What Does This Meal Mean?

By H. Lynn Gardner

Modern Jews eat the Passover meal much the same as God instructed through Moses thousands of years ago. At one point in the ceremonial meal the youngest in the company asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights? What does this mean?”

The leader responds, “We celebrate tonight because we were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord our God delivered us with a mighty hand. Had not the Holy One, blessed be he, redeemed our fathers from Egypt, we, our children, and our children’s children would have remained slaves.”

Moses wrote, “And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses’” (Exodus 12:26, 27*).

Moses instructed, “You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt’” (Exodus 13:8). He said it would be a memorial for them. “And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery’” (Exodus 13:14).

God planned the regular observance of the Passover meal so his people would not forget what he had done for them. It helped them remember how God saved his people from Egyptian slavery.

Fast-forward to today as we observe the Communion or the Lord’s Supper.

A young child asks, “How is the Lord’s Supper different from all other meals? What does it mean?”

Jesus asked his followers to observe the Lord’s Supper so we would continue to remember him. The Passover angel saved the firstborn of the Israelites. Christ is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7) who saved us from our sins. The unleavened bread reminds us Jesus allowed his body to be sacrificed, and the fruit of the vine reminds us he shed his blood so our sins could be forgiven. By taking the Lord’s Supper, we and Christian people all over the world show our belief that Christ died for our sins.

Meaningful participation in the Lord’s Supper each week prevents us from forgetting. It refreshes in our memories the debt we owe Christ because he died for us.

(I presented this meditation at church with my youngest grandchild speaking the questions. We were dressed in biblical-style robes.)


*All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.


H. Lynn Gardner’s website is www.lynngardner.info.

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