And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”[Luke 22:19]
Just as the Israelites were saved out of Egypt on the first Passover night, the Lord Jesus — our Passover Lamb — willingly shed His lifeblood on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for sin. It is by faith in His finished work on the cross that we are forgiven and saved from sin and death.
And just as the Israelites were commanded by God to purge the yeast from their homes and be sustained only by unleavened bread during the hasty Exodus journey, the Lord Jesus willingly gave His body to be bruised and crushed for our benefit. As the LORD God of Israel established the holy convocation of Unleavened Bread, He was teaching His people a valuable lesson about the future coming of Messiah — the Bread of Life.
His Body the Bread
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,[Hebrews 10:5]
but a body have you prepared for me …”
If the blood of the Passover Lamb ultimately was fulfilled in the precious blood of Christ, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread prefigured and pointed to the broken body of Christ. The Lord Yeshua often used bread in His teachings to correspond to His body.
John the sixth chapter is full of the body/bread imagery. Yeshua is correlating bread with sustenance and sustenance with life and then contrasting physical life with eternal life.
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”[John 6:27]
John 6 is also one of the most misunderstood Gospel passages because of the unusual language used by Yeshua when speaking of his body and blood. After feeding a multitude with only a few small fish and loaves of bread, Yeshua tells his disciples that unless they are willing to “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” [John 6:53]. This extreme hyperbole apparently was too much for many of his followers to process, which resulted in a mass defection from Jesus.
Had they only stayed a little longer to hear Jesus provide his explanation, they would have understood that the Lord was using extreme word pictures to communicate a spiritual concept. He was not advocating some perverse form of cannibalism. He was speaking of the necessity of being filled with the Word of God (living bread) and born of the Spirit of God. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” [John 6:63].
Yeshua repeatedly refers to Himself as the Bread of Life, and it is during the Passover meal on the night before He was betrayed that Jesus took the unleavened bread (matzah) and broke it before His disciples and told them to eat it as a symbol of the necessary life they would find only in Him. Christ also revealed the new meaning of the unleavened bread, as He told the disciples to proclaim His death as often as they would eat in remembrance of Him.
His body would be bruised and crushed for our iniquities and punished for our sins. We cannot underestimate the human suffering and death of our Savior — in the flesh — as it is essential in understanding the gospel itself.
His Body was Buried
The Apostle Paul received the gospel message and delivered it once and for all to the church as that of first importance.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried …”[1 Corinthians 15:3-4a]
The burial of Christ is critical to the integrity of the gospel. Not only is it essential that we understand the literal, physical death of Christ on the cross, but also the burial is the very bridge that creates the path from death to resurrection. A physically dead body must also be a physically resurrected body, not some ghostly apparition or disembodied spirit, which was introduced and suggested by the heretical gnostics.
The body of Jesus — the Bread of Life — was dead, and His lifeless body was wrapped and laid in a tomb. The tomb was sealed. The disciples were despondent. Hope temporarily was lost. But we know that was not the end of the story!
His Body Did Not DeCay in the Grave
For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,[Acts 2:25-27 — Quoted from Psalm 16]
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.”
As I shared in my last post, the purpose of the unleavened bread during the Exodus was both practical and prophetic. Unleavened bread would not spoil or ferment as would leavened bread. Unleavened bread could be preserved and consumed by the Israelites to sustain life during the long journey to the Promised Land.
But prophetically speaking, the unleavened bread was always about Jesus and His sinless life. He was free of the yeast of sin and immorality and hypocrisy. He perfectly fulfilled the law of God and no one can convict Him of sin. The unleavened bread was always about His body being wrapped and laid in a tomb. It was always about the promise that God’s Holy One — the Messiah — would suffer and taste the pangs of death but that DEATH COULD NOT HOLD HIM!
Death is our great and final enemy. All mankind is bound inextricably to Adam and because sin came into the world through Adam — and death through sin — then we all will die because we all are sinners. We needed a Savior who first would die on our behalf, but we also needed a Savior who would not remain dead. We needed a Savior who could somehow overcome the pangs of death and reverse the curse of death. And the good news is that Yeshua of Nazareth is all of that and more.
The Apostle Peter puts this into perspective when comparing and contrasting David, who wrote Psalm 16, and Yeshua the Messiah.
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.[Acts 2:29-31]
The body of Jesus — the Unleavened Bread of Life — did not decompose in the grave but rather was preserved and raised victoriously! His flesh did not see corruption. He is the One who now gives life to all who believe in Him and will sustain us and fill us on our journey to the Promised Land.
Jesus of Nazareth is our unleavened bread, and has fulfilled this appointed feast in His first coming, through His death and burial, and as we will see next time, Jesus perfectly completes the feast of first fruits in His glorious resurrection from the dead!