12 Moule, Birth, pp. 33–35.
13 Cullmann, Confessions, p. 41.
14 Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, p. 112; Bultmann, Theology, vol. 1, pp. 81, 125; Neufeld, Confessions, pp. 43, 140.
15 Bultmann, Theology, vol. 1, p. 312; Neufeld, Confessions, pp. 62, 68, 144.
16 Moule, Birth, p. 38; Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, pp. 101, 104–105.
17 Jeremias, ibid., p. 101.
18 Ibid., pp. 101, 104–105.
19 Cullmann, Confessions, p. 64; Moule, Birth, pp. 38–39; Neufeld, Confessions, p. 52.
20 Bultmann, Theology, vol. 1, p. 83.
specific date . . . .”^21 This tradition relates that Jesus did attend a dinner on the same evening as he was betrayed. He gives thanks to God before eating and afterward shared both bread and drink, which he referred to as the sacrifice of his body and blood for believers. Here we find insights not only to some of the events of the evening, but also to the actual words which may have been repeated at early Christian observances of the Last Supper.^22
Another event just prior to Jesus’ crucifixion is related by 1 Timothy 6:13, which is also an early tradition,^23 and perhaps even a part of a more extensive oral Christian confession of faith.^24 This statement asserts that Jesus came before Pontius Pilate and made a good confession.^25 Neufeld points out that Jesus’ testimony was probably his affirmative answer to Pilate’s question as to whether he was the King of the Jews (see Mark 15:2).^26 At any rate, “Jesus did not deny his identity in the trials but made a good confession before the Jews and Pilate.”^27
We have already noted how some early Christian traditions presented a juxtaposition between the human and the divine Jesus. Several other early reports contrasted the seeming defeat suffered at the cross with the triumph of Jesus’ resurrection. Earlier, Philippians 2:6ff. was mentioned as expressing this first comparison of the human Jesus who was to be exalted by God. More specifically, Philippians 2:8 additionally reports the humbling of Jesus as he died on the cross in direct contrast to this later exaltation. Another example is to be found in Romans 4:25, which Bultmann refers to as “a statement that had evidently existed before Paul and had been handed down to him.”^28 The content of this tradition is that Jesus died for our sins and was afterward raised from the dead to secure the believer’s justification. Similarly, 1 Peter 3:18 (cf. 1 Tim. 2:6) also contrasts Jesus’ death for the sins of mankind (in spite of his own righteousness) with the resurrection as the means of bringing people to God.^29