This as no accident. It was not a spur of the moment decision. Jesus didn’t just use it because it just happened to be available. He chose to use the cup of wine for a deliberate purpose. Was is just because grape juice looks like blood and would be a good physical reminder for us? Maybe, but I believe it was fulfillment of specific Old Covenant typology. Let me tell you what I mean.

Wine, or the fruit of the vine, was used in the Old Testament as a symbol of the wrath of God. I quickly want to build a foundation here. Here is how God described it in Isaiah 63:1-6 (NKJV)

1 Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength? —
“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
2 Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
4 For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
5 I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I wondered
That there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;
And My own fury, it sustained Me.
6 I have trodden down the peoples in My anger,
Made them drunk in My fury,
And brought down their strength to the earth.”

In Joel the wine press is once again used to demonstrate wrath and judgment.

Joel 3:13-14 (NKJV)
Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
Come, go down;
For the winepress is full,
The vats overflow—
For their wickedness is great.”
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

Moving ahead to the Book of Revelation, the wine press is again used to illustrate wrath and judgment.

Revelation 14:17-20 (NKJV)
17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” 19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

We now need to reflect on what a wine press is designed to do. Put very simply, a wine press exists to crush grapes, applying enough sustained pressure to extract the juice. Nothing else will work as well. But what does this have to do with Jesus and the Lord’s Supper? Glad you asked. Talking Jesus, the suffering servant, Isaiah recorded this in chapter 53:10

Isaiah 53:10 (ESV)
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Jesus, while praying in the garden, already knew that He was going to suffer the just wrath of God for our sins. He was to be a propitiation for our sins by taking the penalty that those sins deserve. The trauma of this weighed so heavily on him that tiny capillaries were bursting and his sweat was mixing with blood. This was no quiet contemplative prayer. Jesus was calling out with every fiber of His being, “Father, if there is any other way, please take this cup from me!” But there was no other way. The demands of justice had to be met or we all would be eternally lost. So Jesus says, “not my will, but thine be done” and bears our sin in his body as he goes through the wine press of the wrath of God in our place because it was His Father’s will to crush Him.
So when we partake of the juice, a product of crushing, let’s remember that because it pleased the Father to crush his Son, the demands of justice are met, and we are no longer destined for wrath, but for salvation in Christ our Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (ESV)
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

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