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By David G. Duggan ©
April 7, 2023

The only time that an Epistle confirms an account in the Gospels is in Corinthians when Paul recites Jesus' words at the Last Supper. "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after supper, he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'" (1 Cor. 11: 23-25, NIV lower case pronouns in original).

Drawn mostly from Luke (the commission that Jesus' disciples "do this in remembrance" appears only in his Gospel, 22:19) Paul's recitation also contains the injunction that whenever we do this we "proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Cor. 11:26), restating Jesus' cryptic promise that He would not drink again "until the Kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:18).

And any intelligent reader would ask why is this? The Gospels and the Epistles contain only one point of tangency. No explication of the parables, no exposition on the Beatitudes, no commentary on the miraculous healings. Only the supper which conveyed in simplest terms the substance of faith--an unleavened carbohydrate and a fermented beverage. What to make of this?

Curiously, the unleavened dough forming the bread of life keeps the baked host from the mold and rot that infect bread that rises with yeast. Yet the "fruit of the vine" (Luke 22:18) depends on yeast for its fermentation and therefore its preservation. That which preserves the one shortens the other.

Wine-bibber that I am, I cannot imagine a diet solely of bread and wine. It's not whether I would get enough nutrition or caloric intake--if beasts of the field can subsist on grass and grain, I suppose I could live on the Body and Blood of our Savior. But I don't think that's the point. The bread preserved through the fire of the oven without the yeast which gives bread its body and texture is converted in our bodies to do the work that Christ has laid before us. And the wine, preserved through the yeast captured from the air, preserves us to eternal life.

Bread and wine--the stuff of salvation. No wonder it is the only time that the Epistles sync up with the Gospels.

David Duggan is a retired attorney living in Chicago. He is an occasional devotional writer for VOL

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