By Nancy Karpenske
Imagine family and friends around your picnic table at Memorial Day. The head of the family is explaining to the youngsters about the origin and importance of the holiday. But instead of reciting history, as one would expect, he puts himself in the middle of the meaning, as if he is going to leave your family picnic and volunteer to give his life for his country. He even claims that from now on, Memorial Day will focus on his sacrifice more than on the remembrance of previous veterans.
You might be glad this imaginary family isn’t yours—or think that this family leader has delusions of grandeur. Who in his right mind would claim that a national holiday would henceforth be all about him?
Only Jesus could accurately say to his followers, “This Passover feast you’ve been celebrating for 1,500 years, it isn’t something stuck in the past. All this time its symbolism has been pointing to me. The unleavened bread is me. The cup of deliverance is my blood. I am the lamb sacrificed so that death will pass over. I am the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the earth. From now on, when you eat this feast, you will be remembering so much more than deliverance from Egyptian slavery, you will be proclaiming that my death is what truly sets you free.”
When Jesus connected the ancient Passover tradition to his sacrifice, he opened a new chapter in the story of Jewish independence, a surprising new chapter that would now include all mankind.
Don’t you imagine that Jesus’ friends were startled and confused by what he was telling them? Consider asking God today to allow you to be startled and surprised about Jesus’ sacrifice. Don’t let it be something stuck in the past.
What God started with the Passover he completed in Jesus. What Jesus started at the cross continues to renew us and change us. Don’t let deliverance be something in your past. Ask God to continue to deliver you even today.
Nancy Karpenske was serving as women’s ministry director at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado, when we originally posted this Communion meditation in 2012.
A likely up-setting thought for many; and, more correct, is the Greek language reporter, if the Best Original Language Manuscripts Available are right: The Bread Jesus broke was Leavened Bread. Baked each AM by the women, to feed their family for that day. Artos: a round, about 1″ thick in the middle, of wheat; the poorer used barley. Risen Bread representing a soon-to-be Risen Lord? He was known to change things – eg., water became the best wine at the wedding, amongst others. Wonder when the risen bread was changed back to unleavened bread; and, who changed it back? Some murky history there … Carry on!