Scriptures

Bless The Bread And The Wine!

Introduction

So here we are, gathered together on the Lord’s Day as a church to remember the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection at ‘The Lord’s Supper’. The presiding brother says a few words and shares a few thoughts to help us focus on Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and then the prayers come.

The prayer for the bread usually goes something like this, ‘Dear God, as we’re about to partake of this bread, which represents your Son’s body, please bless it to us as we partake of it.’

Then follows the prayer for the wine, which usually goes something like this, ‘Dear God, as we’re about to partake of this wine, which represents your Son’s blood, please bless it to us as we partake of it.’

If you’ve been attending worship for a few years and participating in the Lord’s Supper, the chances are you’ve probably heard these prayers or something similar many times in your Christian life. Maybe you’ve prayed something similar yourself, if you were presiding over the Supper.

I’m sure you’ll notice the link between asking God to ‘bless the food’ before eating the food and asking God to bless ‘the bread and the wine’ before partaking of it. The Catholic church believe the Eucharist, the bread and the wine, actually becomes the body and blood of Christ, this is called ‘Transubstantiation’.

Now, I know most Christians don’t believe that teaching, but we ask the question, why would anyone want God to bless the bread and the wine? Is there something wrong with the bread and the wine? Do they really believe that something miraculous is going to happen when they ask God to bless them both?

The Lord’s Supper

Notice what Jesus actually did when He instituted His Supper and notice especially, He never once blessed the actual bread and wine.

‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had GIVEN THANKS, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had GIVEN THANKS, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.’ Matthew 26:26-27

‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had GIVEN THANKS, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had GIVEN THANKS, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.’ Mark 14:22

‘And he took bread, GAVE THANKS and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ IN THE SAME WAY, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ Luke 22:19-20

‘When he was at the table with them, he took bread, GAVE THANKS, broke it and began to give it to them’. Luke 24:30

‘For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had GIVEN THANKS, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ IN THE SAME WAY, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 1 Corinthians 11:23-25

Like I mentioned earlier, you will notice what Jesus actually did, He ‘Gave Thanks’, for the bread and wine, He never blessed the actual bread and wine.

Who did He give thanks to?

Obviously, it was the Father, for providing the bread and the wine. He gave thanks to the Father or blessed the father, the word ‘bless’ is another way of expressing thanks to God.

The Jews, even to this day still declare with the entrance of the Sabbath on Friday evenings as members sip wine from a cup, ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, Our God, King of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine.’

Another blessing as members break bread is, ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, Our God, King of the Universe who brings forth bread from the earth.’

Notice again, that in these ‘blessings’, God the Creator is being thanked for giving food, not the bread and wine. These would probably have been similar to the prayers that Jesus would have uttered during His ‘Last Passover Supper.’

‘After taking the cup, he GAVE THANKS and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Luke 22:17-18

What About Matthew 26:26?

‘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.’ KJV

When we read the King James Version, at first glance it reads like Jesus ‘blessed it’ i.e. ‘blessed the bread’, however when you read a Greek lexicon, you’ll discover that the word ‘IT’ isn’t in the original text. It reads as follows, ‘(as) they were eating moreover of them, having taken Jesus bread and having blessed, broke and having given to the disciples, he said eat: this is the body of me.’ Matthew 26:26

The word ‘IT’ is kind of misleading in the KJV and so we always have to remember that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, if any text appears to say the opposite of all the other related texts, it’s usually because the translators haven’t done a good job of translating it.

Conclusion

When Christians pray, I believe its good practice to think about what we’re actually saying in our prayers, especially when it comes to giving thanks to God for providing the bread and the wine at the Supper.

Our children and any visitors often learn how to pray by listening to others and all too often they will simply repeat what they’ve have heard time and time again, until they are mature enough to share their own thoughts.

Here we are gathered together on the Lord’s Day to participate in the Lord’s Supper, someone asked you to bless the bread and the wine, why not simply say, ‘the bread and the wine is already a blessing from God, and so, if you don’t mind, I’ll give thanks to Him for providing them.’

‘So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."

Ephesians 3:20

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