Mark 14:1 - 72
ESV - 1 It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him. 2 For they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.
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The body and blood of Jesus are offered (as the catechism of the Lutheran faith in which I was raised puts it) "under" the bread and wine, but those elements are not thereby transformed into Christ's literal body and blood. Jesus Himself (in Luke 22:19), as corroborated by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 11:24-25), said that the Lord's Supper was to be taken as a memorial to Him, not as a re-creation of His original sacrifice of Himself. (The Bible says that Jesus died once for all (Hebrews 7:27, 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18).) The use of ordinary objects such as literal bread and wine in communion mirrors the way in which sanctifying power is vested in ordinary water in the sacrament of baptism, while still retaining all the physical attributes of water.
Mark 14:22-24 22 "And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God." There are at least 3-4 different interpretations of Jesus' words concerning the commencement of Communion, 1) Consubstantiation of the Lutheran Church which I was raised in but left before I was saved: This view states that Christ is present in, with, and under the bread and wine. Ryrie of Dallas Seminary says, "Body and blood of Christ are present and combined with the elements" (The elements are the bread and the wine). Christ penetrates and permeates the bread and wine. The Lutheran view differs from the Catholic view in that the bread and wine don't become Christ's body and blood, but the body and blood are present in addition to the bread and wine. (2) Transubstantiation (Catholic view) Ryrie again states that the 2 elements are changed into body and blood of Christ. In other words, the bread and wine become Christ's actual body and blood. Catholics hold to this teaching of transubstantiation, and that through it, the risen Christ becomes truly present in the Eucharist. (3) Memorial view which is believed by most Baptists and independent churches and which Ryrie calls the "True view". (I'm a Baptist). Communion is chiefly a commemoration of Christ's death on the cross, although Christ is not physically or spiritually present. Wiersbe, too, sees one symbol of "Bread" in the Bible as "The Body of Christ" (Mt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Lk 22:19; Joh 6:51; 1 Co. 10:16-17; 23-24). I.e. The bread and cup are a figurative memorial to Christ's death. This 3rd and last view is what I believe.
The bread and wine are offered, on the first day of the week as a memorial to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ until He returns. The symbols of the bread and cup are used to bring to mind the sacrifice made by our Lord.
It is important to remember that Num 12:5-9 says that everything spoken to a prophet is symbolism (dark sayings, riddles) and that Jesus said of the law of Moses in John 5:46, everything Moses wrote was a prophecy about Jesus and his ministry of redemption. Since all prophecy is symbolism, contrary to what many teach, we must look at all of these things as symbols of some greater reality (Col 2:17), and we must remember that in many cases the symbol is defined by scripture itself, so that is the first place we must look to understand any symbol. The bread is found to have been a symbol of multiple things, which is not uncommon. Jesus said it is his body, so his body (including the church) is all of those things in some way. Dt 8:3 is the first indication of what is symbolized by bread. This juxtaposition of bread and word is very important and is a common way in which God defines a symbol. It is not an accident these things are arranged in the law the way they are. Yet bread is only a small portion of the word of God, it is not EVERY word that proceeds from his mouth. We are later given further symbolism when Satan confronts Jesus in the wilderness and tells him to turn the stones into bread and Jesus quotes Dt 8:3 in his response. The stones are the bread, but what do stones represent? What is written on stone? Law. But law is not defined biblically as we define it. A more complete definition is found in John 10:34. Jesus says to the teachers of the law, "Is it not written in your law?" then quotes Ps 82:6. No one disputed that this is law, as they do today. It was simply accepted. The written word of God is the bread. God wrote a portion of the law on the stone tablets on the mountain, the Israelites wrote it on the Marker stones after they crossed the Jordan, and on one or two other occasions. This establishes the stones as a place to write the law. The stones are further defined in Ez 11:19 and Ez 36:26 where God says he will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. The first laws he writes on our hearts are written in stone and turn it to flesh. The remainder of his law is written on flesh (parchment in Exodus) and teaches us to know God (Jer 31:31-35 -- The New Covenant). We know God because he wrote his law on our hearts and turned them from stone to flesh. Furthermore, we are the stones of the New Covenant Temple (1 Pe 2:4, 5). By eating this bread, and all the other words that proceed from God's mouth (the entire creation is his spoken word (Jn 1:1-5). As we eat the word of God, starting with the bread, our characters are changed and we become more like him, taking our place as a stone in his holy temple, as a part of his body. The blood only has a single symbol that I have been able to find, so is a bit easier to explain. It is obscured by mistranslation of scripture, but once you correct those it is easy to find and see. The nephesh, soul, not spirit, not life, not creature or any of the other things this word is mistranslated as, is in the blood (Gen 9, Lev 17, Dt 12). The soul is in the blood; thus anytime you drink the blood of any person or animal you are consuming its soul and making it a part of you. This is why this symbol was so detestable to the Jews (Jn 6:53-60). No one is allowed to take over another person's being in this way except for this one instance. We are to drink in the soul of Jesus and make it a part of our own being, remaking us in his image and express character. This is only a beginning in this seriously neglected line of study. It seems few Christians since at least the second century has studied these symbols in this way. If they have, which is entirely possible, the church has been unwilling to accept it, first of all, because it no longer accepts the law of Moses as being valid, and secondly, because we find it no easier to accept than Jesus' disciples did.
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