The Lord’s Supper as a sacrament was taught to Christ’s disciples on the night He was betrayed. The Gospel of Matthew chapter 26 records that Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
Did the disciples actually eat Christ’s flesh and blood? The answer should be obviously “no!” The text says that Jesus took some bread and broke it, and he took the cup with its contents and gave it to them to drink from it. Clearly, Jesus used the bread and the wine to symbolize the death of his body and the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins.
Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic fathers have added their own concepts to the truth, much like the Pharisees did in their day, making the truth an untruth. The Council of Trent said “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner…”
To teach that the elements of the Eucharist actually become the real body of Christ is contrary to Scripture and was refuted even before it became a common practice among Roman Catholics. The author of the book of Hebrews in chapter 9, while discussing the ways in which Christ’s sacrifice is superior to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, says His one perfect sacrifice was sufficient to redeem mankind for all ages.
If His sacrifice was not complete, it would have to be offered time and time again, just as the Roman Catholics do it in the Mass. But Scripture says the sacrifice was complete:
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Here is the error: Christ does not offer His body and shed His blood every time a Roman Catholic priest conducts the Eucharist service because His sacrifice was complete, perfect and final. If you argue that the Mass is “unbloody” then you must also acknowledge that the Mass is useless for the forgiveness of sins since the Scripture clearly says “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
When the apostle Paul teaches the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, he repeats Jesus’ words showing that by the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup we are to remember what the Lord has done, and we are to proclaim it until He comes. The bread and cup are symbols of remembrance, and do not cause Christ to have to offer His body again and again for the forgiveness of sins. Any other interpretation of Paul’s words degrades the value of Christ’s sacrifice which was offered for once and for all.
I am well aware that many Roman Catholics value the words of the early Roman Catholic Church fathers as weightier than the Scriptures, but those who do so, do so at their own peril. The Scriptures were given as a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and need no additions or reinterpretation by people.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).