Preacher: Pastor Ray
Prior to the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrates love for His enemies (Judas) and for His faltering, overconfident, blind church (i.e. Peter) and calls us to do the same.
Before we observe the Lord’s Supper, let me quickly share from 2 passages. The first passage is Exodus 12:33-34.
33 Now the Egyptians pressured the people in order to send them quickly out of the country, for they said, “We’re all going to die!” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their clothes on their shoulders.
The context here is when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. And so God calls Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of his people from slavery. Moses goes and asks for their release and Pharaoh refuses. And this goes back and forth 10 times. Each time Pharaoh refuses, God sends a plague. So this passage that I just read is right after the 10th plague when the Lord killed the firstborn in every household in Egypt. And so Pharaoh finally relents and the Egyptians beg the Israelites to leave. Because obviously they didn’t want anymore damage to be done to them. The Egyptians felt such urgency to get rid of the Israelites that it says that they were “pressured” to leave quickly.
This departure from Egypt was not something carefully planned over several weeks or several days. It’s like, you got to leave now. So their departure from Egypt was done in haste. It was so hasty that they didn’t even have the time to finish baking the bread. They took the dough before it was leavened. Leaven is the yeast that is added to make the dough rise while it is baking. So this dough without leaven was taken because everyone was in such a rush to get out of Egypt.
Listen to what Paul says in 1 Cor 5:6-8 when remembering back to this hasty departure.
1 Cor 5
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? 7 • Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our • Passover has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Paul says, the whole reason why we eat unleavened bread, or matzo, during the Lord’s Supper is to relive the first Exodus experience when the Israelites left their bondage in Egypt in such a hasty manner. In the same way that the Israelites left at a moment’s notice, in such a rush, when we first were saved by Jesus, didn’t we have the same haste to leave our old life? We wanted no part of our old life with our idols and sinful habits and darkness. We wanted to be in the light. We wanted to follow Jesus and we were saved in an instant. We left our old lives in haste. In a moment, everything was changed.
Every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we are participating in the first Exodus when the Israelites left Egypt, the place of slavery, in haste and they carried with them bread without leaven. Likewise, we, as the new creation are like a new batch of dough without yeast. We are pure. There is no leaven or no sin in us. How did we get this way? Because of Jesus, who died on our sin, all the leaven–the malice, the evil–has been removed and now we walk in sincerity and truth.
The Lord’s Supper is based on the Last Supper, the final meal between Jesus and his closest disciples before Jesus was arrested, beaten and crucified.
We mustn’t forget that this meal happened during Passover. It was a Passover meal when every year, Jews from every family would gather together and share a meal remembering the miraculous deliverance from slavery in Egypt, through the Red Sea and into the Promised Land.
I think we forget sometimes the events leading up to the very first Passover. The first Passover was preceded by Moses asking the Pharaoh of Egypt to let God’s people go, but he refused. Then, there was the first plague and Pharaoh refused again. Then the second plague and again Pharaoh refused and so on until the 10th plague. This plague was the worst of all. God’s wrath culminated in the death of every firstborn in all of Egypt. The angel of death went from home to home and killed every firstborn child. You were spared only if you followed the Lord’s instructions and killed a lamb without blemish and marked the entrance of your door with blood from the lamb. The wrath of God literally passed over the homes of unbelievers so that their firstborn could be spared.
Jesus became the Lamb of God slain for our sins and His blood was marked over the door of our lives so that the wrath of God can pass over your life and mine. We mustn’t forget that sin always needs to be punished. God is a Holy God and He cannot leave sin unpunished. Thanks be to God that through Christ, we are saved BY God and we are saved FROM God. We deserve wrath because we are all sinners. But God provided a way through the death and resurrection of Jesus so that the wrath of God could pass over us and we could be forgiven.
This is what we are remembering whenever we participate in the Lord’s Supper.