How to answer this claim: Receiving the eucharist at the Last supper didn't embolden the apostles but Holy Spirit at Pentecost did

I just heard a new (to me) argument against the Eucharist and I’m not sure how best to answer it.

Argument (paraphrasing): *The apostles did not receive Jesus’s body blood soul and divinity at the last supper. If they had, they would not have continued to be fearful and weak. At Pentecost they were emboldened by the Holy Spirit. So (he concludes) the Eucharist is a mere symbol which has no effect on the recipient. Bread and Wine do not become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. Christ is more present in those who have received the Spirit than on those who participate in the memorial of the Lord’s supper.
The first thought that came to my mind, was that the apostles received the Holy Spirit before Pentecost…when Jesus breathed on them (John 20:23) and gave them the power to forgive and retain sins. They were still scared and weak after that as well.

Perhaps the apostles were so emboldened by the Spirit at Pentecost because they had already participated in the passion and death of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit when He breathed on them. Maybe the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was an exceptional outpouring.

Just a few thoughts, but I’m sure some of you have better ones to offer. Anything would be appreciated!

Perhaps if the Apostles had become too emboldened then instead of Jesus being crucified, He may not have been. Or all 11 faithful Apostles would have also been arrested and executed along with Christ; instead of 3 cruicified people that day, there may have been 14!

Either way, the plan of God and the founding of His Church may not have been carried out in the way it was.

Also, this is a very weak argument and strains logic beyond the breaking point. Using the same argument, one could say that only the words Christ spoke after His resurrection had any real value. Or even that none of His words had any real relevance, only the writings of the Apostles. This logic can also lead one to conclude that His sacrifice on the Cross was unnecessary as it happened before Pentecost.

Nope, it does not make logical sense.

How about the example of Jesus Himself:

He was around for 30 years before being “emboldened” to public ministry. What was the “launchpad” for His public ministry?

The public anointing by the Holy Spirit (The Spirit which of course he already had, as God!) which followed His Baptism…

Similarly, the Apostles would launch into public ministry after a public manifestation of the Spirit upon them…


The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a one time, unrepeatable and totally unique occurance in the life of the Church. An event of great power and visibility, it was in effect the “birth day” of the Church. Most folks I know have only one birth day.

The normal means of grace such as are recieved in the Sacraments do not necessitate identical manifestations such as were seen in the unique event of Pentecost, neither from a biblical standpoint, or a logical one.

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