Tag Archives: Matzoh

Maundy Thursday: Passover–The Lord’s Supper

The Israelites, which have gone from Egypt with angel of death, are eating the Easter lambIllustration:  “The Israelites, which have gone from Egypt with angel of death, are eating the Easter lamb (Exodus, XII, 11-14),” by Marc Chagall, etching on paper, c. 1934.

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'” (Matthew 26:26-28).

This is an account that we have heard many times in our walk. Let’s examine it through the eyes of Jesus at the Passover Seder.

Jesus sends His disciples ahead of Him to prepare the Passover, probably to check the house for any signs of leaven. Presumably, the person to whose house Jesus is going has already cleaned it and removed the leavened bread, but the disciples must be sure.

That night, Jesus is reclining. We recline at Passover to show that we are no longer slaves in Egypt, but freed men. He then began the meal. When he remarked about Judas “dipping his hand in the bowl” with Him, He is probably referring to either the karpas, which is dipped in salt water, or the horseradish with is sometimes dipped into the charoseth.

He then took bread, broke it and gave it to His disciples. Jesus declared this bread, the matzoh, free of leaven, free of sin to be His body. Then he took wine. The Apostle Paul remarks that it is the cup “after supper” (1 Corinthians 11:17-26). This would be the third cup of four cups of wine taken during the Seder. This cup is called the cup of redemption, and Jesus declared it the new covenant in His blood. Then the disciples knew that the covenant prophesied by Jeremiah 600 years before has come to pass (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Through this same meal, God offers us forgiveness for our wickedness, and remembers our sins no more. The cup of redemption has redeemed us all.

Prayer:  God of our fathers, thank You for this gift of Your blood and body, which You have given to redeem me. May it always strengthen me in faith for works of service in Your kingdom. Guard my heart that I may never take this meal for granted. In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  Tonight as you come for worship, go back in time to the upper room and see this meal the way that it was given. Pray that through Jesus’ eyes, this meal will have new meaning for you in the context of Passover.

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Mother by the ovenIllustration:  “Mother by the oven,” by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 1914.

“In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.  For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread” (Exodus 12:18-20).

This path we are on reminds me of the story of Hansel and Gretl. It is strewn with breadcrumbs–breadcrumbs thrown out of Jewish houses as they prepare for Passover.

Each element of the Seder meal is used to tell this story of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt, but first homes must be prepared. No yeast can be found in the home during Passover. For 40 days, Jewish homes are cleaned and the leaven is removed. Today, a little leaven is often taken to the synagogue and burned as a symbol that the home is free of yeast.

The time of preparing the Jewish home is akin to the season of Lent. As they prepare by scouring the house and searching every corner for yeast, during the season of Lent we scour our hearts, searching every corner for the yeast of sin. Physical yeast is removed from Jewish homes, and spiritual yeast is removed from our hearts. Unleavened bread, or matzoh, is the bread of affliction, a bread baked in haste as the Israelites fled from bondage in Egypt. But it is also the bread that brings deliverance. Jesus, born in Bethlehem (which means “house of bread”), will also be both. For our sakes, He will be afflicted and we will be delivered.

Prayer:  Our Father, You know my heart. Forgive me for the things I harbor and do not readily give to You. Thank You for the pictures You have given in the Passover, and thank You for sparing me the death I deserve. In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  Take advantage of this time to examine your heart and give to God anything that burdens you. He will assure you of forgiveness through Jesus, the Bread of Life.

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