“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
26:26 Jesus took the bread - the bread or cake, which the master of the family used to divide among them, after they had eaten the passover. The custom our Lord now transferred to a nobler use. This bread is, that is, signifies or represents my body, according to the style of the sacred writers. Thus #Gen 40:12|, The three branches are three days. Thus #Gal 4:24|, St. Paul speaking of Sarah and Hagar, says, These are the two covenants. Thus in the grand type of our Lord, #Exod 12:11|, God says of the paschal lamb, This is the Lord's passover. Now Christ substituting the holy communion for the passover, follows the style of the Old Testament, and uses the same expressions the Jews were wont to use in celebrating the passover.
Mt 26:26 As they were eating. Before they had arisen from the paschal feast. Jesus took bread. That is, one of the unleavened cakes that had been placed before him as the celebrant or proclaimer of the feast. And blessed. As was the custom. Luke and Paul say, "gave thanks" (Lu 22:19 1Co 11:24), which is the same thing. This is my body. Not literally, as the Catholics and Luther contend, but "represents my body". We interpret it as we do his other sayings: "The seed is the word" (Lu 8:11); "The field is the world" (Mt 13:38); "The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels" (Mt 13:39); "I am the door" (Joh 10:9); "I am the vine" (Joh 15:5). So, too, at this very feast, the Jews was wont to say of the paschal lamb, "This 'is' the body of the lamb which our fathers ate in Egypt". Not the "same", but this is meant to represent and commemorate that. He could not have meant that the bread was his real body, because his body was present at the table breaking the loaf, and he was speaking and acting in person among them. The doctrine of the "Real Presence" is every way unreasonable.