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|But why the Passover Bread?|
At the passover, on that night of nights, Jesus broke bread and gave it to his disciples to eat. That bread has tremendous meaning!
Do you understand what Jesus meant when he said of the unleavened bread, "Take, eat this is My body" (Matthew 26:26)?
Jesus' disciples partook of that bread 1,974 (article was posted on this website on April 2005) years ago. We eat it today as we observe the New Testament Passover service each year. But what does eating this bread picture?
The apostle Paul wrote this of the bread: "When we bless 'the cup of blessing,' is it not a means of sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread, is it not a means of sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we many as we are, are one body; for it is one loaf of which we all partake" (I Corinthians 10:16-17, New English Bible).
When you partake of the Passover bread, you are saying that you have thoroughly discerned the Body of Christ, the church, and that you are reconciled to God and to each member of the Body of Christ. If you have not taken these steps, then God will judge you making a commitment to become one with your brethren just as the bread is one.
After Jesus gave his disciples the passover bread, he prayed "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You: that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:21). Since Christ committed his life to make us one, shouldn't we commit our lives to become one? The apostle Peter tells us we should follow the example of Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:21).
When you partake of the Passover bread, you are, in part, making a commitment to make the Church one unified Body.
The bread and the Church
Why did Christ use bread to symbolize the Church? Why not meat? After all, his physical body was flesh. What about broccoli? Everybody knows that vegetables are good for you. What is so unique about bread----specifically, unleavened bread? Bread starts with grain, and so does God's plan of salvation.
The Holy Days of the Bible, which outline God's master plan for man, are connected to the harvests in Palestine as explained in Leviticus 23. God compares Christians to grain. James explains, "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).
Grain pictures the hope of all Christians----the resurrection of the dead. Listen as Paul describes the analogy: "Someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?' Foolish one...what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain----perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.... So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption" (I Corinthians 15:35-38, 42).
The flour for bread comes from grain. Grain has three main parts----bran, endosperm and germ. It takes all three to make a healthful bread. The same is true for God's Church. It takes many types of people to make up the one Body of Christ. God has called people from many parts of the world and from different races.
But the many parts of God's flour (God's people) are not divided, "for we, being many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread" (I Corinthians 10:17).
What can we learn from the process of making bread that will help make us one bread? First, let's understand that God wants us to be an unleavened loaf. Leaven is a type of sin, and sin divides. Ever notice the holes in leavened bread? Those pockets of air separate the different parts of bread. The same can happen in the Body of Christ if we allow the leaven of pride and vanity to creep in. We will be divided and fall apart. Notice how close the particles of flour are in unleavened bread. Nothing divides them. That's how Christ wants his Body, his Bread to be: "There should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another" (I Corinthians 12:25).
But just because people congregate together does not mean they are tied together. What tie binds true Christians together? Water causes particles of flour to cling to another, producing one lump. In the Bible, water is a type of God's Spirit (John 7:37-39). It is God's Spirit that soaks through each Christian and makes him stick to his brother. It is the water of God's Spirit that binds and ties many into one.
I Corinthians 12:13 tells us, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body----whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free----and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
We need another ingredient to make our bread smooth. We also need something to make our relationships in the Body of Christ smooth. And there is nothing smoother than oil. In the Scriptures, oil also represents the Holy Spirit. What is the love----caring for and giving to one another. Love perfectly binds us together. This is why Paul tells us, "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:14).
The water of the spirit sticks us together, but the oil of the Spirit (love) keeps us together affectionately. When you care, give and serve your brother, you become one bread with him. There's just one more thing you need in your bread, and that's some zest. What gives food zest? What gives the Body of Christ zeal? Salt!
Salt symbolizes the zest and purpose of the Body and bread of Christ. Jesus said it best: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses flavor, how shall it become seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men" (Matthew 5:13).
In a world torn with division and hatred, God's Church is the salt of the earth. The Church----God's unleavened bread----flavors the earth with the salt of God's way of love and unity.
During the Passover season let's learn this valuable lesson: The Passover bread pictures the Body of Christ, the Church. Though we be many, we are one unified body through God's Spirit!