Passover Week 2017
The Lord's Supper
When we participate in the Lord’s Supper together, we take part of
something that has been happening for thousands of years.
IN JEWISH CULTURE, the Day of Passover begins on Thursday night, because their days begin at night. This comes from Genesis 1 where we see the progression of each day signified by the passing of evening, then morning. So a meal was held on Thursday night to begin the day of Passover, known as, you guessed it, the Passover meal. This meal is the longest existing, continuously celebrated feast in human history. When we are participating in the Lord’s Supper together, we are taking part of something that has been happening for thousands of years.
Like every good Baptist, this meal takes about 3 hours to celebrate, and their table is full of food. On every table, there are six prescribed foods: roasted lamb, bitter herbs, parsley that would be dipped in salt water, a hard-boiled egg, a brown paste mixture of apples/ pears/ nuts/ wine, and unleavened bread.
The roasted lamb represents the lambs killed for their blood that the ancient Israelites sprinkled over their doorposts. This sacrifice was their salvation from God’s wrath. As for the bitter herbs, eating this caused their sinuses to react, producing tears. This is very symbolic because it reminds them of not only the bitterness of slavery in Egypt, but for the Egyptian women who lost their babies, and for the Egyptians who lost their lives in the Red Sea.
The hard- boiled egg symbolized another festival sacrifice offered in the Temple of Jerusalem, and the brown paste symbolizes the mortar used by the Israelite slaves when they toiled for Pharaoh. The parsley (which signified the Israelites as the living children of God) would be dipped in salt water to remember their walk through the Red Sea.
As for the unleavened bread, before the meal starts, people would do a candlelight search in their houses to find and dispose of any leaven. See, leaven was anything extra that was added to the dough to make it rise. So when they were searching for leaven, they were clearing out what didn’t need to be there. Kind of like in Psalm 139 where David pleads with the Lord to search his heart, to do a deep search for the things that don’t need to be there, to illuminate and expose those things, and to get rid of them.
Unleavened bread didn’t just pull apart. It broke completely in half. This was so important for a few reasons. Jesus says at the meal that this unleavened bread (a bread without anything bad in it) signified his sinless body being broken for us. Also, like the lambs killed for Passover, their bones were not crushed, but only their blood spilled. This fulfilled the rule given to Moses by God in Exodus 12 for how to sacrifice the lambs for Passover, echoed prophetically later in Psalms 34, which says, “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” To the last detail of his death, Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies, showing that He truly was the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Also at the meal, Exodus 6:5-7 is read before the toasting of four cups of wine. It says:
Verse 5: I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
Verse 6: Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
Verse 7: I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
So, each cup would represent a piece of this passage, a promise made by God to us.
Cup 1 - I will bring you out.
Cup 2 - I will deliver you from slavery.
Cup 3 - I will redeem you, or buy you back.
Cup 4 - I will take you to be My people.
So Imagine this scene. Jesus, this scandalous rabbi, one who hung out with the sinners, the outsiders, the hated ones, the prostitutes, the sick and unclean, one who says that they are not only invited to the meal, but they get to sit close to Him; He has brought with him these rejected men of Jewish society into an intimate setting with him to eat together and remember God’s faithfulness together.
And while they remember the past together, Jesus brings something new to them. These cups of wine represent the blood of the lamb sacrificed for them at the first Passover. It is in this moment that Jesus himself fills his cup and claims that this is “My blood of the new covenant.” His blood would be what causes God’s wrath to pass over us. This new covenant does not depend on our faithfulness, but on His. You see, He initiates the covenant, knowing we can’t keep it, so he fulfills it for us.
This is the God we serve. Don't miss this! What we were supposed to do for God, God came as a man to do for us. To live the life we were supposed to live, then die in our place. All he asks, is to drink from this cup. To receive what he’s already done for us. So when we celebrate Passover together, when we take of the Lord’s Supper, we remember together that he has overcome all the sins of the world. That it truly is finished, and our hope is found in Him alone.
Oh, and this final cup, the cup that promises that He will take us to be His people, he says “I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God”. He promises to us that He’s resurrected. That he came back from the dead, and He is coming back to make all of this new. And one day, we will drink that cup at the table with Him in the new kingdom.
*Document sources included in PDF version below