Thursday – the 14th of Nisan
The time to celebrate the Passover is at hand, and earlier today Jesus gave his disciples instructions on where they should make preparations.
13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
At twilight the disciples slaughtered the passover lamb, and now Jesus is reclining at the table with the twelve. As they are eating, Jesus begins to teach them.
14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had 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.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
While the Passover commemorates God’s deliverance from the Angel of Death in Egypt, Jesus highlights another example of God’s mercy that also will be fulfilled by his sacrifice.
During the 40 years of wandering, God would shower Israel each morning with bread from heaven called manna. Exodus 16 says, “It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” God used this bread to miraculously sustain Israel and bring them life. This bread came down from heaven every morning (and a double portion on Friday for the Sabbath). He gave only as much as was needed for that day.
God used this bread to teach Israel about his life-giving mercy.
And Jesus taught his disciples early in his ministry that his body was like this bread from heaven, but much greater.
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6
Lamentations 3:22-23 is a verse Israel would have understood well from their time in the wilderness.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
God’s mercy in the form of life-giving bread came to Israel every morning, but just enough to sustain them for that day.
Now we have the true bread that came down from heaven, and when we eat of the body of Christ broken for us, we receive the benefits of eternal life and a peace that surpasses all understanding.
It is not enough to live off of yesterday’s success, for God’s mercy is new every morning. The mercy we need to walk by the Spirit today and not by the flesh is found in the body and blood of Jesus.
Tomorrow Jesus will be led like a lamb to the slaughter. Watch for a study on Christ’s teaching from the cross.
If you missed the articles from earlier this week, follow the links below: