Are there parallels between the Jewish betrothal and wedding traditions at the time of Jesus and communion?
When a Jewish man became betrothed at the time of Jesus he purchased his bride with a dowry known to the bride and when the bride accepts the dowry she was set apart exclusively for her bridegroom. Then a cup of specially dedicated wine was drunk by the bride and groom.
This process could be seen as symbolic of Christ’s work on our behalf. Jesus came from his home to earth to claim his bride (us) for a price (his blood, 1 Cor 7:23). The bride has accepted him and Christ has given us a gift of the Holy Spirit. With Christ’s death and resurrection we have been set apart for Him. The communion wine is symbolic of how Christ obtained us a His bride.
Once the betrothal is sealed with the wine the bridegroom goes back to his fathers home to prepare a place for his bride to live. This is symbolic of Christ leaving this world and returning to His fathers home to prepare a dwelling place for us. Just prior to His death, Jesus told His disciples, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).