Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 8 February 2016

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14, verses 22-25.

I enjoy wine. I’ve talked here before about how it’s a dream (indeed, an active plan) of mine to make my living as a vintner. I like wine and I love everything about the production and sale of it.   Planting grapes, growing and harvesting them, pressing the juice, making and aging the wine, then selling it to interested customers: I love it all. My wife and I are more red wine drinkers.   We like a few whites, and we like (and want to produce) some fruit wines, but red viniferous wines are what we like best; merlot, temperanillo, cabernet franc, etc.   Do you enjoy wine, and if so what do you like most?

One of the things I like most about wine is contemplating all the “w’s” surrounding its production.   What was the soil like, and the weather?   Who cut the grapes and transformed them from fruit into juice into must? What did they talk about; what was going on in their lives? Where was it aged and when was it bottled?   Who had a hand in getting it from the vine to my glass?   You could question forever all the possibilities of this.

Jesus used wine in the Last Supper to give us the communion in His blood that strengthens and preserves believers today.   It’s no coincidence that He did this. Indeed, during their seder, Jesus used the third cup of wine they drank (known even then as “the cup of redemption”) to bless and institute communion. The unleavened bread they ate signified leaving the sin of slavery in haste, of how there had been no time to let bread rise before being driven out of Egypt.   Yet the wine was different.   Red wine looked like blood; it was a physical reminder of that blood of the Passover lamb who was slain to give that blood on each Israelite’s doorway. God used that blood to redeem them from their bondage. Later, God demanded blood be sacrificed and sprinkled on the altar of the Temple in atonement for sin. He did it in terms of remembering His promise – His covenant – with Adam, Noah, and Abraham to deliver men from their sins.

How beautiful it is, too, that Jesus would use this cup of redemption to remind us that we wouldn’t need to shed any more blood in sacrifice.   He took that burden on Himself so that we wouldn’t have to.   And to do it He used wine. Do we know whether it was wine or more like strong grape juice?   No, we really don’t.   The Bible says it was wine and I’m sure folks smarter than me (that includes most everyone) could tell you about any difference between first century wine and a bottle of Welch’s finest.   Personally, I don’t think it matters much.

Especially since I enjoy wine.   There are times when I’m enjoying a glass that I contemplate the wonder of Jesus and communion.   That means more than a bunch of pointless arguing.

Lord, thank You for the blessing of wine and using it to give us the new covenant in Your blood.

Read Mark 14, verses 12-26.

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