The Second of Two Ordinaces: Communion
On the night of the Passover celebration, in the midst of the meal, Jesus must have startled His disciples when He…
Let me back up. Perhaps you are asking, “What’s the Passover celebration?” Some of my Gentile readers may not understand the rich Jewish roots of Christianity… so please, be patient as I provide a little background. For those of you who are familiar, and have heard this over and over, I’m not trying to drill you, so I hope you won’t get bored! “The Prince of Egypt”, is an animated film that I recommend, because of the portrayal of the first Passover, but you’ll want to view it with the Book of Exodus in mind or close at hand. The Passover celebration is one of the most important events on the Jewish calendar because it is a living memorial of an historical event. This was the final plague that God used to bring His chosen people out of the land of bondage, out of the land of Egypt. Read about it in Exodus 12 (BTW … methinks this is why the Book is titled Exodus. Does it sound like “exit?”)
In brief, the Passover was a time when God commanded Israel and Egypt to take a young lamb into their homes. Then, after several days, they had to slaughter the lamb, and put the blood on the lintel and doorposts so the death angel would regard it, and "pass over" that house. On Passover, Jewish families have a celebration to remember this historical event. There are many symbols that they use to remember this time. Among them is Matzo bread that is said to have come from the original lump of unleavened bread that was commanded to Moses … and red wine to symbolize the blood of the sacrifice lamb.
The only thing missing is the lamb. Passover without the lamb is like a wedding without a bride. What modern Jews celebrate today is not the Passover, but the feast of Unleavened Bread. Nevertheless, people rejoice remembering how God delivered them from enslavement, making them a new people and bringing them into the promised land.
Passover is the story of deliverance. How, you may ask, does this relate to communion? I will explain further in the next post.