Barry Newman's Blog

September 23, 2009

Christ Centred Commion (part VI)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion,The Last Passover Meal — barrynewman @ 4:25 am

Understanding “This is my Body” and “This is my blood”

No Jew at the time of Jesus could have imagined that when Jesus said, “This (the bread) is my body” and “The cup (the wine in the cup) is my blood” that he was claiming that the bread really was his body and that the wine really was his blood.  For the disciples to have envisaged that he was making such a claim would have meant for them, contemplation of the consumption of human flesh and blood, even if the consumption was meant to be mystical.  Earlier in his ministry Jesus had clearly indicated that a reference he made to his flesh needing to be eaten and his blood needing to be drunk (John 6: 53 – 56) was metaphorical, saying, “The spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6: 63).  Jesus not uncommonly used powerful metaphors.  During the Last Passover Meal he referred to his “body given,” before the main meal, and then his “blood shed,” after the main meal. Both references are to his death.  Furthermore, separating blood from body in that way was another means of signifying his death – the body having lost its blood. That the main meal consisted of the slain Passover lamb and that these words of Jesus bracketed the main meal may have been a further way by which Jesus was alluding to his death. Paul even refers to Jesus as the Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5: 7). The giving of the bread to be eaten and the wine to be drunk, having referred to the first as his body and to the second as his blood, was a powerful way of saying that just as they needed food and drink in order to live so they needed his death in order to receive life from God.

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