Transubstantiation?

Catholics try to use this passage to say that transubstantiaton occurs when the priest says some specific phrase and turns the bread and wine into Christ’s flesh and blood for us to eat and drink.

John 6:47-57

47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 

But Christ was not speaking literally. He was speaking spiritually, figuratively. He was saying we must have faith in Christ’s work o the cross. By relying on the death of Christ’s body, we would ‘feed’ on Him.  In fact, Jesus said he was speaking spiritually.

John 6:57-68

57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

It makes no sense that Christ would have actually converted wine to blood and bread to flesh, since in both the Old Testament and New Testament, the drinking of blood was forbidden.

In Acts 15:22-29, the Jerusalem Council clearly states: 

 22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul – 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying he had food of which they knew nothing about. They thought he was speaking literally, but in fact, he was speaking spiritually. He spoke of reaping and sowing in a figurative way also. John 4:31-38

 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

He gave his flesh and blood to pay the price of our sins. We are to remember Him and His sacrifice. By saying “this is my body” and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, he is speaking symbolically, urging people to BELIEVE in Him, to remember Him – not to literally eat his flesh and drink his blood. 

Luke 22:14-20

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 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.” 20 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. 

When we get together for the Lord’s Supper, it should be a communal meal, commemorating what Christ has done for us. This is what happened in both John 6 and in 1 Corinthians 11:11-34.

Another post on this topic:  https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/the_lords_supper_eucharist_and_wine_body_and_blood_of_christ_or_analogy/
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One Response

  1. […] See my other posts on this matter for a more detailed explanation of the Eucharist: “Transubstantiation” and “The Lord’s Supper: Eucharist And Wine – Body And Blood Of Christ or […]

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