The Star of Bethlehem - The Rest of the Story

 

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John Chapter 6 - Jesus the Bread of Life and the Body of Christ

This website page offers Bible verses and commentary related to the Roman Catholic church's position on the Eucharist and Papal Authority.  It is also an insightful look into the lives of Peter and Paul.

First, we'll look at John 6:23-69 which is a key passage regarding the Eucharist.

Jesus had just fed 5,000 men (Mark 6:44 plus women and children) from 5 barley loaves of bread and 2 small fish the day before.  Now the crowd is looking for Jesus so they can have more bread.

John 6:23 - Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Jesus is making a connection and a distinction between the physical and and the spiritual. The people ask what "work they can do", and Jesus says they must believe in Jesus (have faith). The miraculous signs Jesus did were to give the people an opportunity to believe in Him.

Faith is a gift from God. Eph. 2:8-9 - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this (faith) is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. 
Rom. 10:17 says,
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."

So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' " Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."

Now the crowd makes the connection between miraculous signs and belief, and so they ask Jesus for a sign.  Jesus makes the connection and distinction between the physical manna God gave the Jewish forefathers and Himself. Our heavenly Father gives both, and Jesus is eternal life through faith in Him. (1 Cor. 10:1-4)

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Jesus Himself is the miraculous sign and the true bread from heaven. Jesus gives eternal life to those who look to and believe (have faith) in Him. Paul said in Rom. 14:10, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Paul is essentially saying that faith comes from hearing and believing the words of Jesus.

At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, `I came down from heaven'?" "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: `They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.

Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him - he who believes has everlasting life.
Jesus is connecting words (and by implication faith in those words) with everlasting life.
However, for this to occur, the Father must be actively at work in a person's life drawing them to Jesus Christ through His Word.

I am the bread of life.

Jesus used metaphors, figures of speech, and parables a lot (John 16:25-31). (Mark 4:33-34).

Consider these "I AM" statements:
I am the bread of life. John 6:48
I am the light of the world. John 8:12
I am the gate. John 10:7 (Read 10:1-6, and esp. note 10:6 in light of John 6:25-69)
I am the good shepherd. John 10:11
I am the true vine. John 15:1

Jesus implies in John 10:6 that these "figures of speech" are not understood by those who do not know Him. He is using physical word pictures to describe spiritual truths. They are not to be taken literally. See Matt. 13:10-13, Mark 4:10-12, Luke 8:9-10

Here are some additional "I AM" statements:
I am living water. John 4:10-14
I am a temple. John 2:19-21
I am not of this world. John 8:23
Before Abraham was born, I am. John 8:58
I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25
I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6
I am in the Father. John 14:20
I am Jesus of Nazareth John 18:5
I am a king. John 18:37

Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Jesus frequently related his audiences' perspective and focus on physical experiences to a spiritual truth He was communicating.  In this case, the Jews were well aware that God had provided them physical manna to eat in the desert after they left Egypt (Exodus).  Jesus redirects that perspective and focus to a spiritual truth about Himself.  Faith (and, consequently, eternal life) comes through the word of Christ.  "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. "Deut. 8:1-3, Matt. 4:1-4, 1 Cor. 10:1-4

Jesus talked about Himself, the Bread of Life, in John 6.  The LORD's Supper was then later instituted in John 13.  Jesus gave His life for the world in His ministry and then ultimately on the cross.  Jesus said eating this "bread" is necessary to live forever.

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life" Pretty blunt and qualifying. Roman Catholics believe bread is changed into Christ's flesh and wine is changed into Christ's blood. One question is "Are those elements really changed into the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ?"  Does the Eucharist sanctify, make a person clean and acceptable for salvation? (heaven with Jesus)
(Matt. 15:1-20, John 15:3)

Jesus also said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."
In John 15:1-10, Jesus says, "I am the vine" (Matt. 26:29, John 4:13-14 & 39-42) "you are already clean (in Christ), because of the word I have spoken to you" ... ""if you remain in me and my words remain in you" ... Remaining in Christ implies faith in and obedience to God's Word. (John 6:28-29)  Jesus prayed to His Father for his disciples "Sanctify them by the truth, your Word is truth."
(John 17:17)

Is the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus, a requirement for salvation? Abraham was justified by faith apart from the sign of circumcision or other works of the law. (Rom. 4) In response to his faith, Jesus tells the thief on the cross "today you will be with Me in paradise" ( Luke 23:38-43). In essence, Paul told some unbelieving disciples that water baptism isn't required for salvation. Faith in Jesus is.
(Water baptism is often put in the same category as remembering the Last Supper re: salvation)

(Acts 19:1-5, 1 Cor. 1:12-17) None of these salvations involved eating or drinking anything physically.

Notice what Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:17-34, verse 27-29 "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup". He's says "bread" not body. The fellowship in Acts 2:42-47 finds them "breaking bread" and not eating "Christ's body". Compare with 1 Cor. 11:20 "when you come together".

He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe."

"The flesh counts for nothing." If the flesh counts for nothing, then why has Jesus been talking about the value of eating His flesh? Unless, He was using a physical concept to communicate a spiritual truth. The Son of Man's body will ascend to Heaven and not be physically present. "The Spirit gives life. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus brings it back to the real issue of belief and faith in Him - the WORD - and by extension His words.  Spiritual truths are hard to accept for those who do not have the Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:12-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-2 The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us ...full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God. John 1:12-13

For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Peter could have said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You are the flesh and blood we are to consume for eternal life." Instead, Peter got the message "You have the words of eternal life." He understood the spiritual truth of what Jesus was illustrating and telling them.

There is an interesting article on transubstantiation here: http://carm.org/transubstantiation

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
Matt. 16:5-12 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 "Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn't bring any bread." 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Jesus connects the lesson of John 6 to this lesson in Matt. 16:9-12 regarding teaching by reminding them of their conversation after the miraculous feeding of the multitudes with bread. Jesus is reminding them that physical feeding is a lesson in spiritual feeding which happens through words and teaching. It is the teaching that you receive and believe that determines where you will spend eternity. Jesus taught, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me." John 14:6

John 4:31-34 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."
32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." 33 Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" 34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

John 6:27-29 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Jesus' food is to finish His Father's work.  The work of God is to believe in the One He has sent.  So what is the relationship between Jesus finishing His Father's work and our work of believing in Him?

John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned he has crossed over from death to life.

What are people condemnation for?

John 6:23-69  "This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

Peter's Position of Authority and Possession of the Keys
16:13-16pp -- Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20
Matt. 16:13-16 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Matt. 16:17-20 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

Matt. 16:18-19 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Jesus gives the "keys" to Peter along with the authority to bind and loose.
Was this an exclusive privilege and responsibility to Peter only? Or was it given to others?

In Matt. 18:1 and 18:18 He grants the authority to bind and loose, and the keys by implication, to other disciples as well.

Matt. 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" ... Matt. 18:18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Also Luke 22:28-29

If the keys were to unlock the gates of Heaven in terms of salvation or to give access to some special power, perhaps Paul had those keys as well.  In ( 1 Tim 1:20) it says Paul handed over Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan.


The keys appear to be given to anyone with faith in Christ based on their testimony.  Jesus gave the keys to Peter immediately after " Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

What are the keys? Possibly, the keys of the kingdom of heaven are the same as the "knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom"
 regarding salvation.

(Matt. 13:10-13The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" 11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."

The keys are of no value if you have no faith in the Word and promises of God.

John 1 "The Word was God. The Word became flesh."
"Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Heb. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The real authority of the keys given by Christ is ultimately His revelation of God's principles through His teaching. Paul considered those men of God noble who would search the scriptures for themselves to verify or discredit what they were hearing from men.  (Acts 17:11). In Luke 11:52, Jesus denounces the Pharisees for misrepresenting God and the Scriptures with a religion of their own making. As a result they were shutting the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."

Sola Scriptura => Scripture alone, (the Bible) is the final authority in matters of faith.
Tradition can be helpful so long as it does not contradict scripture.

The ultimate power to open and close the gates of heaven is the Gospel, which "is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe" (Romans 1:16). Peter's first proclamation of the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 2, opened the door of the kingdom to thousands. Since then, the disciples, and all Christians who have succeeded them, have been opening and closing the doors of the kingdom with the Gospel. Those who hear it and believe it are forgiven (loosed) of their sin and enter the kingdom, while those who reject the Gospel remain unforgiven (bound) of their sins and can not enter the kingdom.

The only other mention of keys (plural) in the Bible, besides Matt. 16:19 is:

Rev 1:16-18 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades

Jesus said "on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it"
Jesus must hold the keys to Hades, and defend against Hades through His Word.

Eph 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Notice the connection between the sword, the Word of God, and the keys as they relate to the Word.

Matt. 13:10-11  The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" 11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

Matt. 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable

Parables are word-picture illustrations of physical elements to communicate spiritual truths, therefore, parables contain a dual-meaning - a lesson to be learned.

Jesus spoke a lot in parallels - comparing physical experiences with spiritual truths.

1 Cor. 10:1-4 1
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.
 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food  4  and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. (Exo. 16-17)

Who Do You Follow?
1 Cor. 3:1-11 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (also 1 Cor. 1:10-13)

6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

"Don't you know that you are God's temple (building), and that God's Spirit lives in you?"
1 Cor. 3:16 (6:19 & 2 Cor. 6:16), see also 1 Cor. 12:27 & John 2:19-21

We are the temple that is being built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the primary foundation of the Church that others (fellow workers - like Peter and Paul) build upon. As we share with others, each one of us is laying our own foundation, like Paul, upon the primary foundation of Jesus Christ.

Gal. 2:8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Paul and Barnabas were building their foundation on the Gentiles. Peter (along with James and John) were building their foundation on the Jews. 

(This is somewhat ironic given the many popes who have spoken against the Jews.
  http://www.romancatholicism.org/popes-jews.htm  If Peter was to build the Church on a Jewish foundation, then I would question the loyalty of Peter's successors.)

Throughout the New Testament Peter is unmistakably presented as a leader among the apostles.  Peter was an impulsive, extrovert - quite often asking the questions and making statements. Jesus spoke directly to him more than any of the others. 

However, Paul waited 3 years to see Peter after beginning Paul's ministry, then he only spent 15 days with him to make his acquaintance. Paul also saw James at that time, and no other apostles.  Paul must have respected James to have made a point to see him along with Peter.
Peter, James, and John were the reputed pillars in the Church
 (Gal. 2:9)

(Gal. 2:18-19) Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother. 

 

Paul didn't go back to Jerusalem again for another 14 years. (Gal. 2)  (Gal. 1, Gal. 2, Gal. 3, 1 Cor. 4:14-17)

Paul went on 3 missionary journeys. Peter?
Paul wrote the most of the other epistles.
Peter gave Paul's letters the authority of the apostles. (2 Peter 3:14-16)
Peter wrote 1&2 Peter with the help of Silas who was most likely influenced by Paul (1 Peter 5:12)
  (Peter wrote his letters between 64 and 68 AD - Silas went on Paul's 2nd missionary journey 49 AD)
Paul rebuked Peter. (Gal. 2:11)
Peter rebuked Jesus. (Matt. 16:22)
Jesus rebuked Peter "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in
  mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matt. 16:23)
Jesus asked Peter, "Are you still so dull?" (Matt. 15:10-20)
Peter replied to Jesus "you shall never wash my feet" (John 13:1-17)
Peter denied Jesus 3 times. (Matt. 26:33-35)
Peter slept while Jesus was agonizing in the garden. (Matt. 26:36-46)
Peter cut off Malchus' ear. (John 18:10-11)

Peter was a great man and later went to his death for Jesus,
but, like the rest of us, he certainly was not infallible.

The foundation Peter was laying with the Jews was aided with the help of Paul who was laying a foundation with the Gentiles - both building on the one and only true and primary foundation of Jesus Christ - the head of the Church.

This is a helpful read on Israel and the Church  
Tells the original Hebrew and Greek behind the word "church". 
Another interesting read from Constantine to Charlemagne

Paul Challenges Peter over the Truth of the Gospel
Gal. 2:11-21 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.

12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 "We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. 17 "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Peter was not only unwilling to confront, he was being hypocritical to the point of leading other Jews and even Barnabas astray.  Paul accused Peter of being hypocritical in his living, and forcing the Gentiles to follow Jewish customs.  The Gospel is a gospel of faith and grace not laws and works which is what Paul is correcting Peter on regarding the Gentiles. 

Peter Agrees with Paul regarding the Grace of the Gospel

Peter later agrees with Paul in Acts 15:7-11 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them,for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 

  

Notice that He purified their hearts by faith - not by sacraments. 
Sacraments have value - (Baptism and Marriage - public witness and commitment) 
LORD's Supper - recognition of the Body of Christ in believers and remembering our LORD's sacrifice).
 


Acts 15 gives the account of the first Church council at Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas were brought into sharp dispute with those who were requiring circumcision to be saved. Then Paul and Barnabas were appointed Acts 15:2 to go to Jerusalem to see the apostles about the matter.

THIS IS NO SMALL MATTER.  IT'S INVOLVES THE GOSPEL.  Eph 2:8-9

Upon arriving in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the apostles and elders.  After discussion, Peter's summation was that "it is through the grace of our LORD Jesus that we are saved" 

Acts 15:12 Then the whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.  Acts 15:13  When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon (Peter) has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.... 19 "It is my (James') judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.) - James provided the final judgment which the group all agreed to in the letter written Acts 15:22-31.

 
The LORD's Supper
1 Cor. 11:23-29 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 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."

Is the bread and "fruit of the vine" changed into the body and blood of Jesus here?

26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Here Paul still refers to eating bread and drinking the cup - not body and blood. We are to recognize the Body of the LORD made up of believers who remember and proclaim the LORD's death until He comes.

Proclaiming is different than re-offering, re-presenting, or repeating Christ's sacrifice.
(Heb. 10, Heb. 7:23-28, 1 Pet. 3:18, Rom 3:22-25, Rom. 5:9-11)

"According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1366, "The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit." The catechism continues in paragraph 1367:

The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner . . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory." Ref.

1 Cor. 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Cor. 10:14-17 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 videoBecause there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

Eating the bread and drinking from the cup is a reminder that we are one body of Christ in Christ, because of what He accomplished on the cross and our faith in His substitutionary death for us.
The one loaf of bread was to represent one body of believers in Christ.

Matt. 26:26-29 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Also Luke 22:10-20.

Jesus is speaking in parallel using a physical element to communicate a spiritual truth. Matt. 13:10-13

Jesus was only one person while on this earth.  After His resurrection, Jesus appeared physically to His disciples as one person.  In Heaven, He is always referred to as one person.  And in His 2nd coming, scripture describes Jesus coming back physically as only one person.
 
In Catholic Mass, the bread is said to be changed into the actual Body of Christ - Christ physically present.  And yet He can't be physically present in more than 1 one church service at the same time and still be one person.  Therefore, if the bread is changed into the Body of Christ, Jesus must be present in the bread through the person of the Holy Spirit who already indwells every believer.

Jesus said He would send His Holy Spirit to indwell and teach us
(John 14:15-26 & John 15:26 & Rom. 8:9)

If believers already have the Holy Spirit indwelling them through faith in Christ, what is the value of the Eucharist? Additional grace above and beyond?

Jesus said He will remain in us in John 15:4, and clarified that He would remain in us through His words John 15:7 of which we are reminded of through His indwelling Holy Spirit John 14:26.

Believers are the Body of Christ through His indwelling Holy Spirit.  The reason for the LORD's supper is to remind and remember who we are in Christ and what Christ has done for us on the cross. 
All to often, people forget that. 1 Cor. 10:16-17 & 1 Cor. 11:17-34

We are commanded to remember Jesus sacrifice by observing the LORD's supper so part of the value in our participation in the LORD's supper is in obedience to the LORD's command. (Like the command to be baptized with water as a public witness to the inward baptism we receive when the Holy Spirit indwells us by placing our faith in Christ.)

At the same time, there are many commands in scripture that have to do with our actions, and we continually disobey them.  Case in point is to "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." and to "Love one another as I have loved you." None of us loves the way Jesus  loves - unconditionally, always present, totally forgiving, sacrificially to the point of death, other focused.

That is why Jesus came to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins - past, present, and future, because we are such a sinful people there is no way we could earn our way to Heaven - the debt is too large.  We need God's grace.

Rom. 6:1-4  "What shall we say, then?   Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?   2 By no means! We died to sin;   how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death  in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead  through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

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