The Body and the Blood – Gary W. Summers

Gary W. Summers

Few texts in the New Testament deal with the Lord’s Supper, but all of them agree that the unleavened bread (which was used for the Passover feast and which was therefore used as a model for the Lord’s Supper) represent the Lord’s body.

Some have thought recently to use leavened bread in this memorial observance of His death, but this action defies the symbolism. Jesus Christ is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). Although this refers to Him as the Passover lamb, which was sacrificed, nevertheless, only unleavened bread would be associated with the feast. No authority exists for using anything but unleavened bread to represent the Lord’s body.

Likewise the fruit of the vine represents His blood; that fruit is never referred to in the Scriptures as “wine” (Greek oinos). No one could possibly understand that anything other than unfermented fruit could be used. Thus, the bread and the fruit of the vine are both unfermented—untainted by anything that would alter the nature of those pure substances.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that Jesus blessed (or gave thanks for) the bread (Mat. 26:26; Luke 22:19). Then He broke it and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body” (Mat. 26:26). Luke adds: “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). Paul adds in his account, “which is broken for you” (1 Cor. 11:24). The word broken is not in most ancient texts, but the alternative, “which is for you,” seems a bit awkward. Certainly, the breaking of the bread suggests the broken body, but the only inspired Word used is given (Luke 22:19).

Does the Kings James’ use of broken convey an erroneous idea? No. The Lord’s body as broken, although none of His bones were (John 19:36). His flesh was torn apart by the brutal scourging He received prior to the crucifixion. The flesh upon His head was broken open by the crown of thorns, which was first placed, then beaten into Him. The skin of His hands and feet were broken by the nails that went through them. His body was broken by the spear that pierced His side, from which came forth His saving blood (John 19:34).

In effect, whether the word broken belongs in the text or not, it cannot be disputed that the idea belongs there. Jesus allowed His body to be given (broken) for us and His blood to be shed. How could we do otherwise but honor this sacrifice each Lord’s day?

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Author: Editor

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