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Mark 14:22-24, The Eucharist

Victor M. Eskew


            The Catholic Church teaches a doctrine that has been called “The Eucharist.”  It is really a series of doctrines that are associated with the Lord’s Supper.  The term “Eucharist” means “to give thanks.”  It is a form of the Greek word translated “had given thanks” in Mark 14:23.

            It is believed by the Catholics that the bread and fruit of the vine become the literal body and blood of Christ during this part of the Mass.  One of their proof-texts is Mark 14:22-24.  In this passage of Scripture, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper.  When He gave the disciples the bread, He said:  “Take, eat:  This is my body” (Mark 14:22).  When He gave them the cup, He said:  “This is my blood of the new testament…” (Mark 14:24).  The Catholics do not believe Jesus was using figurative language.  They take His words literally.

            Three points need to be made in answer to this doctrine.  First, when Jesus first spoke these words, He was present with the disciples.  Did the apostles really think that the bread and fruit of the vine were the literal body and blood of Christ that day?  We think not!  Second, the words of Jesus are a figure of speech called a metaphor.  A metaphor is a very strong comparison.  In a metaphor, one thing is said to be another.  An example is found in Luke 13:32.  In reference to Herod, Jesus said:  “Go ye, and tell that fox…”  Herod was not a literal fox.  He did possess some of the traits that a fox possesses.  In like manner, the bread and fruit of the vine finely represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Third, if the elements of the Lord’s Supper become the literal body and blood of Christ, then Christians practice a form of cannibalism in their worship services.  If not, why not?  This is a practice that is forbidden to God’s children (Acts 15:20).