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The Institution of the Sacrament

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 23:
“Not as I Will, but as Thou Wilt”

 

 

Transcript

In Mark 14, Matthew 26, Luke 22 and 3 Nephi 18, we have accounts of Jesus instituting the sacrament among his apostles (in the first three) and the Nephites (in the final example). He lays out what they are to remember when they partake of these things. It is important to realize that these food items are not uncommon or exotic, but instead Jesus is taking something that is ordinary in a sense and making it sacred by what the apostles are to be reminded of through it. Most of what I read will be the standard edition of the scriptures, but I will include some clarifying readings from the Wayment edition of the New Testament in brackets.

I’ll start with Mark 14, verse 22:

22 ¶ And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Mark’s account lays out the essential symbolism that the bread is to represent his body and the cup of wine, his blood which he will shed for many.

We next look at Matthew 26:

26 ¶ And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it [Wayment: “Drink from it, all of you,” which clarifies that all here refers to all the apostles and not the contents of the cup];
28 For this is my blood of the new testament [Wayment: “covenant”], which is shed [Wayment: “which I have poured out,” which I think captures the sacrificial aspect of what Christ will do] for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Finally among the gospels, we look at Luke 22:

15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof [Wayment: “I tell you that I will not eat it again,” with “it” likely referring to the Passover], until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves [Wayment: “Take this and distribute it to each other”]:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 ¶ 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.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Finally, I will read in 3 Nephi 18, the institution of the sacrament among the Nephites:

1 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him.
2 And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth.
3 And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat.
4 And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.

I note here that Jesus is at this point resurrected, so it seems to me that his atoning sacrifice is a key part of what we are to remember here. The disciples in the Old World were to remember his body “which is given for you” a clear reference to his sacrifice, while the Nephites were told to remember “my body, which I have shown unto you.” In 3 Nephi 11:14-15 he specifically invited them to come and see the wounds in his body—his side and his hands and feet—which testified of his sacrifice in their behalf. But while his directions to the New Testament apostles were given while he was yet mortal, his instructions to the Nephites were as a resurrected immortal God. So taken together what we can say about their collective witness is that they were to remember that just as bread is tangible, visible, real, even so Christ ministered to them and they touched him, saw him and was as real as the bread they partook of. And I would suggest that even as we take the bread upon our lips, so should we take the testimony of Christ upon our lips, that he lived, was born of Mary, walked on the earth, taught in great power and authority, sacrificed his body for our resurrection to bring us back into God’s presence, and in his resurrected state is tangible, real and infinitely able to nourish his people unto everlasting life. Continuing at verse 8:

8 And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it.
9 And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled.
10 And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.
11 And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness 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.
12 And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.
13 But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them.
14 Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall keep my commandments, which the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you.

Jesus here directs his apostles to regularly partake of the sacrament and to share it with others who have begun the process of following Christ. If we regularly partake of the sacrament in the way Jesus has commanded us to, in obedience to his commandment remembering him, we are building our lives upon his rock, and we prepare ourselves to profit from the guidance of the Spirit.

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