- Jun 2023
Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his beloved twelve apostles at the end of his three-year ministry. At this Last Supper, he initiated the ordinance of the sacrament. All three of the synoptic Gospels bear record of this event, which occurred on the evening of the first day of unleavened bread.
1) is this the first instance in history when Jesus administered the sacrament to the Twelve?
2) if so, why did He choose to do so only towards the end of his earthly life?
3) it's fascinating to ruminate how the passover and the sacrament coincided on this particular occasion. typically, we do not associate the sacrament with meals (of course this is not to reduce the whole event of passover to simply gathering and eating)
Just as proper baptism was the beginning of the building upon the rock, so was the covenant of the sacrament. While the ordinance of baptism was a one-time, long-term commitment, the sacrament serves as a weekly opportunity to keep a proper foundation, the rock of Christ, under our quest for eternal life and to build upon it. For those who fail to observe their sacrament covenants, their foundation becomes one of sand and leads to an entrance into the gates of hell (18:13).
But what are we to remember? We are to remember that through his Resurrection, we too may be resurrected. We should acknowledge his Resurrection and give thanks to our Father in Heaven for this blessing of his son. Furthermore, we might remember that the Lord has given us certain commandments to make our bodies fit tabernacles for the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16–17; 6:13–20; D&C 89). As we live in this mortal state of probation, we are preparing ourselves for our endless resurrected state (Alma 12:24). The type of resurrection we receive is commensurate with the degree of glory that we have prepared ourselves to receive (D&C 88:14–24). A reflection of our past week’s activities in relation to the commandments given to keep our bodies as fit temples of God and to be worthy of his Spirit would be most appropriate as we partake of the bread. We should also make personal commitments to do better in our areas of weakness and thank our Father for the blessings of the past week. Through partaking of the bread, we have an opportunity to periodically evaluate our progress toward immortality.
i love the emphasis on our corporeal temples in this context. each week that we get to partake of the symbolic representation of christ's blood and body, we are granted a recurring reminder that we are spiritual beings destined for eternity. this serves as a poignant testament that mortality is but a fleeting fragment of our existence.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
it's interesting that the accounts of matthew and mark do not include the specific mention of the remembrance aspect in relation to the ordinance they describe. luke and mark are both not part of the original 12 apostles, but the remembrance part of this ordinance is such a crucial detail.
The Book of Mormon clarifies the real purpose and significance of partaking of the bread and wine. Although among the Nephites Jesus first gave the sacrament to the Twelve and then to the multitude, the only instructions he gave concerning the ordinance were regarding the multitude: “And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you. And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you” (3 Ne. 18:5–7).
i feel that the essence of the sacrament ordinance lies in its profound reminder to center our attention on jesus christ and his atonement, along with the multitude of good things associated with it.
considering that only luke included the explicit mention of the remembrance aspect during the last supper, i wonder if our understanding of this element derives solely from that fragmentary piece of information absent in other accounts. does this imply that the apostles failed to grasp the significance of what they had just done which would actually evolve into an ordained ritual?
My emphasis will be on the Book of Mormon, because the Savior taught the sacrament ordinances to the Nephites almost immediately after he came to them, not long after he had instituted the ordinances among his Jerusalem disciples. Therefore, we have a close parallel between the two experiences.
i wonder if the sacrament ordinance is exclusively tied to the sabbath day. historically, the sabbath day has not always fallen on the first day of the week (and in certain denominations of christianity, it continues to differ from the first day of the week). so it is plausible that the frequency of administering the sacrament is not rigidly fixed as well, and it remains open to the possibility that the day of sabbath itself influences the observance of this sacred ordinance
- the last supper
- sabbath day
- gospel of luke
- spiritual foundation
- eternal life
- the atonement of jesus christ
- jesus's earthly ministry
- jesus's mortal life
- synoptic gospels