Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reason One for Christians to Celebrate Passover: The Bread

This year Passover begins at local sunset on Thursday April 5th, Nissan 14 on the Biblical calendar.  This essay is an excerpt from our book titled “Reasons for Christians to Celebrate the Biblical Feasts.”  It is available from, www.barnesandnoble .com, other book retailers as well as from our own web site at

Luke 22:19-20 NKJV 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

This passage is very familiar to Christians. We read these words of Jesus every time we have communion. But what bread and what cup is Jesus talking about? Luke tells us that this is a Passover meal in Luke 22:13-14. The bread Jesus is talking about is a specific piece of bread that is eaten at a specific time in the Passover Seder or order of service.

First, this bread is matzah or unleavened bread representing the absence of decay. Decay comes from death which we know originally comes from sin, specifically the sin of Adam (Romans 5:14). The Passover meal institutes the Feast of Unleavened bread which begins just after the Passover meal itself begins. The Israelites were to eat only unleavened bread during this seven day feast. In fact, they were to search out their houses and remove all the leaven. Unleavened bread does not decay or mold. It is like a package of soda crackers; it can sit in your cupboard for years and not get moldy. As such, it has the opposite affect of sin which leads to death and decay. David prophesies in Psalm 16:10 that God would not suffer His Holy One to see decay referring to Jesus’ death and resurrection before His body could decay. Paul tells us that leavening represents sin referring specifically to the bread at Passover.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7 NKJV 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Paul goes on to say that those who eat unworthily of this bread, who harbor sin in their lives, will be prone to sickness and early death. (1Cor. 11:27-30)

Second, the bread is called the bread of affliction in remembrance of the affliction of their slavery in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 16:3 NKJV 3 "You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.

As the Passover Seder progresses, Jesus dips a piece of the bread of affliction into bitter herbs and gives it to Judas Iscariot the one who would betray him. (John 13:26) Judas would taste the bitterness of condemnation and would later hang himself. Jesus would experience the bitterness of betrayal. But after the bitterness comes redemption.

Later in the meal, a different piece of unleavened bread is eaten. Before the Seder begins, there are three pieces of unleavened bread set aside in a special holder. After the Seder begins, the middle piece of bread is removed, two-thirds of it broken off, wrapped in linen and hidden away. After the meal is finished, the children seek and find this hidden piece of bread called the afikomen or “that which comes after.” It is this piece of bread that Jesus says represents His body and is broken for them. Jesus’ body was broken, wrapped in linen and hidden away in the grave. After three days, He rose from the dead and those who eat of the bread He gives them will have eternal life.

John 6:51 NKJV 51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

Christians can celebrate Passover to remember His body that is broken for us.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

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