Bread Of Life, Living Water
The Passover feast has now become Communion, the Lord’s table set before us, because the Messiah did come! He is Jesus Christ our Lord!
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
Jesus knew all of the Jewish scriptures, and quoted them. They record the creation of the world, the sin of Adam and eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph in Egypt, and the exodus of the Jewish people out of slavery from Egypt, and Moses, and the Ten Commandments, God’s instructions for Tabernacle, the Temple and the sacrificial system, the history of the nation of Israel, King David, King Solomon, the words of the prophets, etc. These scriptures are holy to the Jews, God’s word, containing His commands as well as rich historical and cultural information about the nation of Israel. They also include many prophecies about Israel and Messiah, a Savior and King that would come.
The Last Supper which Christians remember at Easter, was the Passover meal Jesus held with his disciples before His death on the cross the next day. This meal is a remembrance of how God delivered the Jews from slavery in Egypt, the night that God killed the firstborn sons of the Egyptians but God “passed over” the Israelite sons. The meal includes symbolic things that represent God’s covenant with Israel, what God had done for Israel, and God’s promises to Israel. Items such as unleavened bread (no yeast), salt, bitter herbs, lamb, wine are a part of the meal.
These elements also reflect the sacrificial system required by God and conducted by the Jews beginning in the desert on their way to the promised land, and eventually at the temple in Jerusalem. This system was a very detailed, ritualistic, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly process of worship and seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness. Animals such as bulls, goats, and lambs were killed at the altar as offerings to the Lord. The blood of animals was shed for the forgiveness of sins, purification, and cleansing. Grain, oil, spices, and other items were also presented as offerings. But God did not reveal to the Israelites that these were symbols of something and someone much greater.
At the Passover meal Jesus hosted, He conducted the ceremony, recited the traditional prayers, and used the traditional foods. But Jesus revealed something profound. He said that He is the unleavened bread, the bread without the yeast which represented sin, which the Jews took with them as they fled Egypt and ate during holy days. He said that He is the manna from heaven that God provided for the Jews to eat in the desert which kept them alive. He explained that He gives His blood as the living water that the Israelites craved in the desert, and that we need for eternal life.
As Jesus was conducting the traditional Passover meal and it’s components of remembrance with His disciples, before he broke the unleavened bread to share, and passed the cup of wine, he said, “This Is My Body and Blood Shed For You, Do This in Remembrance of Me.” He was saying something amazing to His disciples. Let us explain.
This is what is amazing about the Passover Feast, called the Seder. Jews have performed it for centuries to remember what God had done for them, and the Messiah they were hoping for. In this beautiful, traditional Jewish meal, we see all the sacrificial system and stories of the Exodus and other Old Testament images come to life in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and His sacrifice for our sins. In the Old Testament, in the most Holy act of the year, God instructed the priests to pray to transfer the sins of Israel to the most important sacrificial lamb slain for all of Israel. But Jesus Christ is the truly perfect sacrificial Lamb. On Him God placed all of our sins that we have committed or will ever commit. Jesus carried our sins to the cross and died for our sake. By His blood shed for us, we are saved–no more sacrifices are needed like the Jews would make, no more rituals. The worship of idols, and the activity of other religions today, is pointless and powerless. Now it is the humble sacrifice of a true repentant heart that God desires.
This is what the Bible is about, cover to cover. Because of what Jesus Christ endured and accomplished, according to God’s eternal plan, we are released from captivity and are granted the freedom from sin and slavery that no longer keeps us wandering and apart from God, like the Jews endured as slaves in Egypt and as wanderers in the wilderness. We have true Salvation, and true Rest of eternal Life, in the true promised land that Canaan and Jerusalem only represented. Jesus said, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He said on the cross, “It is finished.” He paid it all, no more is needed. King Jesus, from the lineage of King David whom the Jews revered, has ushered in The Kingdom of God and now He alone is worthy of our worship and loyalty and obedience. And so all of the promises of God first given to the Jews, found throughout the Bible, all of the prophecies, all of the beautiful images, are fulfilled in Christ. He is the Savior for whomever will believe in Him, by God’s grace through faith.
In the Garden of Eden, we walked with God, He was truly present with Adam and Eve. But when they sinned, they had to leave God’s presence. But God was so gracious. God was present closer and closer among the people of Israel in a cloud by day and fire by night, and later above the Ark in Tabernacle, and later within Holy of Holies the Temple. And glory be to God, He walked among us again when Christ humbled himself to come to earth. When Christ died on the cross, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the priest at the temple of Jerusalem, ripped wide open, signalling that through Him we can now be in God’s presence.
Beginning with the apostle’s ministry to the earliest churches, God is present with us in church on Sundays as we worship Him and take communion. And since the day of Penetcost, He is now even closer to us, actually living in us within our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We the people of God, Jews and any others, saints of the Lord, are being built into a spiritual temple, his Church, Christ as the cornerstone. He has come nearer and nearer, and is drawing us nearer and nearer. Some day we will be in His presence again, in Heaven. We will see Him and be transformed in His presence! The last book of the Bible, Revelation, ties the first book of the Bible, Genesis, together with all the others, describing the glorification and worship of Christ forever, the Lamb of God. By Him and through Him all things were created, and He is our salvation. He gave His life for us.
This was God’s plan before He ever created the world. He created us to know Him in this way, His incredible love and faithfulness and grace, and to know and Worship Christ as our Savior. This is “HisStory” of His making. Isn’t this amazing?
Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings, all of history centers on You, we thank You for life, salvation, and peace forever. We praise You, Almighty God for your eternal plan, encompassing all past and future, of creation and redemption. We fall down in amazement at the wonders of your works. Glory to You Alone, now and always.