72 pages 2 hours read

Anonymous

Bible (New Testament): English Standard Version

Nonfiction | Scripture | Adult | Published in 1611

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Symbols & Motifs

Bread and Wine

Bread and wine are frequently used as symbols in the New Testament, at times separately but often together, especially in reference to the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples. In its more general application, bread symbolizes the nourishment necessary to sustain human life, and it is in this symbolic context that Jesus proclaims, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Wine, for its part, can symbolize a broad range of ideas, from joy to judgment.

When bread and wine occur together, as in the accounts of the Last Supper, they represent the elements of a sacrificial offering: bread for the flesh of the sacrifice’s body, and wine for the blood. Jesus himself makes these meanings clear in his words from the Last Supper: “This is my body” in reference to the bread, and “This is my blood of the covenant” for the wine (Mark 14:22-24). These elements, and the meanings behind them, form the foundation for the ritual of communion (also called Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper), one of the central rites of Christian worship.

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