December 18, 2005

Becoming Bread, Shedding Wine

Category: Theology - Liturgical :: Permalink

In 1 Corinthians 10:17, Paul says, “We, though many, are one bread, one body, because we all partake of that one bread.” The bread that we partake of is the body of Christ, and so we are one body. We become what we eat: one loaf of bread.

What about the wine? Jesus says that the cup “is my blood of the covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20). The wine is blood which is shed. Wine has other significance as well, but because it is shed blood it has to do with Jesus’ suffering and death and therefore also with our suffering and death. As James Jordan says,

As the book of Revelation shows us, we overcome by being ready to suffer for Jesus’ sake. His blood enables us to be suffering kings, for he would be great in the Kingdom must be least of all” (From Bread to Wine, p. 17).

Thus when we eat the one bread, we become one bread, one body. But when we drink the wine, we are united to Christ as the suffering king, the one who sheds His blood for many, and so we also become kings who share in Christ’s sufferings, who shed our blood for others, and so win the victory with Christ.

Perhaps that’s why Paul speaks of his suffering (Phil. 2:17) and death (2 Tim. 4:6) as a libation, a pouring out of wine as an offering to God. His suffering and death for the sake of the church were part of His fellowship in Christ’s sufferings (Phil. 3:10) and a conformity to Christ’s life as part of the one loaf, the one body of Christ. What kind of body is that? A body which sheds blood as wine for others.

Posted by John Barach @ 6:14 pm | Discuss (0)

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