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What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, “It Is Finished”? (And why I believe He is LITERALLY present in the Eucharist/Communion)

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, “It Is Finished”?  It was quite profound, and it is definitely tied into the Eucharist/Communion as well as His literal presence therein.  Please browse through the notes I made while listening to Dr. Scott Hahn teach on this topic.

• He wasn’t referring to his work of redemption
a) He had not yet resurrected
b) Paul said his resurrection had to happen for us to be justified (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

• The Passover was instituted to save the first born sons of man
a) Either the first born son was slaughtered, or a lamb was slaughtered

• How was Passover celebrated?
The Passover Seder meal was a four fold structure – four cups of wine are consumed:
(1) First was part of preliminary course: prayer of the Kadeish – blessings and the first cup of wine
(2) Maggid: Retelling the Passover story and drinking the second cup of wine
(3) Bareich: Blessing after the meal and drinking the third cup of wine
(4) Hallel: Reciting the Hallel (Psalm 113-118) and then drinking of the fourth cup of wine

There is a serious problem in the order of the Last Supper’s Passover meal then:
(1) He passed around the third cup, they drank, they sung the hymn in Mark 14:26, but then they departed without having drank the fourth cup, heading to the Garden of Gethsemane.
(2) Not only is the fourth cup omitted, but the climax of the Passover meal was missed. The cup of consummation ends Passover, but it had not yet been consumed.

• How he prayed in the garden:
a) “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” He prayed three times to have this cup taken from him.

• John, the eye witness to the crucifixion, noticed something:
a) John 19:14 – “about the sixth hour” … “away with him, away with him, crucify him.” The sixth hour happens to be the time that the Passover lamb is to be slain – the Lamb of God was sentenced to die at the precise moment that the Passover lamb is supposed to die.
b) John 19:23-24 – Jesus was wearing a seamless linen garment called a Chiton – this is the exact garment the high priest wore when sacrificing the Passover Lamb.  Jesus is therefore not only the sacrifice, but the priest offering it.
c) Jesus was the only one of the three on the crosses that day that didn’t have his bones broken.  This fulfills scripture that “not a bone shall be broken” BUT, in Exodus 12:46, God commands of the unblemished Passover lamb, “Do not break any of the  bones.”
d) Way back in John 1:29, John stated, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

• Jesus said, in order to fulfill the scriptures, “I thirst.”
a) He obviously would have been thirsty for hours before this
b) This isn’t just a passing comment he makes a few moments before death
c) It had intended significance

• They brought a hyssop branch, put a sponge on it, dipped it in sour wine, and lifted it to Jesus.
a) Recall that he had been offered wine mixed with gall (a pain killer) on his way to Calvary, yet he declined
b) Hyssop branches just happen to be the same type of branch used to sprinkle lamb’s blood on the doorposts in Exodus
c) As soon as he drank this wine, he said, “It is finished!” – this can also be translated, “It is consummated”
d) He had omitted the fourth cup at the Passover meal, the fourth cup of consummation, but has now finished it. He had transformed the old covenant Passover into the new covenant Passover

• Jesus had begun his sacrifice on the cross with the Passover meal the night before. He didn’t complete that meal at that time, but now completes it on the cross by drinking the wine of the fourth cup of consummation.
a) “This is my body…”
b) “This is my blood…”
c) “… of the new covenant”
d) By signifying the separation of body and blood, he signified his coming death – THIS (the Last Supper) is when His sacrifice began.

• Notice that when Jesus gave his “Bread of Life” teachings, it was around the time of the Passover (John 6:4 – “The Jewish Passover Festival was near”). This was a year or two before the Last Supper and His crucifixion.

• He says we are to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He was being literal when he said this!

He was NOT saying communion is symbolic! Here is why (especially beginning in letter c below):

a) Remember that for the angel of death to Passover the house in Exodus, the lamb itself had to be consumed (Exodus 12:8).  Not only was the blood to be sprinkled on the door, but if you didn’t eat the lamb, your son was taken.

b) Jesus, the lamb, was slain and his blood was shed. Yet we still need to eat the lamb (also notice that in In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul exhorts us to keep the Passover with unleavened bread – this is how it’s done in the Eucharist – also read in 1 Corinthians 10:16: Is not the cup of Thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? [FYI: the Cup of Thanksgiving was the third cup of the Passover, as mentioned above] and is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?).

c) John chapter 6 makes it crystal clear that Jesus meant it literally when he said we would eat his flesh and drink his blood. This is NOT symbolic. Please note that people who had just seen him FEED 5,000 PEOPLE with 5 loaves and 2 fish, and then had seen him WALK ON WATER and had tried to make him a KING, then LEFT HIM in verse 66 because of what he taught about this:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” [Does Jesus then say, “Oh, I meant that symbolically?” NOPE. He reinforces it to be literal!]

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, 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 food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

[Notice the Disciples didn’t like this?] Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples
complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? [notice he doesn’t pull back on this, even to his disciples]”

[Then check this out – these same people had seen him perform miracles EARLIER THAT DAY:] From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

Answer this question: Why would they stop following him if they took him to be speaking metaphorically/symbolically? They’d just wanted to crown him KING. They’d seen him feed five thousand with just a few loaves and fish. They’d just seen him walk on water! It was because he said they had to literally eat his flesh and drink his blood. HE BECOMES PRESENT IN THE EUCHARIST!

• The Eucharist is indeed a great mystery of faith. In it, Jesus is truly present, not just symbolically. AMAZING!