Lent – Day 38 – Passover – The Bread
“For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever." Exodus 12:23-24
Passover begins tonight, April 18 at sundown and ends on Sunday, April 21 with the Feast of First Fruits, Resurrection Day.
During Passover the Jews were commanded by God to remember the day death passed over their houses while they were enslaved in Egypt under the cruel hand of the Pharaoh. Wherever the blood of a spotless lamb was sprinkled on the lintels and doorposts of their houses all the lives in those houses were spared. But in the rest of Egypt a plague of death came over the land and all the first-born of the land died in one night, because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart not to let the people of Israel go free from their bondage to worship God on Mt. Sinai. [Exodus 11:1-12:24]
For the church, the days of Passover hold a special and holy significance. The Passover is a time of remembrance of God’s deliverance of His people from the bondage of sin and death. And, as the lamb who is sacrificed that its blood can stain the doorposts and lintels of a house to save those inside from death, so is Jesus the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) made the true sacrifice for sin, Whose blood was shed for everyone who would believe and thus be saved from death, hell and the grave.
During the night of that first Passover in Egypt the people of Israel were instructed to eat unleavened bread, later called the bread of haste, because their flight from Egypt would come with short notice and there would be no time for bread with added leaven (yeast) to rise. For us, Jesus is the bread of Life. At the Last Supper, the last celebration of Passover Jesus observed here on earth with His disciples, knowing He would betrayed, He nevertheless took the bread, the symbol of the bread of haste, the unleavened bread and He gave thanks for it, blessed it, and broke it and said to His disciples, take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you.
“…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24
In this act, Jesus both changed and fulfilled the meaning and significance of the unleavened bread of Passover and made it for us who believe in Him alone for salvation, a sign of His sacrifice for our sins and a means of remembrance that through His death we have been given life from the dead and healing from sin.
At Passover, then as now, all leaven is to be removed from the house and none was or is to be found there during the 7 days of the feast of unleavened bread. Leaven was a type of sin because like sin it causes the flour mixed with it to rise, to be puffed up. Sin inflates the heart and mind to think and act in ways contrary to the nature of God’s holiness and purity. Jesus had no sin, so the unleavened bread is appropriate to represent Him, the One, Who knew no sin but became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.
The broken body of Jesus is for us a means of connecting with Him in death that we can also be raised with Him to eternal life. Our lives were broken because of our sin. His body was broken for us because of His love for us.
As Lent is a time of reflection and preparation, Holy Week is a time of remembrance and observance of the most significant events of the last days in the life of our Lord Jesus on earth that saved the world, indeed all humankind, and made a pathway for us to return to God our Father in righteousness and true holiness. Death has been made to pass over us because we who believe in Jesus Christ alone for salvation have been washed and made clean in His blood.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Passover reminds us that we are redeemed by is Blood, saved by His Grace, renewed by is Word, raised to Life again by His power, filled with His Spirit, transformed by His Love. We are now the righteousness of God in Christ.