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Paul knew many of Jesus’ teachings

February 29, 2024
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Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

23 I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread. 24 After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.” 25 He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.” 26 Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Christians treasured Jesus’ words before anyone wrote a “gospel.” 1 Corinthians 11 was the earliest written account of the Lord’s Supper—Paul wrote that letter 15-20 years before any of the four gospels. * The apostle quoted Jesus’ teachings in 1 Corinthians 9:14 ** and Acts 20:35. In 1 Corinthians 7:10-17, 25, 40 he carefully distinguished a specific command Jesus gave from his sense of what Jesus would want in another case. Paul (and the Christians he taught) knew and valued much of Jesus’ teaching.

  • Thanks to Paul, we hear Jesus’ words at communion services just as early Christians in Corinth did: “do this to remember me’ and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Jesus pointed to Jeremiah’s promise (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). He meant, as scholar William Barclay translated it, “This cup is the new covenant and it cost my blood.” *** How can you join the earliest Christians in worshiping Jesus, recalling and honoring the price he paid to offer you grace and forgiveness?
  • Paul quoted Jesus, who quoted Jeremiah, who linked God “engraving” God’s instructions on our hearts (an echo of the stone tablets on which God engraved the 10 Commandments—cf. Exodus 31:18) with God mercifully forgiving our sins. That long chain of God’s people bore witness to how God’s mercy changes how God’s people live. How has your gratitude for God’s forgiving mercy in Jesus moved you toward living as God wants you to live?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you don’t want a casual, come-and-go connection with me. You shed your blood to invite me into an enduring covenant. Help me to wholeheartedly accept. Amen.

GPS Insights

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

I was watching a reality cooking show once, and they were talking about what they might typically spend on a really nice dinner. If I remember correctly, the dinners ranged from $300 to $1,100 a person. I became keenly aware that my idea of a nice dinner would not be the same as these contestants. What are you eating for $1,100?! Lobster tail wrapped in gold?! I would feel completely lost in any establishment that served a $1,100 meal. People would look at me like I was entirely out of place, and they would be accurate. I don’t have the clothing that would be expected, nor the proper etiquette, nor the wallet, for that matter. Even thinking of having to dine at such a place gives me anxiety. A hamburger with a toasted bun is my type of fancy.  

I think it’s fascinating that when given one of the last opportunities to invite us to remember him, Jesus used a simple meal. He broke bread, he poured wine, and he told us to remember him. He was very intentional about leaving out any sort of dress code, social status, or net worth. It doesn’t matter if you are used to eating $1,100 meals or corn straight out of a can, all are equally invited to the table of our lord. Social standings quickly dissolve when partaking of the elements. They are replaced by unity, not only with God, but with all other believers.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* “Paul received at least two sets of visitors from Corinth before writing 1 Corinthians from Ephesus sometime before Pentecost (see 1 Cor 16:8), probably in either 54 or 55 CE.” (Charles A. Wanamaker, Introduction to 1 Corinthians in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 304 NT.)
** “Paul alludes to the Lord’s command later recorded in Matthew 10:9; Luke 10:7.” (Zondervan, NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (p. 10043). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)
*** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to the Corinthians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 103.