Faith Forum: Why did bread and wine represent Jesus’ body and blood?

Significance of meal not limited to bread, wine

Beau Abernathy, pastor, CrossPointe Church, 1942 Mass.:

On the night Jesus was betrayed, he celebrated a traditional Passover meal with his followers. Three elements had to be present in order for the Passover to be shared: a lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:1-14).

Soon after they gathered for the meal, Jesus poured the first of four cups of wine. The four cups of wine served at the Passover meal represented the four expressions – or “I wills” – of God’s promised deliverance in Exodus 6:6-7.

Jesus asked everyone to rise from the table with the first cup. He then lifted his cup toward heaven and recited the Kiddush, or prayer of sanctification. Then they would have observed a ceremonial washing, and broke the unleavened bread. Jesus gave the bread new meaning by declaring, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” These practices were immediately followed by a literal enactment of Exodus 12:26-27.

At this point in the meal, Jesus poured the second cup of wine and narrated the story of Israel’s exodus in response to questions.

The third cup, taken after the meal was eaten, is represented by the third “I will” statement of God recorded in Exodus 6:6-7. This is the cup of redemption, which is also the symbolic cup to which Jesus referred as representing his blood shed for us. Jesus’ fulfillment of being the cup of redemption signaled the release of the new covenant written in blood. We know Jesus did not literally drink this cup because of Luke 22:18, but he became the cup and poured out his life for the redemption of man. “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7).

– Send e-mail to Beau Abernathy at

History, tradition are central to communion

The Rev. Marshall Lackrone, pastor, Calvary Temple Assembly of God, 606 W. 29th St. Terrace:

“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, ‘Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me (1 Cor. 11:24).'”

Both the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Peter tell us of Jesus’ body being given stripes for our healing. When Jesus is quoted by Mark and Paul in the New Testament, it is made clear that Christ was celebrating the Jewish feast of Passover, in which the Christian church in the New Testament used unleavened bread as their fathers had done for centuries in celebrating Passover. Paul goes on to tell us that the bread is broken for us just as Christ broke the bread and gave it to his apostles on that fateful night he was arrested.

The blood was also given as explanation by Paul quoting Christ in 1 Corinthians 11:25. He also took the cup when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Probably more important than the “why the body and blood” is the warning about taking the elements “unworthily.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:29: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

This is more clearly seen in the Amplified Bible, as it reads: “For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that (it is Christ’s) body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself. No place else in the Bible do we have such a warning.”

– Send e-mail to Marshall Lackrone at