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Vine, Vineyard

wine grapes jesus vines

Vines, vineyards, grapes, and wine are mentioned frequently in both the Old and New Testaments in both practical and symbolic contexts. The stable conditions required for the practice of viticulture generally make vines, grapes, and wine very positive symbols of peace, prosperity, and God’s favor throughout the Old Testament (with a few exceptions). Jesus referred frequently to viticulture in his teachings, perhaps most notably in his parables of the vineyard and in his elaboration of the figure in which he described himself as the “true vine” and his followers as the fruitful “branches” (John 15:1-9). When Jesus poured wine and distributed it to the disciples at the *Last Supper, he called the wine his own “blood of the new covenant” (e.g., *Mark 14:24); this action is reenacted in the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist . Vines and grapes thus feature, from the early Christian period onward, as symbols for *Christ and Christianity, and are found on early sarcophagi, in catacomb frescoes, and in all media through the Gothic period. The infant Jesus may be shown holding grapes in representations of the *Madonna and Child; the *miracle of Jesus turning water into wine is illustrated in scenes of the *Marriage at Cana; Jesus distributing wine to the *apostles at the Last Supper is also illustrated in scenes of the *Communion of the Apostles; and Jesus treading on grapes (or squeezed in a winepress producing blood) is found in the image of the *Mystic Wine Press. This subject may appear independently or in cycles illustrating the *Apocalypse, in which *angels are shown harvesting vines and gathering grapes into the “great winepress of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:15-20). Apart from these symbolic contexts, the harvesting of grapes and production of wine is also often found in medieval cycles of agricultural activities

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