“this fruit of the vine.” The “fruit of the vine” is wine. There are people who teach that Jesus was drinking grape juice because they think that someone as holy as Jesus would never drink alcohol. But drinking wine and beer was a part of the biblical culture, and the Bible testifies that Jesus drank wine (and it is likely he also drank beer, which was part of the biblical culture, but mistranslated in many older English versions. Cp. Lev. 10:9; Num. 28:7; Judg. 13:4; 1 Sam. 1:15; Prov. 31:6; Isa. 28:7; 56:12, etc. HCSB). When Jesus said, “the Son of Man came eating and drinking” (Matt. 11:19; Luke 7:34), he was contrasting himself to John the Baptist who came “neither eating bread nor drinking wine” (Luke 7:33, cp. Matt. 11:18). So unlike John who did not eat rich foods or drink wine, Jesus did both.
Also, the Last Supper was in the late spring, likely our April, and the grape harvest is in July. R. C. H. Lenski correctly writes: “in April such a thing as grape juice was an impossibility in the Holy Land in Christ’s time. It could be had only when grapes were freshly pressed out, before the juice started to ferment.” [For more on John not drinking wine, likely because he was a Nazarite, see commentary on Luke 1:15].
“when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” The “fruit of the vine” is wine. At the Last Supper Jesus promised his apostles that he would not drink wine again until he drank it with them in his Father’s kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, which was the Messianic Kingdom on the restored earth. The Old Testament had many verses that promised that when the Messiah conquered the earth and restored it to “Paradise,” that wine would be abundant (Isa. 25:6; Jer. 31:12; Hos. 2:22; Joel 2:19; Amos 9:13). In fact, the great feast that will be held on the mountain of Yahweh will have “the best of meats and the finest of wines” (Isa. 25:6 NIV). Jesus and his disciples knew about the future restored earth and the food and wine that would be there, and it was very meaningful to his disciples that Jesus promised that he would not drink wine until he got to drink it with them in the Kingdom. It has now been some 2,000 years since Jesus made that promise to his disciples, and we can be sure that Jesus has kept his promise and has not had any wine since the Last Supper. It is likely that Jesus will break his wine fast with his apostles and all of us at the great feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb, that will almost surely be held very soon after Jesus establishes his Kingdom on the earth.
[For more on the attributes of the Messianic Kingdom on earth and the names by which it is called, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more about the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven, see commentary on Matthew 8:11, “recline at the feast.” For more about the fate of the unsaved who are not allowed into the feast but are excluded from it, see commentary on Matt. 8:12].