Summary: What’s in a glass of wine? What’s in a tiny glass of wine? Forgiveness, rightness, closeness, conscience-cleansing, redemption, cleansing- that’s what. It’s not so little, is it? The amount of beverage might be little, but it carries big meaning!
Meaning of the Wine
April 5, 2003
Each time we come to church and participate in the Lord’s Supper, the second symbol we use is wine. Now that’s a potentially controversial symbol today, in some circles, but was a very ordinary matter of meals in Jesus’ day, and still is in many cultures. Just like bread, it’s nothing ‘out of the ordinary’ overall. It’s a common beverage that goes along with meals. In many cultures, in fact, bread and wine, maybe with a bit of cheese added, is just a normal, basic, low-cost, even peasant-level meal. But, these normal parts of diet are what Jesus invested with incredible meaning when he began a new ceremony on the night before his death.
Paul tells us what Jesus did and said, in writing to the Corinthian church.
1 Cor.11.23, 24, 25- Jesus made a declaration about what was shown each time someone participated and took of the wine. You can search the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation, and you’ll find no idea of limitation on the number of times this ceremony can be performed in a year. Without question, in the OT, the Passover was an annual ceremony, on a particular calendar date. However, Jesus never tied the Lord’s Supper to a particular date, day, or frequency. The expression ‘as often as you drink it’ means just that. It carries the sense of ‘whenever you do it’ and the idea that can occur frequently. So, frequently- monthly, weekly, daily- Christians proclaim the New Testament that exists in Jesus’ blood.
v. 26- to whom do you show the Lord’s death, when you take the cup? Obviously, it’s not to God. It’s to people. The verb ‘proclaim’ occurs 17 times and always concerns the proclamation of the gospel before men. The action that does it is eating and drinking, not offering, and is only to be used ‘until he comes’. Then He will drink with us in person at the marriage feast!
What do we show in drinking the cup? What are some of the ideas that need to be in our heads when we take the cup, each time, and what become some of the sources for great thankfulness, then, each time?
1. Ro.3.23-25- ‘all’ includes you and me. God- do you get that? GOD set Jesus to be a propitiation for us. He’s the one who ‘makes amends’ for us. He’s the compensation that was needed. He’s the atonement that was needed. He’s the one that brings reconciliation and forgiveness. He’s the one through whom we have ‘remission of sins that are past’. That means exoneration, forgiveness, and pardon. I’ve just noticed something about this, too. ‘Sins that are past’ is not limited just to that time when we repented before we were baptized or when we accepted Jesus as our Saviour. Each day, even, when we repent that propitiation and that remission is there again. Again, and again, and again, that blood of Jesus has impact in my life. Each day, it is effective. Every day, it is effective. That gives me new appreciation for the blood that Jesus poured out!
2. Ro.5.9- we are justified by his blood and will be saved from wrath through him. To be justified means that we are made proper, fitting, appropriate before God by the blood of Jesus. Imagine being made fitting to be before God. Remember that in the old dispensation, it was only the High Priest who was able to be before God, and only annually on the day of Atonement. So, for you and I to be proper, fitting, and appropriate to be before God daily is a great thing! This is something to appreciate when we take the cup.
3. Eph.2.13- Those who were far away are made near by the blood of Christ. Imagine a world where only a small number of people could be God’s people. Imagine a world where, say, 6 million people were God’s people and everyone else was held far away? This is similar to what happened until Jesus. The world, at large, was held away from God, and even among those who were the special, only one was really able to have access. But, now, everyone can come to God. There’s one door, of course, and that is Jesus. We must get past all this ‘fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man’ stuff that people spout and be honest with God’s scriptures. In a creation sense, all are God’s children and we are brothers and sisters, but that doesn’t get us together for eternity. That comes through Jesus and only through Jesus! V. 14 goes on to declare how he has broken down the brick wall that kept us apart- he broke down the Berlin Wall that kept nations apart, even. The blood of Jesus is incredible.