J. E. Hill, edited by John Stone
In that collective wealth of contradictory writing known as the Christian Bible, the New Testament synoptic contains more disagreements to dates, events, places, and people, page for page, than one could possibly imagine. While the argument from silence could be argued here for many of the instances, as too the premise of gospel layering, this only goes so far and certainly does not explicate several notable cases that stand out more than others. Such is the case with the so-called Lords supper or the last supper of Jesus.
This is an event of epic proportions; a part of the passion of Jesus in which there is no comparison and perhaps unique only to the Christian Bible in the form presented. We have details of the last supper told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Curiously, John supplants this emotional repast with the episode of the emotional washing of the disciples feet (John 13:1-12) at a supper, but omits the scene with the bread and wine. The only food at John's last supper is the morsel (v 26) offered to only Judas. One question that arises here is how could or why would John omit the details of the last supper and Matthew, Mark, and Luke omit the foot washing scene? Especially curious is why John did not write about the eating of the bread and drinking of the wine at the supper. These are heavy theological underpinnings to the other evangelists, yet not a shred of this supper event is to be found in the Johnnaine opus. This is an extraordinary contradictory situation. Did the foot washing really occur? Was the last supper just an informal sit down, not worthy of John's praise?
Perhaps the later authorship of John is one explanation and perhaps
the symbolical idea of eating Jesus' body and drinking his blood was repulsive
to the more refined theology of John. Yet John does have Jesus' cannibalistic
vampire ritual, in his own words, (John )
declared emphatically that one needs to eat his body and drink his blood to be
saved. John declares that Jesus proclaimed this while teaching in the synagogue
Lawrence O. Richards of the 1991 edition of the Victor Bible Background Commentary, NT says of the foot washing episode that, "[w]e can imagine no more powerful way that Jesus could have left his disciples an example of the attitude they must develop to effectively lead the people of God." It is clear that the other disciples thought differently. Richards (and other commentaries such as the Oxford Bible Companion) completely gloss over the contradictions and silence of the other evangelists. How convenient, just like your ministers/clergy.
The book of Acts describes believers meeting to break bread (2:42, 46 and 20:7) with no reference to a cup, a Lords Supper or the symbolic nature of the eating the body or drinking of the blood of a sJesus to receive the heavenly blessing. Nor is there anywhere in the Acts of the Apostles a single reference to a foot washing rite.
What about Paul? What does he have to say about the last supper or the
foot washing episode? Surely Paul would use these events to reinforce his
ministry. Remember, since Paul never met Jesus, he said he communicated
with him--visions etc. Surely Jesus would have informed his faithful servant
Paul, what went on and what was important to record and remember for all time
and eternity. Yet the words in 1 Cor -29 seem to have no connection
to the events described by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Indeed, the Interpreters
One Volume Commentary (p 667) says that Paul's account, "...seems
to reflect a memorial service..." or a communal feast or
celebration of fellowship with a spiritually risen Jesus within newly formed
churches. Likewise, the Hellenic Paul was certainly familiar with
Grecian idea of "dining with the gods.". Nowhere does Paul
mention the foot washing. How could Paul meet with Peter and James in
This make no sense at all. And, the argument from silence only can be
defended to a certain point. When, as the above points out, the characters had
opportunity in the form of time and place and motivation to assert the
authority of these teachings demanded by Jesus to be carried on (with the great
commission) the argument from silence fails and there simply has to be a another
explanation of the vast differences. But that's not all. The dessert to this
Last Supper is yet to come: The three evangelists' who do include the last
supper cannot agree on which happened first: The drinking from the cup or the
eating of the bread. Matthew, in 26:26 says, "Now as their eating, Jesus took bread, and
blessed and broke it...." Then in v. 27: "and
he took a cup...." Mark, in has Jesus breaking the bread and raising the cup.
But, Luke disagrees. Luke 22:17: "...and he took a cup and when he had given
thanks he said, take this and divide it among yourselves."
Luke continues in verse 19, "...and he took the bread...and broke
it." Luke does give an instruction to "...do
this in remembrance of
"I've always felt sorry for Jesus 'cause you know no matter what he ever did, he could never live up to his father." -Gilbert Gottfried (1955-)
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