April 18, 2020

Subject: Jesus Christ: The Broken Unleavened
Bread of Passover

1Corinthian 11:24 “Take and eat: this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Ed Croteau

Passover is Israel’s most important celebration because it commemorates God’s deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian slavery. But Passover’s significance to Christians – the pictures of Jesus Christ in the Passover – often go unnoticed. We often miss God’s continual reminders of what Christianity is all about.

Whenever I share my faith with nonbelievers in America, I am always curious to ask them what they think Christianity is about. They almost always tell me things like “going to church, being good and doing what the Bible says.” These wrong answers are often not much different from what many believers also tell me. They will say things like “Have faith in God, do good works, be obedient to God’s Word, and avoid sin.”

All these things are not what Christianity is about. The apostle Paul, while writing to Timothy, seems to give the same answer: “Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1Timothy 6:19). So, is doing good works and being good and following the Bible the way to heaven?

Paul makes it clear what is the foundation for anyone wanting to know God and be certain of their future hope of eternal life: “No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 3:11). Being a Christian means identifying yourself are as a follower of a real, live Person named Jesus Christ whom you worship as your Lord and Savior. All good works, good words, good choices have their foundation in a desire to please Him out of love, not a set of rules to follow out of duty.

As we are also in the first two and one-half months of the Corona virus pandemic, we as Christians must remind ourselves we love and serve a faithful, loving God who is in control in all affairs of mankind and whose only Son, Jesus Christ, is stronger than COVID-19. During this crisis, our answer to the question “What is Christianity all about?” begins by showing it through good works done in His name, and then sharing the reason for your good works – that it is done in the name of Jesus Christ, the Source of Life.

This is exactly how Christ answered the crowds during His 3-year ministry. In John 5:36, Jesus explains that the good works He performs are all aimed to point people God the Father: “The works which the Father has given Me to finish – the very works that I do – bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

Later, before Jesus goes to the cross, He explains to His followers that they have been empowered to do even greater works than He has done: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).

We often read Jesus’s words without really understanding what He means. When He told them the verse above, the disciples didn’t understand Him either. Just a little later, Jesus tries again: “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). What is He telling us?

Jesus urged us to study the Old Testament to discover that He is the key to knowing God: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; but they testify of Me” (John 5:39). One of the many places to find Him, and understand His meaning in the verses above, is to study the Passover celebration.

In Exodus 12:8, God instructs the Israelites on the three elements of the first Passover meal: 1) perfect lamb (without blemish), 2) unleavened bread and 3) bitter herbs. Last week, we studied how Jesus Christ is God’s picture of the perfect Passover Lamb. This week, we study the unleavened bread.

Friends of Israel writer David Levy explains the significance of the unleavened bread in the Passover: “The father of the household takes out the middle piece of the 3 pieces of unleavened bread, blesses it, breaks it and wraps half in a napkin, and places the other half on the plate. This broken middle piece of bread out of three is a picture of Messiah’s crucifixion on the middle cross for man’s sin.” Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb of God (John 1:29) and the Bread of Life (John 6:35), is also the Broken Passover Bread. This is the meaning behind our verse for this week, as Paul explains to the church in Corinth that Jesus died for them.

The key to Christianity – why we should “be of good cheer” – is Jesus Christ and His achievement on the Cross, which has “overcome the world” by defeating death, the just sentence for our sins. Last week’s Passover celebration, in the midst of COVID-19’s deaths, is another tangible reminder of our God’s love.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.