24. and when he had given thanks] St Mark has ‘blessed,’ St Matthew, according to some copies, ‘blessed,’ to others, ‘gave thanks.’ St Luke agrees with St Paul. From the Greek word used here this sacrament derives its name of Eucharist, or thanksgiving.

and said] Inasmuch as the words of institution have been the occasion of one of the longest and bitterest controversies that have ever divided the Church of Christ, it is well to inquire very closely what He said. And first, there are varieties in the reading here, occasioned by the practice, so common among the early transcribers of the N. T., of endeavouring to assimilate the various historical passages to one another. Thus the majority of MSS. omit ‘Take, eat,’ here, and it is probably introduced from St Matthew 26:26. Then some MSS. omit the word broken, but the majority of MSS. retain it, and its omission renders the sentence rather harsh. Thus, then, the words of institution, as recorded by St Paul, are as follows: ‘This is My body, which is [being broken] for you; this do in remembrance of Me, i.e. to serve as a memorial of Me, or to preserve My memory. Let us next take St Luke’s account of it, derived either from St Paul or from the same source as his. ‘This is My body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.’ St Matthew and St Mark simply give the words, ‘Take, eat: this is My body.’

in remembrance of me] The word here translated remembrance signifies (1) the act of recollection, and (2) that which enables us to recollect, reminds us of a thing. In the Septuagint it is used in the heading of the 38th and 70th Psalms as a translation of ‘to bring to remembrance.’ In Numbers 10:10 the Septuagint uses it (3) to translate a Hebrew word signifying memorial, i.e. some visible and tangible object which exists in order to bring to mind a past event. Cf. Hebrews 10:3.

1 Corinthians 11:24. Ἔκλασε, broke) The very mention of the breaking, involves the distribution, and refutes the Corinthian mode of making it every man his own, 1 Corinthians 11:21.—τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν κλώμενον, which is broken for you) In the gospel by Luke the words are, which is given for you. In the Lord’s Supper, with the bread broken, the body of Christ, which was given unto death for us, is taken and eaten, as real food; although no one would be likely to affirm, that the Lord would have used the breaking of bread, if it had not been the common practice at that period. The passion of Christ is [should be] naturally before the eucharist;[99] hence the institution of the Supper took place immediately before the death of Christ. Therefore the body of Christ is said to be given in respect of the passion considered in itself; to be broken, in respect of the passion fitting the Lord’s body for being eaten: and the expression for you shows that the word given is at the same time indicated, so that it is an abbreviated phrase, with this meaning; which is given for you and broken to you. These remarks indeed refer to the common reading κλώμενον, from the verb ἔκλασε immediately preceding; but the Alexandrian reading had not the participle, as is evident from the fourth book of Cyril against Nestorius;[100] whence others have supplied ΔΙΔΌΜΕΝΟΝ from Luke. My body, which for you, is a nervous sentence, as John 6:51, in the old copies, my flesh for the life of the world.[101]

[99] Or rather, translate “Passio naturâ prior est quam eucharistia.” The suffering is naturally prior to the thanksgiving.—ED.

[100] Hence also the participle κλώμενον, and the preceding imperatives λάβετε, φάγετε, are reckoned on the margin of Ed. 2, by a change of opinion, as weaker readings, and they are put doubtfully in the Germ. Ver.—E. B.

[101] BCDL Vulg., Theb., Orig., and Cypr. omit the ἢν ἐγὼ δώσω of the Rec. Text.—ED.

Τὸ ὑπʼ ὑμῶν- is the reading of ABC corrected later. G supports the κλώμενον added in Rec. Text. D corr. later fg add θρυπτόμενον. Memph. and Theb. favour διδόμενον. Vulg. Cypr. 107 have “Quod pro vobis tradetur.”—ED.

Verse 24. - When he had given thanks. The same word is used in St. Luke εὐχαριστήσας), and is the origin of the name Eucharist. St. Mark and perhaps St. Matthew have "having blessed it" (eulogesas). Hence the Eucharist is "this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving." Take, eat. These words are omitted by all the best uncials, Which is broken for you. The word "broken" is of doubtful authenticity. Some manuscripts have "given," and one (D) a milder word for "broken," as though to avoid any contradiction of John 19:36, where, however, the word is "shall not be crushed." Since the participle is omitted altogether by א, A, B, C, there can be no doubt that it is a gloss, and accordingly the Revised Version reads, "which is for you." The "broken" is nevertheless involved in the "he brake it," which was a part of the ceremony as originally illustrated. The breaking of the bread ought not, therefore, to be abandoned, as in the case when "wafers" are used. This do. St. Luke also has this clause, which is not found in St. Matthew or St. Mark. The variations show that it was the main fact which was essential, not the exact words spoken. In remembrance of me. The words may also be rendered, for a memorial of me, or to bring me to your remembrance. 1 Corinthians 11:24Had given thanks (εὐχαριστής)

Eucharistesas. Hence in post-apostolic and patristic writers, Eucharist was the technical term for the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice of thanksgiving for all the gifts of God, especially for the "unspeakable gift," Jesus Christ. By some of the fathers of the second century the term was sometimes applied to the consecrated elements. The formula of thanksgiving cited in "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" is, for the cup first, 'We give thanks to Thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus, Thy servant: to Thee be the glory forever." And for the bread: "We give thanks to Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus Thy servant: to Thee be the glory forever. As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and, gathered together, 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 forever."


Bengel says: "The very mention of the breaking involves distribution and refutes the Corinthian plan - every man his own" (1 Corinthians 11:21).

Do (ποιεῖε)

Be doing or continue doing.

In remembrance (εἰς)

Strictly, for or with a view to, denoting purpose. These words do not occur in Matthew and Mark. Paul's account agrees with Luke's. Remembrance implies Christ's bodily absence in the future.

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