During the last supper, the elements of communion come into view once again. Cleansing and new wine are reiterated as central themes of the passover. When we view the events of the last supper in two of the gospels, we are able to see the implications of Jesus’ demonstration.
“1Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having lovedhis own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s[son], to betray him; 3Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4He risethfrom supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6Thencometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest notnow; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part withme. 9Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head.”
Every successive demonstration of Jesus focused more on the actual meaning and less on the symbols. In this first passage from John, the focus is, again, on the necessity of cleansing as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples before the last supper. This harkened back to the wedding water pots used for cleansing and the cleansing of the temple by Jesus. He explained to the disciples that they couldn’t have part with Him unless they were clean, even resembling the parable of the old wineskins. Once again, there is a great and obvious chasm between what Jesus said and what the disciples understood which highlights the overall importance of communion; as long as it’s broken, communication remains nearly impossible. As we continue, using Matthew’s account of the same story and event, more revelation unfolds.
Matthew 26:17; 26-29 (KJV)
“17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed (poured out) for many for the remission of sins.
In the gospel of Matthew, there are details that compliment the Gospel of John, bringing the purpose of communion into clearer view. It’s not a coincidence that sharing and breaking bread and serving wine is called communion, because that is exactly what Jesus was doing. It was both the literal and spiritual focus of His work.
Jesus used the dinner table, a place to dine with friends and family, as a prophetic sign of our invitation to rejoin the royal family. He was physically sharing a meal, but He was spiritually re-sharing His power. He was reopening our seat at His table in the kingdom. To eat bread and to drink wine is to accept that seat and everything that comes with occupying it.
When Jesus broke the bread, He was symbolically stating that the crucifixion or breaking of His flesh was necessary to reestablish communion or common ground. To take the bread, as the disciples did, meant they were surrendering to the crucifixion of their own flesh in agreement with Jesus. To this day, the symbolic (and sometimes literal) breaking of flesh is an integral part of communion. This is confirmed elsewhere in scripture.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
“12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
There’s much more to the bread of communion than the variety that we eat. The body of Christ was broken, and breaking bread signifies that we are willing to share in His suffering; this creates common ground again. Love is, quite literally, the language of God, and the Lord hears all who communicate using it. Those who refuse to crucify their flesh aren’t even on speaking terms with God.
When Jesus served wine, it was even more special.
“28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The new wine, intentionally served after breaking bread, was a symbol of a new, realized power that is only accessible after the flesh is broken. This wasn’t intended to promote blood consumption just as there was no magical transformation of bread into flesh. God is not a proponent of vampirism or cannibalism. This wine embodied the restoration of power from the Holy Ghost. Sensibly speaking, the literal blood of Jesus doesn’t bring us back into communion with God; the Holy Spirt does. In a natural sense, the DNA contained in our blood connects those who are related. Spiritually speaking, the Holy Spirit signifies those who are the family of God, worthy of attending His family reunion.
“14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
The Word of God, made flesh, was “broken” in the body of Christ. The Old Testament law had served its purpose, and its binding power was now “loosed” so the Holy Spirit could be released from within. Now, notice the specific phrasing of Joel’s prophecy of the Holy Spirit’s arrival:
And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
Notice that God says he will “pour out His Spirit”. It is fascinating that wine is also poured, and so was His blood.
“12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
New wine represents the blood of Jesus shed at the hands of evil men, but it was, most critically, a emblem of the renewal of Resource—the revival of Holy Spirit power.
Finally, let’s consider one additional detail of Matthew 26:28-29
“28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
Verse 29 introduces an interestingly prophetic concept. Jesus says that He will drink of “new wine” again someday, which begs the question, “What exactly is old wine”? If new wine is the uncontaminated blood of Jesus, representing the unadulterated power of the Holy Spirit, could old wine would represent the contamination of new wine and the corruption of power? If it was necessary that Jesus provide new wine for His followers then, when and why will it become necessary for Him to drink new wine again? We must come to terms with the likelihood that at some point in the future, the language of God will, again, be scarcely used. We must consider that the time will come for another fresh move of the Holy Spirit—a move required from the scarcity of new wine.
“ 2And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”