Mark 14:12-26. The Last Supper and Transubstantiation
At the Last Supper Jesus broke a piece of bread and he drank from a wine cup. He told the disciples these elements he held and ingested were his ‘body’ and ‘blood.’ Yet he was present so he wasn’t saying that he had turned into those elements, or that they were his actual body and blood because his actual body and blood was there present with the others – in person. You can’t have it both ways. He was either actually there or the elements were transformed into his body and blood, but not both.
The difference is that he took the bread “and blessed it,” and took the cup “and gave thanks,” for it – v22-25.
Blessing doesn’t change the substance of a thing, it confers upon a thing a new meaning and value. When the disciples gathered they would no longer eat ‘just’ bread as it would remind them of the self-giving of the saviour. Broken bread was his body and the wine was a confirmation of the covenant between God and Israel – God and man. Jesus used what appears to be, and is, very literal terms but we would be unwise to press the point beyond the point being made – he was the fulfilment of the covenant, his death the means of fulfilment, his resurrection the manner in which God was reconciled to man. Passover was a prefiguring of him. He was God’s final word – literally. His death accomplished what others thought someone’s life would accomplish.
And the ‘Indiana Jones’ like idea of a chalice or crumbs from the table having saving value is to miss the point – the point was, and is, Jesus himself. The bread and wine, which were common enough elements, pointed to a completely uncommon act/person.