Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine > Symbolism of Wine > Christ and His Blood


In the Upper Room Jesus identifies Himself as the “true vine” (Jo. 15:1). In the Old Testament Israel is the vine or vineyard of the Lord as was seen above under “The Nation of Israel.” But that vine was an imperfect vine, constantly characterized by disobedience which brought judgment. Instead of bringing forth “good grapes” the nation brought forth “wild grapes” (Isa. 5:2). In contrast, Jesus claims to be the “true vine,” the perfect vine and authentic vine, the vine capable of producing good fruit.

In claiming to be the “true vine” Jesus is saying to the disciples (the “branches”), and thus to all believers, that they are not to look to the nation of Israel but to Him. to be related to Christ is to be part of the new Israel, the spiritual Israel. He is “the true vine”; and only in that Vine is life, abundant and eternal life. Individual fruitfulness, that is, Christ-likeness, comes from abiding in Christ, not in the ethnic nation of Israel. Jesus simply says: “Abide in Me” (Jo. 15:4).

Not only does the vine refer to Christ, but also the fruit of the vine, the wine, refers to His blood. His person is symbolized by the vine; His blood is symbolized by the wine. Both Christology and Soteriology can be found in the viticulture of the nation. In the vine and its wine there is theology to be learned.

Jesus took the “cup” at the last Passover He observed and said: “Drink,” for “this is My blood” (Matt. 26:27-28). The cup was a cup of wine, red wine, the wine that was used at the Passover (see: Final Passover Observance). He also speaks of the cup as the “fruit of the vine” (v. 29), a phrase that was commonly used by the Jews to refer to wine. “The precious blood of Christ” (I Pet. 1:18) is symbolized by wine.

Jesus symbolically speaks of the wine as His blood. It was symbolic, obviously, for Jesus was the One speaking; He was still alive. The blood was still in His body, and in the cup was the wine. Jesus was equating what was in the cup with what He would shortly pour out on the cross. There is, therefore, no support for transubstantiation here.

Would the Savior choose to illustrate His person and His blood by something that is suspicious or questionable? Would He use a grapevine to symbolize His perfect person if the grapevine is not acceptable? Would He use the wine from the grape to symbolize His saving blood if wine is objectionable and deplorable? Would He use something sinful to depict that which is pure? Would He use that which is evil for man to enjoy, as some claim concerning wine, to speak of Himself and His sacrifice? How can the blood of Christ be “precious” but the wine that symbolizes it be abominable?

As wine is squeezed out of the grape in the wine-press,
so the blood of Christ was pressed from him,
when it pleased the Lord to bruise him,
and when he trod the wine-press of divine wrath;
and as wine cheers the heart of man,
so the blood of Christ, applied by the Spirit, speaks peace and pardon to guilty minds,
and puts joy and gladness into broken hearts and wounded spirits.
John Gill

Return to: The Symbolism of Wine; Next Article: God's Salvation 

For overview of the website, see: Site Map
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.