You’re Invited To God’s Healing Meal

COMMUNION 2 - blue

 “I assume I am addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusion. When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the very life of Christ?”
1 Corinthians 10:15-16 (The Message)

Holy Communion was not an invention of the early church. Neither was it a spur-of-the-moment idea of Jesus the Messiah, simply to give a ritualistic flavor to this different faith movement that had captivated the disciples. The true meaning behind this holy convocation is deeply rooted in God’s relationship with His people, and traverses the centuries back to that ominous night in Egypt when the angel of death moved through the land. The only exclusions from this death sentence were the Israelite families, all of whom were saved by the blood … the blood of a lamb slain according to God’s direction. With the blood of that lamb applied to the doorposts and lintels of their houses, the death angel “passed over” them. The blood applied meant life to everyone in the house.

Then God issued additional instructions regarding the lamb. After the blood was applied, the body of the lamb was to be roasted and eaten (Exodus 12:8). Jehovah’s directions were: “Apply the blood, and eat the body.” There was special significance to this part of His instructions. God not only wanted to deliver His people from something – the brutal slavery of 430 years – but He also wanted to deliver them to something – the land flowing with milk and honey.

By this time the Israelites had grown to about 3.5 million souls, including everyone from the advanced in age to the newborn; from the robust to the physically handicapped, sick, weak, and infirm. The death angel would pass over them, and they would have life; but they also needed strength, physical health, and restoration in order to make the long foot- journey to their new home. Jehovah God was fully aware of these circumstances and already had the answer. His orders were, “Roast and eat the lamb”. And when they obeyed, the greatest healing and miraculous restoration service this world has ever seen occurred that night in Egypt.

The great King David confirmed the results in Psalm 105:37, “And He brought them forth out of Egypt with silver and gold, and there was not one feeble, [sick orinfirm] person among their tribes.” (KJV).

Down the centuries of time, on the Thursday night before Good Friday, Jesus the Messiah; the One whom John the Baptist introduced to the world as “The Lamb of God,” sat at a table with His twelve disciples. They were celebrating the Feast of Passover and were enjoying the Seder Supper.

After they had finished the meal, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it into pieces, and, according to Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 26, after offering a prayer of thanks to the Father, He distributed it to the disciples with the words, “Take and eat, this is my body.”(KJV).Then He took the cup of wine, which was the Third Cup in the Passover Service, and after giving thanks, passed it to the disciples with the words, “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”(KJV). Then He told them to do these things in remembrance of Him.To this day, that Third Cup in the Passover Seder is called “the cup of redemption,” which magnifies the truth that Passover is the Feast of Salvation.

As Jesus passed the unleavened bread and the wine to the disciples, notice that He did not say, “this represents” or “this is a token of”, or “here is a symbol of” my Body and Blood. He said, “This is my body, this is my blood”. We need not get involved in semantics or word wars over “how can this be?” We simply need to accept the word of our Lord. Martin Luther gave what is perhaps the best explanation when he said, “in, with, and under” the bread and wine, is the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One additional point requires some attention. Jesus admonished the disciples to celebrate this meal in remembrance of Him every time they did it. Jehovah had instructed the Jews to celebrate the Feast of Passover every year as a remembrance of His mighty deliverance of them from Egyptian slavery. But now, because of this instruction by Jesus, we take Holy Communion in remembrance of Y’shua, Jesus – the real Paschal Lamb who has fulfilled the Feast of Passover. It is His Blood that cleanses from sin and gives life that will never end. And it is His Body, broken for us, that gives us strength and health. Yes, Beloved, there is healing in Holy Communion!

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Jesus, Our Passover

(Note:  My wife Pam and I conduct “Christ in the Passover” services every year during the Passover/Easter season. These services include the full Passover celebration, including the complete Seder dinner. In each element of the service, we explain how that particular element represents Jesus Christ, and how He fulfilled the purpose of every aspect of the Passover celebration. Many of the photos with this article are from those services.)

“These are the appointed times of the Lord; holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of that month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover”  Leviticus 23:4-5.

In the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus, Jehovah God commanded the children of Israel to faithfully recognize a full calendar of feasts that He was setting before them.  He ordered Moses to proclaim to His people that these were the “Lord’s appointed times.” In other words: “I, the Lord God Jehovah have established them, and the times set are my times.”  What God did in these two sentences was to establish what is known as “The Seven Feasts of Israel.”  All of them would bring remembrances of some great thing Jehovah God had done for His people; and prophetically point to the future fulfillment of each by the coming Messiah.

It should be noted that on His last night on earth, just before His crucifixion, our Jewish Messiah Jesus chose to celebrate Passover with His disciples.  He placed His personal imprint on the celebration that night, in a way that would impact the Church for all time.

The Feast of Passover is the convocation that begins the Festival Year for the Jews, and occurs at the beginning of spring.  Exodus 12 and beyond tells in great detail the story of how the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage and slavery.  The critical time slot in this saga was the night of the tenth plague.  From this historic night, God begins to set dates.

Now, we need to understand that the Hebrew calendar is much different than the Roman calendar we use today.  It is a lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon, not on the revolutions of the earth around the sun. Each month starts with a new moon, and reaches a full moon in the midst of a 28-day cycle.  Passover always falls on the first full moon of spring, in the month of Nisan, the first month of the Sacred Festival calendar, and the month that is equivalent to our April.

Almond trees in bloom. Courtesy USAF, via Wikipedia.org

An interesting sidelight here is the beautiful story of how God uses the almond tree at this time of year.  This tree grows profusely in the land of the Hebrews and blooms at the end of winter.  Even if a Jew could not read or understand the calendar, he would not miss Passover. All he had to do was watch the almond tree: when blooms appeared, the next full moon was Passover.

Well, what is the meaning of Passover?  In one word: SALVATION!  On that night in Egypt, because of “a male lamb without blemish” and its shed blood, there was deliverance and life!  The message in both the Old Testament and New Testament is very clear: the Blood of The Lamb saves and delivers. That blood delivered the Jew from Egyptian bondage and death and the Christian from the bondage of sin and death.

It is no coincidence that Jesus was sacrificed on Passover.  He spoke with resolute firmness in Matthew 26:27, “This is my blood of the New Testament, shed for many for the remission of sin.” John the Baptist had declared earlier as he introduced Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River, “Behold the LAMB of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  God set the dates, and the principle involved here is present in all of the remaining feasts.

Table Being Prepared for Passover Seder Dinner
Table Being Prepared for Passover Seder Dinner

The faithful Jew today celebrates Passover in commemoration of the deliverance of their ancestors from Egypt while looking forward to the ultimate deliverance through the Messiah to come.  On the other hand, the Christian today, both Jew and Gentile, celebrates Passover, not only recognizing the deliverance from Egypt, but also seeing the feast as a prophetic shadow —  pointing to the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, who has already come and fulfilled this wonderful convocation.  In Egypt the Hebrew children marked their house with the blood of the lamb.  Today, as Christians we mark our hearts and body with the Blood of Christ, the true Paschal Lamb of God.  We have already been passed over; the death angel cannot touch us. Our eternal life has already begun — RIGHT NOW!

On that night, at the Passover table with His disciples, Jesus took the unleavened bread, gave thanks and broke it.  He then passed it to the disciples and said: “Take and eat, this is my Body given for you…”  Then He raised the Third Cup, “The Cup Of Redemption,” prayed the prayer of thanks, and passed it to the disciples saying, “Take and drink; this is my Blood of the New Covenant  shed for you…”.  And thus, our Holy Communion was born!  As they ate the Bread and drank the Cup Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” He is literally saying, “I am now the Paschal Lamb of God; it is My Blood that saves from death and brings life more abundantly.”

Enlarged Representation of the Seder Plate Showing the Foods Eaten at the Mean
Enlarged Representation of the Seder Plate Showing the Foods Eaten at the Mean

Not only did Jesus fulfill the Feast of Passover by going to the Cross, but He also fulfilled the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Feasts.  He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, arose from the Tomb on the Feast of First Fruits, and sent the Holy Spirit to His church on the Feast of Pentecost. In the not too distant future, He will fulfill the 5th Feast — The Feast of Trumpets — when He comes for His Bride!  Can you shout “GLORY!”?

 

Jesus – Our Passover Lamb

(Note:  My wife Pam and I conduct “Christ in the Passover” services every year during the Passover/Easter season. These services include the full Passover celebration, including the complete Seder dinner. In each element of the service, we explain how that particular element represents Jesus Christ, and how He fulfilled the purpose of every aspect of the Passover celebration. Many of the photos with this article are from those services.)

Conducting "Christ in the Passover" service

“These are the appointed times of the Lord; holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of that month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover”  Leviticus 23:4-5.

In the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus, Jehovah God commanded the children of Israel to faithfully recognize a full calendar of feasts that He was setting before them.  He ordered Moses to proclaim to His people that these were the “Lord’s appointed times.” In other words: “I, the Lord God Jehovah have established them, and the times set are my times.”  What God did in these two sentences was to establish what is known as “The Seven Feasts of Israel.”  All of them would bring remembrances of some great thing Jehovah God had done for His people; and prophetically point to the future fulfillment of each by the coming Messiah.

It should be noted that on His last night on earth, just before His crucifixion, our Jewish Messiah Jesus chose to celebrate Passover with His disciples.  He placed His personal imprint on the celebration that night, in a way that would impact the Church for all time.

The Feast of Passover is the convocation that begins the Festival Year for the Jews, and occurs at the beginning of spring.  Exodus 12 and beyond tells in great detail the story of how the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage and slavery.  The critical time slot in this saga was the night of the tenth plague.  From this historic night, God begins to set dates.

Now, we need to understand that the Hebrew calendar is much different than the Roman calendar we use today.  It is a lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon, not on the revolutions of the earth around the sun. Each month starts with a new moon, and reaches a full moon in the midst of a 28-day cycle.  Passover always falls on the first full moon of spring, in the month of Nisan, the first month of the Sacred Festival calendar, and the month that is equivalent to our April.

Almond trees in bloom. Courtesy USAF, via Wikipedia.org

An interesting sidelight here is the beautiful story of how God uses the almond tree at this time of year.  This tree grows profusely in the land of the Hebrews and blooms at the end of winter.  Even if a Jew could not read or understand the calendar, he would not miss Passover. All he had to do was watch the almond tree: when blooms appeared, the next full moon was Passover.

Well, what is the meaning of Passover?  In one word: SALVATION!  On that night in Egypt, because of “a male lamb without blemish” and its shed blood, there was deliverance and life!  The message in both the Old Testament and New Testament is very clear: the Blood of The Lamb saves and delivers. That blood delivered the Jew from Egyptian bondage and death and the Christian from the bondage of sin and death.

It is no coincidence that Jesus was sacrificed on Passover.  He spoke with resolute firmness in Matthew 26:27, “This is my blood of the New Testament, shed for many for the remission of sin.” John the Baptist had declared earlier as he introduced Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River, “Behold the LAMB of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  God set the dates, and the principle involved here is present in all of the remaining feasts.

Table being prepared for the Passover Seder

The faithful Jew today celebrates Passover in commemoration of the deliverance of their ancestors from Egypt while looking forward to the ultimate deliverance through the Messiah to come.  On the other hand, the Christian today, both Jew and Gentile, celebrates Passover, not only recognizing the deliverance from Egypt, but also seeing the feast as a prophetic shadow —  pointing to the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, who has already come and fulfilled this wonderful convocation.  In Egypt the Hebrew children marked their house with the blood of the lamb.  Today, as Christians we mark our hearts and body with the Blood of Christ, the true Paschal Lamb of God.  We have already been passed over; the death angel cannot touch us. Our eternal life has already begun — RIGHT NOW!

On that night, at the Passover table with His disciples, Jesus took the unleavened bread, gave thanks and broke it.  He then passed it to the disciples and said: “Take and eat, this is my Body given for you…”  Then He raised the Third Cup, “The Cup Of Redemption,” prayed the prayer of thanks, and passed it to the disciples saying, “Take and drink; this is my Blood of the New Covenant  shed for you…”.  And thus, our Holy Communion was born!  As they ate the Bread and drank the Cup Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” He is literally saying, “I am now the Paschal Lamb of God; it is My Blood that saves from death and brings life more abundantly.”

Enlarged representation of the Seder plate

Not only did Jesus fulfill the Feast of Passover by going to the Cross, but He also fulfilled the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Feasts.  He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, arose from the Tomb on the Feast of First Fruits, and sent the Holy Spirit to His church on the Feast of Pentecost. In the not too distant future, He will fulfill the 5th Feast — The Feast of Trumpets — when He comes for His Bride!  Can you shout “GLORY!”?

The Bread and the Cup: His Body and Blood

    “I assume I am addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusion. When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the very life of Christ?”

            1 Corinthians 10:15-16    (The MESSAGE)

                                                                   

Holy Communion was not an invention of the early church. Neither was it a spur-of-the-moment idea of Jesus the Messiah, simply to give a ritualistic flavor to this different faith movement that had captivated the disciples. The true meaning behind this holy convocation is deeply rooted in God’s relationship with His people, and traverses the centuries back to that ominous night in Egypt when the angel of death moved through the land. The only exclusions from this death sentence were the Israelite families, all of whom were saved by the blood … the blood of a lamb slain according to God’s direction. With the blood of that lamb applied to the doorposts and lintels of their houses, the death angel “passed over” them. The blood applied meant life to everyone in the house.

Then God issued additional instructions regarding the lamb. After the blood was applied, the body of the lamb was to be roasted and eaten (Exodus 12:8). Jehovah’s directions were: “Apply the blood, and eat the body.” There was special significance to this part of His instructions. God not only wanted to deliver His people from something – the brutal slavery of 430 years – but He also wanted to deliver them to something – the land flowing with milk and honey.

By this time the Israelites had grown to about 3.5 million souls, including everyone from the advanced in age to the newborn; from the robust to the physically handicapped, sick, weak, and infirm. The death angel would pass over them, and they would have life; but they also needed strength, physical health, and restoration in order to make the long foot- journey to their new home. Jehovah God was fully aware of these circumstances and already had the answer. His orders were, “Roast and eat the lamb”. And when they obeyed, the greatest healing and miraculous restoration service this world has ever seen occurred that night in Egypt.

The great King David confirmed the results in Psalm 105:37, “And He brought them forth out of Egypt with silver and gold, and there was not one feeble, [sick orinfirm] person among their tribes.” (KJV).

Down the centuries of time, on the Thursday night before Good Friday, Jesus the Messiah; the One whom John the Baptist introduced to the world as “The Lamb of God,” sat at a table with His twelve disciples. They were celebrating the Feast of Passover and were enjoying the Seder Supper.

After they had finished the meal, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it into pieces, and, according to Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 26, after offering a prayer of thanks to the Father, He distributed it to the disciples with the words, “Take and eat, this is my body.”(KJV).Then He took the cup of wine, which was the Third Cup in the Passover Service, and after giving thanks, passed it to the disciples with the words, “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”(KJV). Then He told them to do these things in remembrance of Him.To this day, that Third Cup in the Passover Seder is called “the cup of redemption,” which magnifies the truth that Passover is the Feast of Salvation.

As Jesus passed the unleavened bread and the wine to the disciples, notice that He did not say, “this represents” or “this is a token of”, or “here is a symbol of” my Body and Blood. He said, “This is my body, this is my blood”. We need not get involved in semantics or word wars over “how can this be?” We simply need to accept the word of our Lord. Martin Luther gave what is perhaps the best explanation when he said, “in, with, and under” the bread and wine, is the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One additional point requires some attention. Jesus admonished the disciples to celebrate this meal in remembrance of Him every time they did it. Jehovah had instructed the Jews to celebrate the Feast of Passover every year as a remembrance of His mighty deliverance of them from Egyptian slavery. But now, because of this instruction by Jesus, we take Holy Communion in remembrance of Y’shua, Jesus – the real Paschal Lamb who has fulfilled the Feast of Passover. It is His Blood that cleanses from sin and gives life that will never end. And it is His Body, broken for us, that gives us strength and health. Yes, Beloved, there is healing in Holy Communion!

Holy Communion is a special gift of God. May we never allow it to become ordinary! To the Lamb of God be all the glory!