Sermonette for Saturday

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is My body. Matthew 26:26

The bread that the Lord Jesus used to institute the Lord’s Supper did not look much like the loaves that we use to carry out this feast today. That which He took in His hands to break and distribute to His disciples was the unleavened bread that was part of the Passover meal. It was prohibited to have a raised loaf of bread, so the Lord Jesus took the Passover bread – or matzoh – and made His illustration from it. This bread was large, round, and very flat, and would have been browned on both sides. Its surface would have borne the marks of a knife or fork that was used to release air and allow the bread to lie flat in the pan as it baked. Matzoh was often sweetened with honey. This type of bread is almost unknown among Gentiles but it does provide us with some lovely pictures of the body of the Lord Jesus, as our text makes clear.

Because leaven speaks of sin, so unleavened bread reminds us that the Lord Jesus was without sin. Because the bread was flat, it reminds us that the Lord Jesus was humble and obedient even to the death of the cross. Because the bread was pierced, we are reminded that the Lord Jesus allowed His wicked creatures to pierce His head, His hands and feet, and His side. The very appearance of that unleavened bread causes us to give thanks to the One Who proclaimed Himself the Bread of Life, Who gave Himself that we might have life through Him.

Consider how, in contrast to the Seder meal in which each participant takes his portion of the bread, the Lord Jesus broke the bread, and gave to the disciples. This difference must have been noticed by them. We notice it today, as we realize that for each of us, the Lord Jesus allowed His body to suffer for our sins, and to each of us as individuals He offered His great gift of salvation. We have received from Himself that portion that gives to us everlasting life.

We can watch a loaf of bread as it rises, browns, and bakes in an oven, just as an Israelite could watch as the matzoh was baked in a frying pan. We can see how the heat affects the dough, and how there is that moment when the baker knows the bread is cooked. But when we turn our minds to Calvary, we can with difficulty grasp the terrible torments that wicked men placed on the body of our Lord. The battering, bruising, lashing, and piercing were not anything that we have ever seen or felt. When the cloak of darkness fell over that scene, we lose all ability to grasp the impact of the wrath of God against our sin as it fell on His righteous Son.

The taking of the bread fills our hearts with eternal thanks that the Lord Jesus gave His body for us. -Jim MacIntosh

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