Three Accounts of the Lord’s Supper
Mathew, Mark, and Luke, all give an account of the evening when Jesus gave His instructions about the Lord’s supper. But they don’t all give exactly the same account. And that’s where the problem begins. People then claim that the bible contradicts itself, and therefore cannot be trusted. How can the bible be the word of God, if it can’t even keep it’s story straight?
So I want to talk about that a bit here today. Let’s begin with reading each one of those three accounts of what Jesus said on that Passover evening. First, let’s look at what Mathew wrote. It’s recorded in Mathew 26, verses 26 thru 29;
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and He gave to the disciples and said; Take, eat, this is My body. And He took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them saying; Drink ye all, from it. For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many, unto the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth, of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you, in My Father’s kingdom.”
Now let’s listen to what Mark records, in Mark 14, verses 22 thru 25;
“And as they were eating, He took bread, and when He had blessed it, He broke it, and gave it to them and said; Take ye, this is My body. And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave to them, and they all drank of it. And He said unto them; This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Verily, I say unto you, I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine, until the day when I drink it new, in the kingdom of God.”
Mark recorded almost exactly the same words that Mathew did, with only the slightest variance. But all the words mean exactly the same thing. But now, let’s listen to what Luke wrote, in Luke 22, verses 15 thru 22;
“And he said unto them; With desire, I have desired to eat this Passover with you, before I suffer. For I say unto you, I shall not eat it, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He received a cup, and when He had given thanks, He said; Take this, and divide it up among yourselves; For I say unto you, I shall not drink from henceforth, of this fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and gave to them saying: This is My body, which is given for you; This do in remembrance of Me. And the cup, in like manner, after supper saying; This cup is the new covenant in My blood, even that which is poured out for you. But behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me, is with Me on the table. For the Son of Man goeth, as it hath been determined; But woe unto that man, through whom He is betrayed.”
Now that differs quite a lot, from what both Mathew OR Mark wrote! Why is that? Why are the words of Luke, so much different than the words of either Mathew or Mark? According to the bible, the same Spirit of God, inspired all three writers, but yet the words are different. Bible contradictions, people say; That’s proof that you can’t trust the bible!
Well, I wouldn’t say that it’s proof that you can’t trust the bible; What I would say, that it’s proof that you’ve got to use a little common sense, and even a little rational thinking, to understand why those accounts vary. And I believe that just about all bible study is like that. It just takes a little common sense, and a little rational thinking, and then, any doubt kind of disappears. The bible does tell us, in Isaiah 1, verse 18; “Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord.”
Mathew said that Jesus “took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them saying; Drink ye all, from it.”
Mark said that “He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave to them, and they all drank of it.”
Luke said, “And He received a cup, and when He had given thanks, He said; Take this, and divide it up among yourselves”
Now, when I read these verses, as someone who has faith that they are all true, I don’t see any contradiction. All I see is a variance of how the Spirit of God inspired these writers to record what happened. The Spirit told Mathew to record that Jesus said; “Drink ye all, or it.” The Spirit told Mark to record, that “they all drank from it.” And the Spirit told Luke to record, that Jesus said; “Take this, and divide it up among yourselves”
So, did Jesus say; “Take this, and divide it up among yourselves”, or did He say; “Drink ye all, from it.” They both mean the same thing, don’t they? But which one did Jesus actually say? Does it have to be one or the other? Could Jesus have actually said both things? I don’t see why He couldn’t have. He took a cup, and He gave thanks, and He gave the cup to them, and He said; “Take this, and divide it up among yourselves. All of you, drink from it.” Sounds pretty simple to me, if you just use a little common sense.
And concerning the idea that some people have about using only one cup for the Lord’s supper, it is simple common sense that Jesus wasn’t telling His disciples to “divide” the cup among yourselves. (That would have gotten a bit messy) Jesus was obviously telling them to “divide among yourselves” what’s IN the cup, namely, the fruit of the vine. Therefore, when we read Mathew’s account of that evening, and we read the words; “Drink ye all, from it..” we know for a fact that Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples to all drink from the one cup, but rather, He was telling them to all drink from the CONTENTS of the cup! All it takes is a little common sense.
We need to use logical reasoning, and we need to use rational thinking, to be able to correctly understand the bible. If we put it into the form of an equation, the equation would simply be.. Knowledge of God’s word + Rational Thinking, = Understanding of God’s will.
But let’s add just one more thing to the equation, to make sure of the outcome.. Let’s add, an Honest heart, to the equation. You can gain all the knowledge that there is to gain, but if you don’t have an honest heart, you won’t be thinking rationally about it. And so.. Knowledge of God’s word + an Honest Heart + Faith, that that word is true + Rational Thinking = understanding of God’s will. I don’t think you can go wrong with that equation. If we know God’s word, and are honest about it, so as to believe that His word is true, and if we simply apply rational thought, then we will indeed end up with an understanding of God’s will, no matter what the subject is.
The Salvation Equation
Now, if we wanted make that an equation for being saved, we could add just one more thing to the end of that equation.. Knowledge of God’s word + an Honest Heart + Faith, that that word is true + Rational thinking = the Understanding of God’s will PLUS, Obedience to God’s will = Salvation.
Anyone, with the God given ability to reason, and the access to the truth, can be saved, by following that equation. It’s not a lot different from the “steps” of salvation that we so often talk about; Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, and be Baptized. Those “steps” are simply very specific, concerning what we must obey, to be saved. And my equation here, deals with mainly with what’s involved in understanding God’s will, so that we CAN obey it.
Jesus said; “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8 :32) But just knowing the truth isn’t going to set you free, if you leave out any of those other parts of the equation. The truth has the potential to set you free from your sin, but there’s many different “parts” to the truth. And you’ve got to know ALL the parts. You’ve got to believe that every part, is the truth. And you’ve got to think, you’ve got to think logically, and rationally, so that you can understand how all those parts, come together as a whole; Because it’s the “whole”, of all the parts, that makes up the will of God.
The majority of people who believe in Christ, are NOT saved, because they don’t understand, God’s plan of salvation. And the reason that they don’t understand God’s plan, which is God’s will, is because they’ve left out one of the parts of the “salvation equation”.
Every part of that equation, is just as important as every other part. If you leave out the last part, the “obeying” you’ll never receive salvation, because God tells us in Hebrews 5, verse 9, that Jesus, “is the author of salvation, (or, “the source” of salvation) to all those who obey Him.” No obedience, no salvation. Simple.
And if you leave out the first part, the “knowing” God’s word, you’ll never receive salvation. That’s what Jesus was saying in John 8:32; “You shall KNOW the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” If you don’t know it, you can’t obey it. And of course we’re told in 2 Peter 1, verse 3, that “..His divine power has granted to us everything, pertaining to LIFE, (that’s salvation) and godliness, through the true KNOWLEDGE, of Him who called us..” No knowledge, no salvation.
And of course we know, that if we don’t think rationally, and “reason together” with His word, as God tells us to do in Isaiah 1:18, then we’ll likely come up with all sorts of irrational ideas, like the one about using, only one cup, while observing the Lord’s supper. Knowledge of the word, and a little common sense, dispels ridiculous idea like that.
But now we’re going to get down to the, number one part, of the “salvation equation” that most people leave out; And that is, “Believing” what the bible says. Oh, we go by the bible, people like to say. But in reality, they don’t go by “everything” that the bible says, because they don’t believe everything that the bible says. They cclaim to, but their hearts aren’t being honest.
Like I said before, the bible is a book of many “truths”. And we’ve got to put all those “truths” together, in a rational manner, “reasoning together”, so as to come to an understanding of God’s will, so that we can obey it. It all fits together; But, if you leave anything out, it all falls apart.
A lack of believing, or in other words, “unbelief”, makes it impossible to come to reasonable conclusions, because you’re not dealing with all the facts. And “unbelief” makes it impossible “know the truth”, because you reject the truth. And “unbelief”, makes it impossible to “obey” the truth, because you can’t “obey”, what you don’t “know”.
And you’re also not going to obey something, that you don’t believe is true. And that is precisely WHY, the bible equates, “unbelief”, with “disobedience”. Once again; NO ONE, is going to obey, what they do not believe to be true.
Here’s a perfect example of that; Think about the words of Jesus, in Mark 16:16.. Jesus said; “The one who has believed, and has been baptized, shall be saved; But, the one who has disbelieved, shall be condemned.”
Now, the people who don’t believe that baptism is necessary, in order to be saved, don’t believe that verse, along with several other verses that teach the same thing. And since they refuse to believe those verses, they fail to be able to think rationally about the subject of baptism.
And so they argue, and say; Jesus didn’t SAY, that the one who has NOT been baptized shall be condemned! All Jesus said was that “the one who has not BELIEVED, shall be condemned.” They conclude, that since Jesus didn’t specify, that the one who has NOT been baptized, shall be condemned, that therefore baptism isn’t required, in order to be saved.
But that kind of conclusion, foregoes any kind of rational thinking at all. Everyone knows, that if you don’t believe in the first place, then you surely are NOT going to obey! It goes without even saying, that you’re not going to be baptized, if you don’t even believe, and that’s precisely why Jesus DIDN’T say anything in that verse about NOT being baptized.
It’s so simple.. The one who has believed, and has been baptized, shall be saved. But, the one who has disbelieved, is condemned right there; Need anyone say more?
And so that’s a prime example, of how NOT believing, even a part of the word of God, will cause you to think irrationally, and to reach irrational conclusions, because you’re not reasoning with all of the truth; And so you’re unbelief, prevents you, from understanding God’s will; It makes it impossible for you to understand! And, it also makes it impossible to obey God’s will, because you don’t KNOW what God’s will is.
And the more I talk with people, and the more I study with them about the bible, the more obvious it becomes, that it always boils down to the fact, that there is at least one verse of scripture, at the heart of the discussion, that they refuse to believe, and therefore, it becomes impossible for them to understand God’s will, and God’s plan of salvation.
Of course it doesn’t ever end with just one verse, that people refuse to believe. Disbelieving one verse, inevitably, leads to disbelieving another verse, and another, and another. And the reason for that, is because of how inseparably, all of scripture fits together. I really can’t think of even one verse, that teaches a particular truth, that isn’t repeated somewhere else in the bible. And so, it’s inevitable; If you refuse to believe one verse, then somewhere in the bible, there’s another verse that teaches the very same thing, and so you would have to say, that if you disbelieve the one verse, then you’ll be “obligated”, to disbelieve that one also.
Isn’t that a strange concept? By disbelieving one verse, you will “obligate” yours self, to disbelieve another. Strange, but true.
But all it really takes is honesty. Honesty to admit that what you read in the bible is true, whether it agrees with your previous notion or not. And so.. Knowledge, of God’s word, plus the Honesty of heart, so as to be able to come to Faith. You’ll never come to have faith in God’s word, if you refuse to be honest about what it says. But if you will be honest, then just add some Rational Thinking, and it will result in an understanding of God’s will; An understanding of God’s whole plan, from start to finish.
It’s like I was talking about this morning regarding the various covenants that God has made. If you understand how all the covenants work together, you’ll have come a long way in understanding God’s whole plan.
And then, once you have that understanding, of the whole “Plan” of God’s redemption, then, all it takes is your compliance with God’s plan, in other words, your obedience to it, and bingo, you’re saved!
The “salvation equation”. Knowledge + Honesty + Faith + Rational Thinking, which will lead to Understanding + Obedience = Salvation. But most people won’t even take the time, to gather ALL of the knowledge; And then if they do gather the knowledge, they don’t seem to have much of a desire to be honest about that knowledge, so as to produce the faith required, to be saved.