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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter XL.--How the Steps in the Passion of the Saviour Were Predetermined in Prophecy The Passover. The Treachery of Judas. The Institution of the Lord's Supper. The Docetic Error of Marcion Confuted by the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian

Chapter XL.--How the Steps in the Passion of the Saviour Were Predetermined in Prophecy The Passover. The Treachery of Judas. The Institution of the Lord's Supper. The Docetic Error of Marcion Confuted by the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In like manner does He also know the very time it behoved Him to suffer, since the law prefigures His passion. Accordingly, of all the festal days of the Jews He chose the passover. In this Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery: |It is the Lord's passover.| How earnestly, therefore, does He manifest the bent of His soul: |With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.| What a destroyer of the law was this, who actually longed to keep its passover! Could it be that He was so fond of Jewish lamb? But was it not because He had to be |led like a lamb to the slaughter; and because, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so was He not to open His mouth,| that He so profoundly wished to accomplish the symbol of His own redeeming blood? He might also have been betrayed by any stranger, did I not find that even here too He fulfilled a Psalm: |He who did eat bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.| And without a price might He have been betrayed. For what need of a traitor was there in the case of one who offered Himself to the people openly, and might quite as easily have been captured by force as taken by treachery? This might no doubt have been well enough for another Christ, but would not have been suitable in One who was accomplishing prophecies. For it was written, |The righteous one did they sell for silver.| The very amount and the destination of the money, which on Judas' remorse was recalled from its first purpose of a fee, and appropriated to the purchase of a potter's field, as narrated in the Gospel of Matthew, were clearly foretold by Jeremiah: |And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him who was valued and gave them for the potter's field.| When He so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the passover, He considered it His own feast; for it would have been unworthy of God to desire to partake of what was not His own. Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, |This is my body,| that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body. An empty thing, or phantom, is incapable of a figure. If, however, (as Marcion might say,) He pretended the bread was His body, because He lacked the truth of bodily substance, it follows that He must have given bread for us. It would contribute very well to the support of Marcion's theory of a phantom body, that bread should have been crucified! But why call His body bread, and not rather (some other edible thing, say) a melon, which Marcion must have had in lieu of a heart! He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: |I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,| which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies, He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed |in His blood,| affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood. In order, however, that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah, who asks, |Who is this that cometh from Edom, from Bosor with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of his might? Why are thy garments red, and thy raiment as his who cometh from the treading of the full winepress?| The prophetic Spirit contemplates the Lord as if He were already on His way to His passion, clad in His fleshly nature; and as He was to suffer therein, He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red, as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the wine-press, from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice, like men stained in blood. Much more clearly still does the book of Genesis foretell this, when (in the blessing of Judah, out of whose tribe Christ was to come according to the flesh) it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch, saying, |He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes| -- in His garments and clothes the prophecy pointed out his flesh, and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine, who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.
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