This is My body. We hear those words all the time in church services. But what exactly did Jesus mean when He said it?
The Last Supper was a Passover Seder. There is no dispute about that; the Bible makes that much clear.
A seder is the ritual service and a feast that is held at the beginning of the Passover.
“Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” Luke 22:11 (NKJV)
In this post, I am going to focus solely on the unleavened bread.
Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples.
This is the bread…matzah. So let’s look at this more closely to see what Jesus meant by referring to it as His body.
Matzah is a bread baked without leaven. Leaven, or chametz, is a rising agent and during the Passover the Jewish people are told to rid their homes of leaven for the eight days of the feast. The matzah is what the Hebrews baked for their trek out of Egypt; without leaven as they did not have time to let the bread rise.
Leaven is also used in the Bible as a reference to sin. The matzah, the unleavened bread, is what Jesus would have broken with His disciples at the Last Supper. It is the bread on every seder table. Some make it soft by adding more water to the mixture while some make it harder, like a cracker, but there is little distinction between them other than that. If you look at a piece of matzah you will notice some unique things about it.Leaven is also used in the Bible as a reference to sin. #jewishroots Click To Tweet
For one, it contains bruises from the baking process. These are brown marks seen throughout the piece. Second, the matzah contains tiny holes throughout, so it is pierced. This was done to prevent air bubbles from forming. And last, it contains stripes down the length of it where it is ridged higher than the rest. From what I understand this was due to the type of roller that was used on the dough.
So looking at the matzah we see it is bruised, pierced, and striped. Is this beginning to sound familiar?Looking at the matzah we see it is bruised, pierced, and striped #jewishroots Click To Tweet
During the Passover seder, the bread is broken multiple times throughout, each time saying a blessing as prescribed throughout the seder, giving thanks to God.
“And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’.” Luke 22:19 (NKJV)
You see, without the Passover seder to show us how the matzah is a picture of Him, we don’t get the full understanding of what Jesus meant when He said ‘This is my body’. Jesus said this because the unleavened bread had the elements of being bruised, pierced, and striped. It was broken. It was without chametz (leaven) or sin.
Ah but there is more! During the Passover seder, there is a piece of matzah that is called the Afikomen, meaning “that which comes after”. It is a piece of matzah that is broken off and is set aside for later to be eaten as part of the dessert. However, in many homes, the Afikomen is hidden away before the seder and then afterwards the children look for it and a reward is given to the one who finds it.
Jesus’ body, for a time, was hidden away to be resurrected after three days! Those of us who find Him receive a great reward.Those of us who find Him receive a great reward. #jewishroots Click To Tweet
Stay tuned for more posts on the Jewish Roots of Our Faith!