Matthew 2:2-28, The Sacraments as Sacrifice

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. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

//Yesterday I posed a question: What are we to make of the ritual Jesus implemented, with the bread and wine, if we accept that Jesus himself was opposed to the sacrificial system? Jesus in many ways stood against the Temple system of sacrificial atonement, yet his own death quickly came to be understood as exactly that.

Is there another way to understand the verses above, about Jesus’s flesh and blood? Yes there is, even in the pointed wording that Matthew uses. Bruce Chilton proposes that Jesus was directly comparing his own teaching of communal sharing against the priestly rites of sacrifice for sin. The Temple had its burnt offerings of flesh, and Jesus had his offering of shared bread. The Temple had its blood sacrifices, but Jesus’s equivalent was his wine. Jesus was implying that simple offerings, just a bit of bread and wine shared with one another, was more holy than than the costly sacrifices of the Temple system. The ritual of a communal meal, accepting one another as equals, should replace the old ritual.

Perhaps Jesus was presenting himself as the new High Priest, shockingly replacing the existing priesthood. His followers would not call for blood sacrifices but for sharing and fellowship.

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