We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
For thirteen hundred years, the Passover meal had pointed back to Israel’s physical deliverance from Egypt. But Jesus transformed the meaning of the meal. From that day on, it would point to the spiritual deliverance from sin Jesus offered through His death on the cross. Look at Luke 22:15-16: “[Jesus] said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’”
When Christ comes to earth to set up His millennial kingdom, we will eat the Passover meal with Him–not the original Passover meal, but the transformed Passover meal that commemorates the Lord’s sacrifice for us.
On the evening before His death, Jesus observed the traditional Passover meal. We call it the Seder. It is a very complicated meal that paints a picture of the deliverance Israel experienced from Egypt. Now, Luke was writing to the Gentiles, so he did not go into a detailed explanation of the entire Seder meal. Instead he focused on two parts of the meal to which Jesus attached a brand-new meaning. Verse 19 says, “When He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”
The bread Jesus took was unleavened. I mentioned one reason for that: when the Israelites were getting ready for the exodus, they did not have time to wait around for bread to rise. But there is another reason the bread was without leaven. In the Old Testament, leaven represented sin. Since this bread ultimately would represent the body of Jesus Christ, it had to be without leaven, without sin.
The fact that God’s Son came in bodily form is foundational to the Christian faith. We see the reason in Hebrews 10. These words are fascinating because they are the words Jesus spoke to His heavenly Father before He stepped off the balcony of heaven and implanted Himself in Mary’s womb: “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God’” (vv. 5-7). The writer continued, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (v. 10). The sacrifice had to come in human form. And the bread represents the fact that Jesus was willing to give up the perks and privileges of heaven to take on bodily form and offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “ In Remembrance Of Me” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.