The Loaf, the Cup, and the Cloak

Christ is uses food (usually in the form of bread, specifically, a loaf of bread) as symbolic of our human body and its needs. Bread is the symbol of the body with its needs. Eating the bread is symbolic of physical pleasure and survival. Pleasure is not separate from survival but part of it. Food symbolizes the whole feast, the celebration of the wedding.

It’s philosophical opposite is stone. A stone is physical, but it gives no life. It is not the physicality of the bread that makes it life-giving, it is the information in it that comes from God. We do not live by bread alone, but by the word of God that is in the bread The first temptation was the temptation to turn stones into bread (Mat 4:3). The first thing we ask God for is bread to sustain our lives (Mat 6:11). If we ask our father for bread, he will not give us a stone (Mat 7:9). Christ fed the multitude by duplicating bread. The kingdom of heaven or the universal rule is the yeast that mixes through the bread, through everything that is physical to change it, to fill it up (Mat 16:11). When Christ said of the bread at the last supper, “This is my body,” he was explaining the metaphor and giving us a way to celebrate God’s goodness to us (Mat 26:26).

The Cup

The cup (or wineskin (Mat 9:17) as a similar container of liquids) is symbolic of the mind which holds knowledge as a cup or wineskin holds drink. Drinking from the cup is symbolic of making a commitment, choosing a path (Mat 20:22).

It is not what is outside the cup that mattes, but what is inside (Mat 23:25). While we think of tasting as a test (as the water that was converted to wine at Cana was tested), Christ reverses that: what we choose to drink tests us because it is symbolic of a commitment. Think of how we toast the bride and groom at a wedding as a symbol of their commitment.

As the cup is a vessel for the wine, so is our minds the vessels of knowledge but our knowledge is not a passive thing. In Christ’s cycle, the mental leads to the physical, knowledge leads to action. Therefore, the cup we choose to drink from is a commitment to a certain action. In this verse, Christ reminds those who challenge him of what they should know or have read, because that knowledge justifies his action. When Christ asks that this cup should be passed from him (Mat 26:39), was it the commitment or the knowledge that he was talking about?

Even though Christ brought new knowledge, he recognized that new knowledge was not necessarily better knowledge because new wine isn’t better than old (Luk 5:39).

The Cloak

Clothing (or, specifically, the cloak, the outer garment) symbolizes our emotions and relationships. Our emotions come from our connections with each other. Christ taught that relationships should be defined by our personal choice rather than the law (Mat 5:40). As with food, God provides us with the relationships we need (Mat 6:25). Old relations cannot be made new again, but new relationships are unproven and unfinished (Mat 9:16). The loss of clothing means the loss of your old position in society (Mat 24:18). As clothing is symbolic of the status quo, giving up relationships is symbolic of change and for taking new power (Luk 22:36). Our relationships define us, but we are more than our relationships because they can change (Luk 12:23).

Clothing is symbolic of social status and pretense (Mat 23:5). Clothing, that is, social position, can also disguise something that is dangerous as something good (Mat 7:15). Kingship is the highest social position, but not necessarily the most important position (Mat 11:8). However, symbolic of our relationships, clothing becomes a channel for power (Mar 5:30). The choice of clothing is important because it expresses our opinion about relation ships. At the wedding feast, the guest without a wedding garment is thrown out Mat 22:12. To humble himself during the last supper, Christ removed his garments before washing the feet of his apostles (Jhn 13:4).