Tag Archives: Jesus

Indeed, He is Risen

For God So Loved the World

John 3:16-17 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

The Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-10 ESV

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”


Institution of the Lord’s Supper and the Upper Room Discourse


Cultural and Grammatical-Literary Background:

The historical narrative of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29) should be carefully assessed from Jewish cultural perspective. Everything Jesus used and shared with his disciples in the upper room has significant meaning and implication. Sometimes, the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper is considered on a par with the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the Passover Feast. The Synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke indicate that Jesus ate the Passover Meal with his disciples on the day of the Passover Feast (see Matthew. 27:17; Mark. 14:12; and Luke. 22:7-14).

On the other hand, John plainly disagrees with the Synoptic Gospels on account of the Last Supper. He writes that the Last Supper took place before the Passover Feast (see John 13:1-4, 21-30). Some scholars argue that the Last Supper was an ordinary meal or some sort of special meal. But the Gospel writers mistakenly coupled this supper with the Paschal because of its nature.[1]  The Synoptic Gospels do not make any reference to the bitter herb, dipping bowl, roasted lamb, and the cup of Elijah. The Synoptic writers record Jesus and the disciples drinking from a common cup when they should supposedly be drinking from an individual cup in the Paschal meal. Thus, the scholarly debate is still ongoing in the issue if the Last Supper was a Passover Meal.

Likewise, some scholars argue that John was more concerned about the theology rather than recording historical events accurately. According to John, the Passover feast was yet to be celebrated when Jesus was brought before Pilate for the trial. Apparently, the Jews stayed outside of the pretorium, so that they would not defile themselves but could eat Passover the same night (see John 18:28; cf. 19:14).

Because of the nature and sensitivity of the Last Supper, scholars from both partisan have made serious attempts to resolve the Synoptic accounts with John’s account without losing the one’s theological significance and historical accuracy at the same time. The grammatical-literary discrepancies of these two accounts are resolved without invalidating one or the other by applying two possible dates for celebrating the Passover meal in Jesus’ days. Therefore, Jesus and his disciples could have eaten the Last Supper on Thursday night following the unofficial calendar while the High Priest and other Pharisees followed the official calendar and ate the Passover on Friday evening, the day Jesus died.[2]

This supper was an atypical meal because Jesus himself instituted the Lord’s Supper. In that day when Jesus was having the Last Supper with the disciples in the upper room, “Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body (Matthew 26:26; cf. Mark 14:22; Luke 22: 15-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25). As Jesus was a leader and was hosting the feast, the responsibilities of a father in the feast would have fallen upon him. So, he would lead the disciples through different stages of rituals, singing hymns, reading the scripture, raising the cups and songs. [3]

Jesus takes the bread and blesses it and breaks it. He gave thanks and “by that thanksgiving made the Holy Communion to be a Eucharist – a service of thanksgiving.”[4] We give thanks to God for Jesus’ work on the cross. When the “breaking bread” passage occurs in the Bible, each “breaking bread” passage is followed by miracles whether it was of feeding several thousand people or in the house of Cleopas on the way to Emmaus. After breaking bread, Luke writes, their eyes were opened and they recognized him (Luke 24:30-31). “The breaking of bread constantly has its saving effects, both spiritual and temporal.”[5] Bread stands as the main source of life. Jesus claims, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48). He is not simply feeding people bread to keep them alive temporally. He is so definitely stressing that he is the source of that bread which gives life. “He spoke himself as the Food for his people.”[6] Jesus is channeling people to leap into life of abundance.

Here, Jesus demands his disciples to eat the body. The Greek word used for eating here is φάγω (phago) which means “to eat” in some certain alternative tenses. However, the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries suggest that it also literally and figuratively means “eat, meat.”[7] In this case, the word φάγω is indicating to eating Jesus’ meat. This imperative command to the disciples is consistent to his prior teaching that a man must eat the flesh of the Son of Man in order to inherit eternal life (see John 6:53-56).

Verse 27-29: “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying “Drink of it, all of you, for this my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” When Jesus said the “blood of the covenant,” he is referring to the covenant relationship of the Father and the Israelites in the Exodus 24:8. Moses takes the blood and sprinkles upon the Israelites to remind them of the covenant that cannot be restored unless blood is shed. “There the sacrificial blood was dashed on the altar, the book of the covenant, and the people, to confirm the solemn agreement which the people had made to observe God’s law.”[8] That blood of Jesus is shed on the cross to redeem us.

Most Bible scholars believe that Jesus took the third cup out of four. In the Passover feast, Jews put four main cups on the table besides other cups for individuals. Each one holds profound meaning and every Jew is aware of the significance of the cups. They stand for four promises that God made to his people in Exodus 6:6-7. “They became known as The Cup of Sanctification, The Cup of Deliverance, The Cup of Redemption (Blessing), and The Cup of Acceptance (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16).”[9] Furthermore, Blomberg writes that “Jesus may not have drunk the fourth cup of wine; at any rate he knows he will not be celebrating this festival again until his second coming.”[10] It reminds us of his promise that he will not drink until that day we drink together with him in the kingdom of the Father.

Jesus established the new covenant in his flesh and blood. Some translations have “new covenant” and some do not. The old promise the Lord had made with his people was ratified through the administration of Moses by sacrificial blood (Exodus 24:8). Now, he is making the new covenant through the administration of his own blood which is the inauguration of the covenant of grace.[11] He made the new covenant with his prophet Jeremiah (see 31:31-34). The same covenant Jesus made not by giving any writing law but craving his divine laws into our heart and mind by the power of the Holy Spirit.


He surely dispensed his abundant grace to us and enabled us to receive his grace by the work of the Holy Spirit. The bread is broken and the blood is poured out for those who are called by their names.


Thus, we must always remember that Jesus Christ himself instituted this essential ordinance or communion. In Luke’s gospel, he stresses in the continuation of the communion “Do this in remembrance of me” until he returns to the world with his full glory and power (Luke 22:19). Bread and blood are figurative elements of Jesus Christ. “This held that the elements of bread and wine remained exactly what they had been but that, in the sacramental context, they were signs or reminders of the heavenly Lord with whom the believers communicated spiritually.”[12]

Christ became food for our soul and body. The bread and wine elements should not be blended with the soul of Jesus. It is not like he gave us his soul. He surely dispensed his abundant grace to us and enabled us to receive his grace by the work of the Holy Spirit. The bread is broken and the blood is poured out for those who are called by their names. In fact, there is a debate whether breaking the bread means literally breaking the body of Jesus. Some argue that breaking of bread cannot be applied literally to Jesus, because his single bone was not broken while he was on the Cross (John 19:36). But to me, his body was literally broken apart from bones. His shoulders were dislocated after hanging on the Cross. His face was beyond recognition (see Psalm 22:14; Isaiah 52:14).

Jesus seals the new covenant with his own blood. This is the covenant for the remission of our sins. He is the great sacrifice for our sins. He has given himself to us:

He could not be our Life if he had not given up his own life. It is not the body of Christ in his earthly ministry, it is the body on the cross, that feeds us. It is not the blood in the veins, it is the blood shed, that saves us. The Lord’s Supper was instituted on the night before Jesus was betrayed. It pointed on to the cross. It is now the great memorial of Christ in his sacrifice for us.[13]

The upper room discourse is leading the story toward the cross. He is administering his disciples as a servant but at the same time, he is fulfilling the role of priesthood. He himself is the lamb for the remission of sins of mankind.

Work Cited

Horvath, Tibor. “Who presided at the eucharist: a comment on BEM.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies. 22.3 (Sum 1985): 604-607.

[1] Glo: Experience the Bible Like Never Before. Vers. Orlando, FL: Immersion Digital, 2009. Computer software.

[2] New International Version Study Bible. For Galileans, a new day beings from 6 am to 6 am next day, while Judeans start their new day from 6 pm to 6 pm next day.

[3] Glo: Experience the Bible Like Never Before. Vers. Orlando, FL: Immersion Digital, 2009. Computer software.

[4] H.D.M. Spence-Jones, and Joesph S. Exell, eds. The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew. 1st ed., Vol. 2. (Chicago: Wilcox & Follett Co., 1950) 541. Print.

[5] Tibor Horvath, “Who presided at the Eucharist: a comment on BEM.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies. 22.3 (Sum 1985): 604-607.

[6] H.D.M. Spence-Jones, and Joesph S. Exell, eds. The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew. 1st ed., Vol. 1. (Chicago: Wilcox & Follett Co., 1950) 522. Print.

[7] Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, G5315. E-Sword Computer Software. There is another Greek word ἐσθίω could have been used, but the Matthew chose to use the prior one to this. It also means “eat, devour, live” but it does not have connotation of eating ‘meat’. Strong’s Number G2068.

[8] George Arthur Buttrick, ed. The Interpreter’s Bible: the Holy Scriptures in the King James and Revised Standard Versions with General Articles and Introduction, Exegesis, Exposition for Each Book of the Bible: Matthew. Vol. 7 (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1951), 575. Print.

[9] H.D.M. Spence-Jones, and Joesph S. Exell, eds. The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew. 1st ed., Vol. 2. (Chicago: Wilcox & Follett Co., 1950) 540. Print.

Glo: Experience the Bible Like Never Before. Vers. Orlando, FL: Immersion Digital, 2009. Computer software.

[10] Craig Blomberg, “Jesus’ Judean Ministry.” Jesus and the Gospels: an Introduction and Survey. 2nd ed. (Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Academic, 2009), 387. Print.

[11] H.D.M. Spence-Jones, and Joesph S. Exell, eds. The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew. 1st ed., Vol. 2. (Chicago: Wilcox & Follett Co., 1950) 540. Print.

[12] James T. O’Connor,  “”This Is a Hard Teaching. Who Can Accept It?”” The Hidden Manna: a Theology of the Eucharist. 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005), 119. Print.

[13] H.D.M. Spence-Jones, and Joesph S. Exell, eds. The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew. 1st ed., Vol. 2. (Chicago: Wilcox & Follett Co., 1950) 551. Print.

Sabbatum Excerpt: John Stott on the Call to Follow Christ

“At its simplest Christ’s call was “Follow me.” He asked men and women for their personal allegiance. He invited them to learn from him, to obey his words and to identify themselves with his cause.

Now there can be no following without a previous forsaking. To follow Christ is to give up all lesser loyalties. In the days of his ministry on earth, this often meant a literal abandonment of home and work. Simon and Andrew “left their nets and followed him.” James and John “left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” Matthew, who heard Christ’s call while he was “sitting at his tax booth… got up, left everything and followed him.”

In principle, the call of the Lord Jesus is unchanged today. He still says, “Follow me,” and adds, “those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciple.” In practice, however, this does not mean for most Christians that they will need to move out of their home and leave their job. What it does imply though is the need for an inner surrender of these things, and a refusal to allow either family or ambition to occupy the first place in our lives.”

John R. W. Stott, “Counting the Cost.” Basic Christianity. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008. 133-34. Print.


Sabbatical Excerpt: Nabeel Qureshi on The Trinity

Seeking Allah Finding Jesus Banner

… The professor was teaching rarefied science, describing the subatomic world. At that level, things happen that make no sense to those of us who conceptualize the world at only a human level. Even the apparently simple idea of atoms is baffling when we think about it. It means that the chair I am sitting on is not actually a solid object, innocently supporting my weight. It is almost entirely empty space, occupied only in small part by particles moving at incomprehensible speeds. When we think about it, it seems wrong, but it’s just the way things are in our universe. There’s no use arguing about it.

I turned my glance away from the other students, concluding they had not blindly accepted a nonsensical concept. They had just realized before I did that there were truths about our universe that do not fit easily into our minds.

My eyes rested on the three separate structures of nitrate on the wall, my mind assembling the pieces. One molecule of nitrate is all three resonance structures all the time and never just one of them. The three are separate but all the same, and they are one. They are three in one.

That’s when it clicked: if there are things in this world that can be three in one, 3even incomprehensibly, so then why cannot God?”

Excerpt taken from, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. (Page 195-96).

Nabeel is a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Recently, his book was published by Zondervan and now is in the market.

Biblical Nuggets: Mars’ Hill in Athens

Mars' Hill in AthensAt Mars’ Hill, also known as the Areopagus, Paul used an inscription to an “unknown god” as a starting point for proclaiming the good news of Christ to the Greek. He confronted widespread idol worship by declaring the true identity of the Creator. Using Greek worship and poetry, Paul articulated God’s demand for repentance and His provision of salvation through Jesus: “Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said… ‘What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you'” (Acts 17:22, 23).[1]


[1] Hubbard, Shiloh, Elliot Ritzema, Corbin Watkins, and Lazarus Wentz with Logos Bible Software and KarBel Media. Faithlife Study Bible Infographics. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012.