Sunday, April 30, 2006

Questions for Roman Catholics on “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”

Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ ” (Matthew 26:26, NKJV)

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ ” (Luke 22:19, NKJV)


When Jesus took the bread and said, “This is my body”- was the body of the Lord in two different places, or was it an extension of himself since he was holding himself?

If you were one of the disciples, would you have understood that Christ was holding the substance of his body, while the accidens gave the appearance of bread?

When Jesus gave the disciples the bread to eat, would they have understood it was his body, even though it tasted exactly like bread? Would it be more probable to think that the disciples probably did not take Jesus’ words literally?

Does Christ offer himself in the Lord’s Supper before he is offered on the cross?

In Luke 22 Jesus says, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” At that moment, is the “cup” also the body/blood of Christ, or is it a figure of symbolic language?

If no, on what basis does one decide that the word “cup” is a metaphor or a symbol, while the wine literally becomes blood? In other words, what interpretive principle decides which is literal and which figurative?

Mark 14:23-24 states that Jesus said the cup was His blood, and they all drank from it. Did Jesus also drink what was actually his own blood? This verse indicates the blood is shed for many- why then would Jesus drink his own blood? Matthew 26:28 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Why would Jesus drink this cup, since he was sinless?

After giving the cup, in Matthew 26:29 Jesus calls the contents of the cup “this fruit of the vine”. Calvin notes, this “plainly show[s] that what he delivered to the disciples to drink was wine; so that in every way the ignorance of the Papists is fully exposed. Well- is it?

9 comments:

Gavin said...

I'm interested to see what responses you get to these. They're good challenges, I've used some of them before. My prediction: the Romanists ignore the post and go about smugly pretending they take scripture "more literally" than us.

James Swan said...

If you have a CARM account, you can view some of the answers:

http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/showthread.php?t=9122

I didn't post all the questions- but the Catholic answers are all over the place- one woman gave me a philsophical explanation based on DNA research, another said it wasn't the actual body and blood, but a presence. Some inferred I don't grant God the ability to perform miracles.

centuri0n said...

James --

I have an interesting story about Roman Catholicism I'd like to share with you via e-mail. Do I have your e-maill addy?

Gavin said...

I have a post on a somewhat similar topic, although not in as much depth, on my own blog I recently started, if you have time to glance at it.

James Swan said...

Gavin-

please post the link to your blog.

Blessings-
James

FM483 said...

James,

Most people consider that there are 2 basic ways of viewing the verses being discussed: the view of Roman Catholicism, or the Evangelical Protestants. There is a thirs view often overlooked - Lutheranism. Both the Roman Catholic and Evangelical views are attempts by man to logically understand the Scriptures regarding the bread and wine. The Roman Catholics attempt to utilize Aristotelian philosophy and hence the concept of "Transubstantiation" is generated. The Evangelicals, on the other hand, believe that when Christ said "This is My Body" he really meant "This is NOT My Body". The Lutheran position is to believe the plain text of Scripture: if Christ said the bread IS His Body, then somehow it is. Similarly with the wine. The bread remains bread and the wine wine, but somehow the Real Presence of both the body and blood of Christ is also present. It is amazing how believers can believe in all the miraculous ways that God physically appeared to man in the Old Testament, such as to Moses in the burning bush. And yet these same believers refuse to believe that that same God can be present in with and under simple bread and wine! What is also puzzling is how can believers who deny the Real Presence of the Body and Blood in the Lord's Supper not also logically deny the Incarnation of God within the physical womb of the virgin Mary?

Frank Marron

Anonymous said...

James,

I dont know if you'll ever get around to reading this, but I just wanted to give my humble opinion in this matter.
my view of Christ's Sacrfice is that He paid the penalty for us, but that we need to become one with Him to apprpriate the payment.
In the OT God said He would not acquit the guilty.
Thus the penalty must be paid, but cannot rightly be imputed to us without our actually being the one who pays the penalty.
Thus we must become one with Christ, because only He can pay this penalty.
That is why God's imputation of righteousness can only really be "pre-Christ", looking forward to the actual future incorporation into Christ, which thus becomes infused righteousness for us, as Catholics believe.

peace
Steve Noble

James Swan said...

Hi Steve,

I read all the comments- thanks for stopping by and commenting.

After taking a look at your comments, I would be interested in hearing you expound on Romans 5 and how it supports what you wrote.

Gary said...

One of your questions is, “If you were one of the disciples, would you have understood that Christ was holding the substance of his body, while the accidens gave the appearance of bread?”

You also asked, “When Jesus gave the disciples the bread to eat, would they have understood it was his body, even though it tasted exactly like bread? Would it be more probable to think that the disciples probably did not take Jesus’ words literally?”

Up until; the 16th century virtually all Christians believed that the bread and wine truly becomes the body and blood of Christ. That’s a long time. The largest and oldest Christian Church still does—as do the Orthodox churches. So there has to be something credible about it.

For the Jews, consuming blood was an abomination. Scripture tells us that many of the disciples of Jesus could not accept this and from that point on did not follow him (Jn 6:66), but not all of them. “Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God’” (Jn 6:67-69). These disciples did accept what he said—not because they understood, but because they believed in him.

If Jesus were merely speaking symbolically, he could easily have called the other disciples back and explained that he wasn’t speaking literally.

My question to you is, “Why didn’t he do that?”