The Meaning of Matthew 26:26 Explained

Matthew 26:26

KJV: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

YLT: And while they were eating, Jesus having taken the bread, and having blessed, did brake, and was giving to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat, this is my body;'

Darby: And as they were eating, Jesus, having taken the bread and blessed, broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

ASV: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

What does Matthew 26:26 Mean?

Verse Meaning

There have been various interpretations of what Jesus meant when He said, "This is my body." There are four main views. Roman Catholics take it as a literal statement meaning the bread really becomes the body of Christ and the contents of the cup become the blood of Christ. This is true when duly authorized representatives of the church conduct the service properly. This is the transubstantiation view. Adherents believe God transfers the body and blood of Christ into the substance of the elements. The bread and wine really become the physical body and blood of Christ.
A second view is not quite so literal. It is the consubstantiation view and, as the word implies, its advocates see the body and blood of Christ as present "in, with, and under" the elements. Christ is really present, though not physically present, according to this Lutheran view. [1]
The third major view is the spiritual presence view that Presbyterians and other followers of Calvin"s view of the Lord"s Supper hold. For them the spiritual presence of Christ is in the elements and, as in the former views, God ministers grace to the communicant in a concrete way through participation. [2]
The fourth view is the memorial view. Advocates believe that when Jesus said, "This is my body," he meant, "This represents my body." In other words they understand His statement as completely metaphorical (cf. Matthew 13:19-23; Matthew 13:36-39; John 15:1). A metaphor is a comparison in which one thing is likened to a different thing by being spoken of as if it were that other thing (e.g, "All the world is a stage."). Advocates view the elements as pictures or emblems of the body and blood of Christ. In contrast to the preceding views this one does not see Christ present in any special sense in the elements. Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss reformer, promoted this view. Today most of the churches from the Anabaptist branch of Protestantism (i.e, Baptists, Methodists, Mennonites, independent Bible churches, Evangelical Free churches, et al.) hold this interpretation. [3] I believe this view best represents the total revelation concerning the Lord"s Supper in Scripture.
Some Christian groups refer to the Lord"s Supper as one of the "sacraments." They mean the elements minister grace to the participant in a more direct and physical way than those who speak of it as an "ordinance," assuming they are using these terms properly. An ordinance or sacrament is a rite the Lord commanded His followers to observe.

Context Summary

Matthew 26:26-35 - A Self-Confident Disciple Warned
The Passover looked back to the dread hour of the Exodus; the Supper links Calvary with the Second Advent. In partaking of it we should not confine ourselves to either retrospect or anticipation, but should endeavor to feed our souls with the very spirit and heart of our dear Lord, so as to absorb His divine strength, sweetness and love. We need to feed on His flesh and drink of His blood after a mystical fashion, so that He may become the Life of our life. The word new is not the same as in Matthew 9:17, but contrasts, with the present order of things, something entirely different. The former things will have passed away-such was our Lord's anticipation!
The new covenant is further explained in Hebrews 8:1-13. It is good to recite its provisions when we sit at the Table. It is as though God and the believer drink of the cup in pledge of that blessed understanding between them. See how our Shepherd eagerly warns one of the sheep that was dear to Him and for which He had pleaded often, Luke 22:31. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 26

1  Jesus foretells his own death
3  The rulers conspire against him
6  The woman anoints his feet
14  Judas bargains to betray him
17  Jesus eats the Passover;
26  institutes his holy supper;
30  foretells the desertion of his disciples, and Peter's denial;
36  prays in the garden;
47  and being betrayed by a kiss,
57  is carried to Caiaphas,
69  and denied by Peter

Greek Commentary for Matthew 26:26

And blessed and brake it [ευλογησας εκλασεν]
Special “Grace” in the middle of the passover meal, “as they were eating,” for the institution of the Supper. Jesus broke one of the passover wafers or cakes that each might have a piece, not as a symbol of the breaking of his body as the Textus Receptus has it in 1 Corinthians 11:24. The correct text there has only to υπερ υμων — huper humōn without κλωμενον — klōmenon As a matter of fact the body of Jesus was not “broken” (John 19:33) as John expressly states. [source]
This is my body [τουτο εστιν το σωμα μου]
The bread as a symbol represents the body of Jesus offered for us, “a beautifully simple, pathetic, and poetic symbol of his death” (Bruce). But some have made it “run into fetish worship” (Bruce). Jesus, of course, does not mean that the bread actually becomes his body and is to be worshipped. The purpose of the memorial is to remind us of his death for our sins. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 26:26

Mark 14:23 A cup [ποτηριον]
Probably the ordinary wine of the country mixed with two-thirds water, though the word for wine See notes on Matthew 26:26-29 for discussion of important details. Mark and Matthew give substantially the same account of the institution of the Supper by Jesus, while Luke 22:17-20 agrees closely with 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 where Paul claims to have obtained his account by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus. [source]
John 6:35 I am the bread of life [Εγω ειμι ο αρτος της ζωης]
This sublime sentence was startling in the extreme to the crowd. Philo does compare the manna to the τειος λογος — theios logos in an allegorical sense, but this language is far removed from Philo‘s vagueness. In the Synoptics (Mark 14:22; Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19) Jesus uses bread He is the bread of life in two senses: it has life in itself, the living bread (John 6:51), and it gives life to others like the water of life, the tree of life. John often has Jesus saying “I am” As also in John 6:41, John 6:48, John 6:51; John 8:12; John 10:7, John 10:9, John 10:11, John 10:14; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 15:1, John 15:5. He that cometh to me The first act of the soul in approaching Jesus. See also John 6:37. Shall not hunger Strong double negative ου με — ou me with first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive, “shall not become hungry.” He that believeth on me The continuous relation of trust after coming like πιστευητε — pisteuēte (present tense) in John 6:29. See both verbs used together also in John 7:37. Shall never thirst So the old MSS. the future active indicative instead of the aorist subjunctive as above, an even stronger form of negation with πωποτε — pōpote (John 1:18) added. [source]
Galatians 4:24 For these are []
Hagar and Sarah are, allegorically. Signify. Comp. Matthew 13:20, Matthew 13:38; Matthew 26:26, Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Corinthians 10:16. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 26:26 mean?

[As] they were eating now of them having taken - Jesus bread and having blessed broke [it] having given to the disciples He said Take eat this is the body of Me
Ἐσθιόντων δὲ αὐτῶν λαβὼν Ἰησοῦς ἄρτον καὶ εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν δοὺς τοῖς μαθηταῖς εἶπεν Λάβετε φάγετε τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου

Ἐσθιόντων  [As]  they  were  eating 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἐσθίω 
Sense: to eat.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
λαβὼν  having  taken 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: λαμβάνω  
Sense: to take.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰησοῦς  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
ἄρτον  bread 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἄρτος  
Sense: food composed of flour mixed with water and baked.
εὐλογήσας  having  blessed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: εὐλογέω 
Sense: to praise, celebrate with praises.
ἔκλασεν  broke  [it] 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: κλάω  
Sense: to break.
δοὺς  having  given 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: διδῶ 
Sense: to give.
τοῖς  to  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μαθηταῖς  disciples 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: μαθητής  
Sense: a learner, pupil, disciple.
εἶπεν  He  said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
Λάβετε  Take 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: λαμβάνω  
Sense: to take.
φάγετε  eat 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἐσθίω  
Sense: to eat.
τοῦτό  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
σῶμά  body 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: σῶμα  
Sense: the body both of men or animals.
μου  of  Me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.