I was amazed one day in class when my professor pointed us to Genesis 3 to think about the Lord’s Supper. I had never thought about any connections there. But he quoted the only comment I can find in any Genesis commentary that addresses the Supper. Here is the quotation: “She took … and ate: so simple the act, so hard its undoing. God will taste poverty and death before ‘take and eat’ become verbs of salvation.” (Derek Kidner, Genesis, 73) What an eye-opener that was.
The very act of eating in the garden led the whole human race into sin. But it is with the act of eating that God begins our walk of faith. So Jesus took the bread, gave it to His disciples, and invited them to eat, for “this is my body.” Eating instituted our fall and eating institutes our redemption.
We went, in an earlier entry, to John 6 where we saw that eating at the Supper is a symbol for faith. The bread is perfectly good bread as it lies before us, but unless we eat it, personally appropriate it, it does us no physical good. It is the same with Jesus. He offers us His saving work. It is perfectly good work, but it does us no good without our personal appropriation by faith.
But there is another connection to the Supper in this chapter. In Gen 3.22-24 God warded off a catastrophe. In v. 22 He said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”
Brant Pitre, in his book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, pointed out that there are only two places in the Bible where the phrase “eat and live forever” occur, in Genesis 3 and in John 6 (in verses 51 and 58). What is the point of this? It was eating that got the human race into trouble. It is eating again that marks our return to the Lord’s Table, as it were. We were banished from the Garden for eating. Our return to the Garden (note the ties of Revelation 21–22 with the description of the Garden in Genesis 2) is signaled by our admission to the table in the Lord’s Supper. (We dealt with the relevance of John 6 to the Supper in an earlier entry.)
And only sinful people need apply! Jesus offered the bread to Judas and to Peter, one who betrayed Him and one who denied him. Eating ushered us into sin, and eating reintroduces us to the fellowship of God.
Wow. Had never seen that before – What a picture of redemption and restoration at the Lord’s table.
I thank you for continuing to teach through your postings. Since I am not in Dallas, and you are not in Atlanta, your teaching is a tremendous resource for me. I had never connected the eat in Genesis with the Lord’s Supper and probably never would have without your continuing to share your knowledge.
I remember in class when you shared with us the verb connection of “take” and “eat.” However, I like your point about personal appropriation by faith and the symbolism of our admission to the table through the Lord’s Supper. Thank you for continuing to weave Scripture together.
I would have never thought about eating in Genesis meaning death and eating in the gospels meaning life or redemption. Good job Jim!
I love your writing and the nuggets you share. In my study of the Lord’s Supper I never tied it to anywhere in Genesis. This was a refreshing read. I definitely will miss your classes as I graduated this past spring. You were a constant encouragement to my faith.
Great to connect with you in Milwaukee, Jim! Your quote from Kidner reminds me of another from Darrell Johnson: “Eat and drink are the only verbs of worship explicitly commanded by Jesus” (from a review of A Holy Meal by Gordon T. Smith).