Cover 2017-10-01

Ron Writes

Breaking with Tradition

A friend of mine was in charge of the Lord’s Supper at a retreat we attended. He thought a loaf of sour dough bread would paint an image in our minds of Christ’s body. He used leavened bread because he didn’t realize that the use of unleavened bread was very significant in Scripture. At the first Passover, the Jews wouldn’t have time for their bread to rise since they would leave Egypt in a hurry. In addition, in the Bible, leaven is almost always symbolic of sin (Gal. 5:9). He didn’t realize that he wasn’t just merely breaking with a tradition of man – unleavened bread was a picture of the sinless body of Christ.

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he did so after celebrating the Passover with his disciples. The Passover was a yearly feast, that was to be done the same way each year. It consisted of a lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (Ex. 12:8). During the Passover, the head of the house, would explain the significance of each element. The unleavened bread – it was the bread of affliction they suffered in Egypt.. He would take the bitter herbs to explain the bitterness of their slavery. Then would come the lamb and the head of the house would tell the story of the exodus as they ate. They would conclude with the cup of wine.

While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, 'Take it; this is My body'”( Mark 14:22).What?! After thousands of years, Jesus was completely rewriting the meaning of the bread. If the Jewish leaders had been there, they would have torn their robes and screamed with disapproval. Jesus would take the affliction of the people away and they wouldn’t have to remember it any longer.

Jesus skipped the bitter herbs. With no explanation, as if to say that bitterness won’t be an issue in his kingdom. Not only did he skip the herbs, but he passed over the most important element of the Passover, the lamb. Why didn’t he mention that lamb who’s blood on the door posts saved them from sin. Jesus was killed on Passover. He has become our Passover lamb. Never again would a lamb need to be sacrificed.

And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Mt. 26:27).

The Lord’s supper is radical! We follow the pattern given in the NT. Sometimes, we don’t pause to realize the significance of the particular elements Jesus used or the order in which he offered them. It’s not a mere tradition of man, but it’s based deep in the fulfillment of Scripture.