On the night of his betrayal, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. Jesus gave the bread and cup to his disciples so that they could remember Jesus because he was about to leave the world. Jesus explains, “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). So during the Last Supper, the Lord’s Supper became one of two institutions that Christ left the church. Given the importance of this meal, we need to turn to the Bible to learn what it says about the Lord’s Supper. Here’s an attempt to do just that by starting with the Gospels. [Read more…] about What Do The Gospels Teach about the Lord’s Supper?
The three synoptic Gospels record Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:22–25; Luke 22:14–23; Matthew 26:26–30). They underscore the obvious import of the institution. Yet curiously John’s Gospel does not. Why is this?
The answer is that John’s Gospel shows how Christ can both be absent from the disciples and abide among them. Put simply, John answers the question, “How can Christ be among us after he ascends to heaven?” [Read more…] about Why John’s Gospel Doesn’t Record Jesus’ Institution of the Lord’s Supper
Most of us understand 2 Corinthians 8–9 to be a passage on giving. And it certainly speaks to the need to give. Yet Paul asks the Corinthians to give because they share in the grace of koinonia with the church of Jerusalem through the Gospel. Put into contemporary terms, local churches must cooperate with other local churches because they share in the grace of fellowship. This is Paul’s argument. [Read more…] about The Most Underused Passage on Church Unity in the Bible
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he said, “This [bread] is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) and, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (22:20). And so the bread and cup (or wine) represent his body and blood, which he gives as a sacrifice to inaugurate “the new covenant.”
In John 6, Jesus feeds five-thousand. Later in that chapter, he underscores the reality that the sign of the feeding points towards. He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:53–54).
Do Jesus’ words here refer to the Lord’s Supper? After all, he offers his body and blood for eternal life here much like he does in Luke 22. Not quite. The difference is that Jesus offers the communication of his flesh in John 6 while he institutes the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22. [Read more…] about Does John 6 Speak about the Lord’s Supper?
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)
In Titus 3 Paul says that God “saved us . . . by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” The word “washing” (loutron) means washing with water, a bath, or the water of baptism (BDAG, 603). Certainly, Paul can use the word “washing” metaphorically. In fact, he does in Ephesians 5:26, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” The washing here is the washing with the word. It’s a metaphor for purifying someone with the word of God.
And yet there is a close connection between baptism and forgiveness in Scripture. Peter says, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
So what is going on here? What does Paul mean by “the washing of regeneration,” and what does Peter mean when he says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins”? Put simply, how do baptism and regeneration relate to one another? [Read more…] about Does Baptism Regenerate?
English translations render Isaiah 53:3 as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (ESV) or the like (NIV, NKJV, KJV). But the word “grief” here perhaps should be translated as “sickness” (וִיד֣וּעַ חֹ֑לִי). [Read more…] about A Man of Sorrows And a Man of Sickness?