Question: Are we doing as Jesus asks when we substitute grape juice for wine, when we have communion with something not fermented? If we are not doing what he wants us to do, why not? What can a half thimble of wine hurt? I am confused and want to be obedient.
Answer: It is refreshing for someone to be so concerned about obeying the Lord. We need to be careful to do that. However, the Scriptures nowhere command what kind of food exactly we are supposed to be eating at the Lord’s Supper. Does this mean we should assume that we must eat the same meal Jesus and his apostles ate? But we don’t know what that was. Do we know how much alcoholic content was in the wine they drank? We don’t. Jesus only said that he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until he came again in his kingdom (Matthew 26:29).
Grape juice is fruit of the vine. And we know that for some individuals who have tried to stop drinking alcohol entirely, because otherwise they have a problem obeying the command of God not to get drunk, it seems safer not to have anything with alcoholic content in it. So to obey one command (do not cause your brother to stumble) we are saying no to alcohol at communion. But we are not breaking any command about what we are exactly to drink at communion because Jesus nowhere told us exactly what meal we were supposed to have. Wisdom dictates therefore that we are fine using grape juice and not in any way disobeying the Lord Jesus by doing so.