Text: John 6:35-58
I. The Lord’s Supper is a weekly memorial to the death of our Savior
A. It was instituted by Jesus - Matthew 26:26-30
B. To be done in memory of Jesus - Luke 22:19
C. A declaration to the world - I Corinthians 11:26
D. A sharing - I Corinthians 10:16
II. The Roman Catholics call their rite the Eucharist, which is from a Latin word for giving thanks.
A. In the conducting of this rite, they claim that the bread and wine are changed in a process called “transubstantiation.”
B. “the Roman Catholic doctrine that the whole substance of the bread and the wine changes into the substance of the body and blood of Christ when consecrated in the Eucharist” [WordNet]
C. Catholics claim that “Transubstantiation reflects Roman Catholic faith in the literalness of the words of the Bible.” [CatholicApologetics.org]
III. Problems with Transubstantiation
A. Matthew 26:26-29
1. The Catholics point out that Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood.”
2. The question is was he saying this literally or as a figure or symbol?
a. Early Christian writers understood that it was symbolic.
b. Tertullian, ca 200 A.D., in Against Marcion, IV.40, said, “Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples he made it his own body by saying, ‘This is my body,’ that is a ‘figure of my body.’ On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body.”
3. Because Christ was present before the disciples, whole, while making this statement, the obvious understanding is that he meant this figurative.
a. Roman Catholics dismiss this claiming a miracle took place
b. Yet, unlike all the other miracles of the Bible, this one supposedly took place unannounced, unseen, and unnoticed by those present.
c. This is not what miracles were for - Hebrews 2:4
4. If there is no figurative language, then how did the disciples drink the cup? - Matthew 26:27
5. After saying that the cup was his blood, Jesus then calls it the fruit of the vine - Matthew 26:29.
a. Are we to say that it changed back?
b. No, we acknowledge that Jesus was speaking figuratively that the fruit of the vine represented his shed blood.
6. Similar wording is found in Galatians 4:22-25
a. Hagar wasn’t a mountain.
b. It is called a metaphor: “A short similitude; a similitude reduced to a single word.”
c. Luke 13:32 - Calling Herod a fox is a metaphor.
B. I Corinthians 10:16-18
1. The cup and the bread are communions with the blood and body of Christ.
2. Paul tells us they are representative.
3. Notice verse 17. It says the church is the bread and the body. So when the church partakes of the Lord’s Supper, are we eating ourselves?
4. If that wasn’t clear enough, look at verse 18. Did Israel eat the altar?
a. The answer should be clearly “no, not physically”
b. So does the Christian eat the Lord’s body? The answer is the same: “no, not physically.”
C. John 6:50-55
1. The Jews took offense to Jesus statement because they took it literally.
a. The Catholics state that Jesus reinforced the statement, and, thus they claim, meant to insist it be taken as literal
2. The disciples had a hard time understanding Jesus’ statement - John 6:60
a. Jesus asked if the idea he presented offended them, what would they do when he ascended? - John 6:61-62
b. In other words, if they insisted on taking Jesus’ statement literally and thus were offended by it, what were they going to do when Jesus ascended and Jesus’ body and blood would no longer be available to them?
3. To put things back into perspective - John 6:63
a. Things of this world, such as a body have no profit. It is spiritual things, the things of God which give life.
b. Jesus then said that his words give life because they are of God!
4. Go back to John 6:54
a. Jesus said whoever partakes of his flesh and blood has eternal life.
b. The words of Jesus are the same as his flesh and blood. These statements are not to be taken literally.
5. In context
a. John 6:32-33 - Jesus is the bread of life sent from God.
b. John 6:35 - Jesus is the bread of life and the person who comes to him never hungers and the person who believes in him never thirsts
c. John 6:37-40 - The explanation - sees and believes in Jesus will have eternal life
d. How do people come to Jesus? - John 6:45-48
(1) By being taught by God and believing in Jesus gives eternal life
(2) Thus Jesus is the bread of life
6. Similar statements
a. John 4:33-34 - To Jesus true food was doing God’s will
b. John 7:37-38 - True drink is to believe in Jesus
7. Jesus was speaking metaphorically, not about the Lord’s Supper but about the need to obey God’s will, which he was delivering, and believing on the one God sent, which was himself.
a. It is similar to other statements of Jesus
b. I am the light of the world - John 8:12, but Jesus wasn’t literally a lamp
c. I am the true vine - John 15:5, but Jesus wasn’t a plant
d. I am the door - John 10:9
8. The conversation started because Jesus said, - John 6:27
a. Jesus states that true food is what Jesus gives them from the Father (the Father’s teaching)
b. When the Jews insisted on taking him literally, Jesus explained - John 6:28-29
c. To labor for the food of God (the Father’s teaching), one must believe on Jesus.
IV. The doctrine of transubstantiation is not found in the Bible
A. It was created by men who applied literal meaning to some of Jesus’ figurative statements, but they did not do so consistently.
1. The Roman Catholics do understand the use of figurative speech because they do refer to it in other passages.
B. But there is one point that should settle the matter.
1. The Roman Catholic claim is that they are drinking the blood of Christ
2. Yet in God’s covenant with mankind - Genesis 9:4
3. It remained true in Israel - Deuteronomy 12:23
a. Which is why the Jews found Jesus’ statements in John 6 difficult and offense when they tried to take it literally
4. It remains true in Christ - Acts 15:29
5. The consumption of blood has always been forbidden
6. But the Catholics claim to do what God has forbade
V. II Peter 3:14-18
A. What we find is a doctrine being taught by men who distort what the Bible says.
B. Historically it began being talked about first in the mid-300's.
1. "Having learn these things, and been fully assured that the seeming bread is not bread, though sensible to taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the seeming wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, And bread strengtheneth man's heart, to make his face to shine with oil, 'strengthen thou thine heart,' by partaking thereof as spiritual, and "make the face of thy soul to shine." [Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, XXII:8 (c.A.D. 350)]
C. But it wasn’t popularized until near the 1100's and then made law at the council of Trent.
1. "The term transubstantiation seems to have been first used by Hildebert of Tours (about 1079). His encouraging example was soon followed by other theologians, as Stephen of Autun (d. 1139), Gaufred (1188), and Peter of Blois (d. about 1200), whereupon several ecumenical councils also adopted this significant expression, as the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215), and the Council of Lyons (1274), in the profession of faith of the Greek Emperor Michael Palæologus. The Council of Trent (Sess. XIII, cap. iv; can. ii) not only accepted as an inheritance of faith the truth contained in the idea, but authoritatively confirmed the "aptitude of the term" to express most strikingly the legitimately developed doctrinal concept." [Catholic Encyclopedia]
D. Yet it never was from God.
E. We must always be on guard against false doctrine lest is sweep us away from the truth.