I’d like to see this point made more often, because I think it’s important. Protestants like to make the argument: ‘Jesus is saying “I am the bread of life,” just like He says “I am the vine.” He’s obviously not saying He’s literally a vine.’
The problem is, that argument doesn’t work when we apply it to the last supper. Look at the language Jesus uses: “I am the vine; I am the way; I am the door” etc. But look at the last supper language. There is no I am X, rather it’s This is X. The language here is completely different: It’s saying two concrete things are equal to each other.
I can use one of the exact same language forms that Jesus does in every day language, and nobody will bat an eye. Use the other one? Men in white coats will show up. Example? “I am the glue that holds this team together.” Maybe I’m a little full of myself, but nobody would think I’m crazy. Contrast that sentence with: “This bottle of glue is my body and blood.” OK, maybe body and blood sounds weird? Let’s try something else: “This bottle of glue is the laptop computer on my desk.” What?!? “This sandwich is the front seat of my car.” I don’t even…
See the difference? The language here between Jesus’ usual analogy/metaphor and the language of the Last Supper is completely obviously different. If you ever heard someone say something like that, you can conclude one of two things: 1) They’re completely wacko or 2) They’re God.