Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Bread and the Wine

By Hayley Boud

Why Bread and why wine?

When preparing for communion, I asked myself…”why did God choose bread and wine as the symbols for us to remember Him by? Why not potatoes, or water?” So I took some time to reflect on what is bread and what is wine to find the answer.

What is bread?

Bread comes from a grain which contains all the elements of life. If you were to plant the grain into soil, it would produce life. This is the same as Jesus, He contains all the elements of life and when we are planted in Him, we have eternal life.

In order for the grain to be turned into bread, the grain has to be processed. It has to be separated from the chaff by some sort of pressure. In the time of Jesus, this was done by using the hoofs of heavy animals. The animals would trample on the grain and crush it in order to remove the outer husk. After that more pressure was applied to turn the grain into a fine powder (flour) by passing it through heavy rollers. The grain is completely broken. After that the flour is turned into a dough and placed into an oven of extreme heat. We then eat it and it gives life and joy to our bodies.

Bread is a picture of pressure, crushing, heat, suffering and agony – it is the picture of the torment that Jesus Christ went through for us. He was whipped, He had His beard ripped out, He wore a crown made out of thorns that made His head bleed, He had to carry the heavy cross and then He was nailed to the cross and He was spat on, humiliated and then He died. For us. He was completely crushed but the Word of God said that He endured the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. He accepted that pressure, that suffering, that agony because He knew one day He would see us taking the bread and wine and remembering Him. He had joy knowing that that His suffering would produce life in us.

It is the same for the wine. In order to produce wine, the grape has to be ripped from the vine and crushed by people trampling on it until the juice is squeezed out of the fruit. We can remember that wine represents blood and Jesus was so agonized about what He would face on the cross that the Bible says He sweated drops of blood. He was squeezed to the point that blood (the juice of life) flowed from His pores. Just as the grape is ripped from the vine, Jesus was ripped from His Father and during that time He took our sin on Himself, He was completely separated from the Father.

“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.”

Isaiah 53:3-7

So now we can take the bread and wine and remember the pressure that Jesus went through and thank Him because we now have the joy of eternal life in Him. The bread and wine is a reminder that through the suffering of Christ we can have eternal life and eternal joy.

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