I learned several new things this week that I really probably should have known before now.
This is not an unusual experience for me, to be honest.
I was talking in my sermon planning group with my friends Suzanne and Jeff, and we were thinking about different routes we could take with our text from John this week, the Feeding of the 5000.
And Suzanne said, “Well, you could use this gospel to give an open communion sermon.”
That caught me off-guard. Really? How?
It turns out that there are several interesting facts about the Gospel of John that frankly I should have known before now.
There is no scene in John of what we would call “The Last Supper.”
In John, as the end of his life approaches, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet, and continues to teach them. He says to the disciples, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
They want to know who it is, and Jesus says, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish,” and then he gives it to Judas.
He tells Judas to do quickly what he plans to do, and then Judas leaves.
No blessing and breaking of bread.
No, “Take, eat, this is my Body.”
No giving thanks for the cup of wine, declaring it his blood of the New Covenant, and passing it around.
None of that. We can’t trace our idea of Eucharist today to a Last Supper scene in the Gospel of John, because there isn’t one. Continue reading