This is My Body, This is My Blood;

I’m giving a concrete example of another issue in Communion today.  These words of Christ are indeed important ones.  These words are part of the scriptural support that many from a Roman church background give in support of transubstantiation.  They have a right, and a duty, really, to take these words very seriously; but are we to take them literally?

It’s possible.  But, as always, we must look at other possibilities, such as figures of speech for illustrating purposes.  Figures of speech are used in scripture; metaphors and parables quite regularly.  In trying to explain why Christ used such strong statements; this is My Body, this is My Blood, I’ve always known precisely what I’m trying to get across, the question was what was a good example of this language when used in metaphor.

First, it is important to point out that I do indeed take His words seriously, but I believe context, and the whole context of scripture does not support transubstantiation; I touch on Jesus’ words here in my second part in my posts on transubstantiation.  But do we, as humans and as “teachers” ever employ such strong words in non-literal, analogical language?  The answer is yes we do.

I was pondering over what example would be a clear one, and then it hit me…a blast from my past.  I remembered seeing these commercials on TV quite regularly as a kid.  Note the language that is used, along with the visuals; this is meant to make a lasting impact and give people a visual cue to go off of.

Do we have visual imagery used in conjunction with Jesus’ words; This is My Body, This is My Blood?  Yep.  My last post was on the Matzoh used in this instruction from Jesus.  Matzoh being a visual picture of Christ’s body.  The wine, red wine, is a visual of His blood. When He said these words, He held up the visual symbols.

“This is drugs.”  Is that literally drugs in that pan?  Of course it isn’t; it’s sizzling grease.  “This is your brain…” Is that literally a person’s brain? Nope; it’s an egg.  The point is this shows a perfect example of this style of language, and also shows why it is used.

Humans are very visual creatures, and it is a lot easier for us to remember things when they are “attached” to visual images.  Christ knew this very well, and so, taught His disciples what He wanted done in remembrance of Him, and to show Him forth in a visual, as well as verbal way…as in the commercial, they were not to be taken literally, but figuratively.


Filed under Communion, Theology

3 responses to “This is My Body, This is My Blood;

  1. dwilli58

    We have such a tendency towards ritualism and even idolatry when it comes to God and His leadings. For years, as a child and teenager, I said the Lord’s prayer verbatim, went to mass, confession and received the eucharist every Sunday, and always, in my mind and heart, was the fear of an angry and judgmental God.

    Jesus, said, at the end of his last meal with his disciples, “When you do this, do it in memory of me.” Up to this point, a Hebrew ate this meal in memory of Moses, the passing over of the angel of death and the exodus from captivity. Now Jesus is telling them (I believe, anyway), I am the true and final deliverer, not the former shadow, so remember me when you realize you’ve been set free from death and bondage for good.

    There’s no ritual implied in what Jesus said to them, as you point out. And therefore, we are not under any obligation (legal), to God, to practice a ritual concerning the last supper in any form, including the eucharist. The point, for us, is to recall, in awe, respect, thankfulness and love, what Jesus did for all of us over those next three days. To remember Him when we choose to observe communion, as well as all other times also.

  2. It’s impossible for anyone to ignore the fact that the apostles and the authentic church took Jesus at his literal word, regarding holy communion … and it still does.

    Anyone who shows up 1500 or more years late, ignoring everything that went before, choosing to rely only on their personal impression of the incomplete, sketchy account in the scriptures for what actually went on at that time and in those days, when they have 2000 years of consistent, absolute, historical proof available, is either dishonest, or a fool.

  3. Kliska

    You make several mistakes in reasoning here. The first is this; it is a fact that false teaching cropped up even within the Apostles’ lifetimes, and even amongst those that they directly taught. We have records of the Apostles themselves, by their own hand. We also have historical records by the writers of the gospels that were available to be “checked out” by other eye witnesses, and several of the Apostles as well.

    What those records show is that Jesus was indeed speaking in highly powerful, and meaningful metaphor. Read both my other posts on transubstantiation, which you can find under “communion” in my categories index.

    There is also reason to believe that not all the Roman church’s “fathers” believed in literal transubstantiation. Transubstantiation is an idea, BTW, that is really pulled from philosophical thought, not theological teachings of Jesus or the Apostles, it is even described in philosophical language.

    You also present a false choice; limiting what I can be only to a liar or a fool. Amongst other choices, I can also be right if my teaching lines up with Christ’s and the Apostles’.

    May the Holy Spirit guide us both,
    Grace and Peace,

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