Articles and Sermons
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“The Cup of Blessing”
This is the second article on the Lord’s Supper and I would like to take time to concentrate on the cup and the contents.
We noticed in Part 1 that Jesus gave spiritual significance to the bread. He also gave spiritual significance to the next part of the Lord’s supper.
(27) And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; (28) for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
Jesus talks about the drink but we are not left wondering what it was they were to drink, Jesus tells us in the next verse (Matthew 26:29). We are told it was “fruit of the vine”: grape juice. This is not to be confused with “wine” which could not have even been in the house during the Passover feast (the Feast of Unleavened Bread). As we have seen in the last article, all leavening was to be removed from the house during the feast. It is interesting to note that what turns fruit of the vine into wine is leaven: therefore wine could not be present.
Jesus tells us that the fruit of the vine in the Lord’s supper represents His blood of the new covenant. Moses used the blood to ratify the old covenant using practically the same words, “the blood of the covenant (Exodus 24:6-8).
(19) For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, (20) saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.”
As Moses used blood to ratify the covenant God made with the children of Israel, so too Jesus used blood to ratify the new covenant: the covenant God has with us. The blood of the New Covenant is Christ’s blood, and that is what we remember when we drink the fruit of the vine.
We also remember that it is Christ’s blood that takes away our sins. We have redemption through Christ’s blood and receive the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7).
I Peter 1:18–19
(18) knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, (19) but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
Jesus gave spiritual significance to a third item on the table. Notice what we read in Luke’s account of the Lord’s supper (see also I Corinthians 11:25)
Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” [emphases mine]
We notice here that Jesus gives significance to the cup: He tells us that it represents the new covenant.
It is important to recognise that the covenant is not Christ’s blood and the blood is not the covenant. So too, the cup is not the fruit of the vine: they are different but connected. The new covenant came into being through the shedding of Christ’s blood; without the blood there would be no covenant. Likewise, the cup and the fruit of the vine are connected, we could not drink out of the cup without the fruit of the vine and we could not drink it if we did not have the cup.
Not only did Jesus teach us about the fruit of the vine, He also taught us about the cup. He uses very similar language when talking about the cup as he did when talking about the bread. Of the bread He said “this is My body" (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, I Corinthians 11:24). Of the cup He says, “this cup is the new covenant” (Luke 22:20, I Corinthians 11:25).
Jesus gave significance to three items on the table the night he instituted the Lord’s supper. When we look at what He said we notice;