Originally scheduled for April 11
It may come as a surprise to most Christians to
find that wine occupied a more important place in the society of the
time of Christ. There are number of reasons for the change.
In the ancient world, wine was one of
the few things that was safe to drink. There was no chlorination in
the water. You will recall Paul’s advice to Timothy to take a little
wine for the sake of his stomach. They didn’t know about bacteria,
but they knew about dysentery.
Another factor is this: it was
difficult to preserve food at this time — no refrigerators. But wine
kept quite well. It was a way of preserving the value of your grape
harvest throughout the year.
In Jewish society of the time, it
would be associated with Passover. It was thus a part of the ritual
which celebrated the rescue of the Jewish people.
It is not surprising, therefore, that Christ
made use of grapes, wine and vines in his teaching. One particular
instance of this is found in the Gospel of John:
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch
in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that
bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. "You are
already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide
in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in
Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I
in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and
dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they
are burned. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask
whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:1-7 NASB)
Please note that he offered this teaching on
the same night during which he instituted the Lord’s Supper. His
disciples would’ve recognized this illustration, and connected it
with the use of wine in Passover as well. Just as the wine in
Passover was a symbolic representation of God’s mercy, so the wine
in the Lord’s Supper would point their minds back to this passage.
Communion is, in a very real sense, but time to
test whether or not you are abiding in the vine. It is a time for us
to reflect upon the fruits of Christ in our lives. As we partake, we
acknowledge the body and blood of Christ, given for us. The natural
result of this is Christian fruitfulness. So let me ask you:
Are your prayers being answered or
Do you see growth in your life in
such areas as meditation and study?
In communion you acknowledge his sacrifice. In
so doing, you proclaim him as your Lord as well as your Savior. Are
you still connected to the vine? Examine yourself, and then partake.