“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” (Luke 22:19)
Have you forgotten? Has the wonder of it left the forefront of your memory already? Don’t be concerned; life moves on and we all do it unless someone reminds us.
It was the night before Passover, one of the seven Jewish festivals of the year. Jesus and His disciples were gathered in an upper room ready to share in the traditional meal called the Seder. The Seder was part of the Passover celebration in which Jews celebrate God delivering them out of Egypt as slaves through the servant Moses. Every component of the meal had great symbolic and spiritual meaning for each participant as a means to reflect on God’s great mercy. It was no less for Jesus and His followers on this special night.
What kind of bread was Jesus using? We typically think of a loaf of bread like all of us buy at the store today. However, part of the Jews’ experience, as they left Egypt, was there was no time to let the bread rise so they did not include the leaven. This caused the bread to flatten; flat bread is called matzah. The Jewish people use matzah in celebration of Passover. Jesus would have done something similar.
Many years prior, God commanded His people to present bread offerings to Him without yeast. Yeast represented sin and those things, which God did not approve. It was a visual reminder to His people to keep sin out of their lives.
Fast forward to Jesus in the upper room. Jesus held up the matzah without leaven and said, “This is my body.” Jesus was not just communicating to His disciples that this bread represented how His body would be broken like His coming death. Jesus may, in fact, have been using this type of language to share with His followers that this was His body without sin, just like the matzah was without leaven.
Fast forward once again to days after Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples have seen the resurrected Christ once or twice. He has yet to ascend into heaven. There is still work to be done. Could the disciples have thought back to the Seder meal in the upper room? Could one of them said, “Oh, I get it now! When Jesus told us the matzah was His body He was meaning it was without sin.”
Why is it important that Jesus be without sin? Only One without sin was qualified to take away the sin of the world and conquer death. Jesus Christ was that One.
As you and I move further and further away from Easter, let’s put ourselves in the disciples’ place and not miss the wonder of what happened only a few weeks prior. Stop and remember and give praise to God!
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at www.OneMaster.org.