The Four Cups of Wine

Page No.5

It is traditional during the Passover Seder to drink 4 cups of wine. Why? To answer that, let’s think about the meaning of this ritual. In many cultures, people will share a drink (not necessarily an alcoholic drink) as a form of covenant. A good example of this is a toast. When we attend a wedding, typically the best man will stand up and raise his glass, with all wedding attendees following. He’ll say some good words about the bride and groom, after which, if we are in agreement, we’ll say something like Cheers!, L’Chaim!, Salud!, clink glasses, and then drink. Now, if we didn’t agree with what was said, we’d just put our glass down, and not participate.

During Passover, with each cup of wine or fruit of the vine, we raise our cup, with someone reciting a prayer, after which we say Amen, and then drink. The first cup, for example, is called the cup of sanctification. It signifies setting this night apart as special and holy.

It is noteworthy that Jesus used this ritual at Passover, and added new meaning to it. Recall that Jesus took a cup and said, “Drink from this, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28)

What Jesus did as he instituted “communion” was recognize the covenantal aspect of sharing a drink. Additionally, under the temple sacrifice system, the blood of the sacrificed animal would be “poured out” as a “drink offering.” Therefore, in this one act, Jesus tied some very important symbols together, pointing to Himself as the One who would be sacrificed for us, shedding His blood on our behalf, thus establishing the New Covenant. Drinking from this cup simply recognizes what Messiah has done for us.

Jesus and The Passover
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Jesus and The Passover (CD or VHS)