After God made a covenant with the People of Israel at Mount Sinai, Moses and the 70 leaders of Israel
“saw God, and they ate and drank.” (Exodus 24:11)
the did not literally saw God but felt His nearness. Every year Gods People also came together for a special meal, remembering how the Most High was willing to come to the help of those that worshipped Him. It was the most significant meal in the Tanakh (Old Testament) that God required the People to eat and as such Jesus (the Nazarene Jeshua, being a devout Jew) also took every year, as required by Scriptures, the occasion to have a Passover meal with those he loved.
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
(Exodus 12:14-17 KJB:PCE)
Jesus had more than once had meals with common people, sinners and publicans as well intimate meals with his beloved ones. We may not forget it was not generally accepted to have friendship with publican, because they were detested by the Jews at that time, because they were the tax collectors and had a reputation of adding their own greedy motives to the amount they collected. Just like the fishermen, when the master teachers asked the tax-collector Matthew to follow him, he went with Jesus, who wanted those who wanted to be his disciples to follow him in his word and not to be slaves of sin. When Jesus knew his time was coming to an end the master wanted to have the yearly memorial meal with his beloved in an upper-room in Jerusalem.
This coming week, on the first night of Passover (Passover Seder: Friday, April 19), believers who participate in the traditional Jewish Passover meal (known as a Seder) will have the opportunity to celebrate and enter into fellowship with Jeshua (Jesus Christ) as he instructed his disciples to do, the night he was betrayed and arrested.
Over the centuries, this Passover meal evolved into a lengthy ritual, and we don’t know for certain which parts of the custom existed at the time of Jeshua. We do know that Messiah’s last meal with his disciples included the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, as do Jewish meals to this day, and that is the part Jeshua or Jesus wants us to remember the most.
As Jeshua’s disciples gathered together for their final meal with him, Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and said,
“This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).
In Christendom we can find lots of people who first of all think Jesus is God, Who would have come to earth and Who would through a mysterious process come into the bread itself. This is called transubstantiation and is practised by Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians, such as Greek, Ukrainian, Ethiopian, etc. as well as other denominations.
However, in the ancient Jewish practice of sacrificial offerings that God instituted, nothing ever transformed from one substance into another substance. Rather, most of the animal offerings were killed and eaten.
When Jesus said
“This is my body”
he did not have the intention to have those around him to believe the bread would have become part of his body.
Jesus often spoke about himself in metaphors, especially in terms of bread and life.
“I am the bread of life”
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:35, 51)
Throughout history we can see how God provide the food (literal and spiritual) for His people. The manna was bread for man. The spiritual manna now was this sent one from God, the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ.
Jesus his teaching about eating his body and drinking his blood should be taken as a figure of speech, having the spiritual manna provided and represented by those symbols.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
(John 6:53-58 KJB:PCE)
Symbolically consuming the Word of God is not a foreign concept in Judaism and Jesus is seen as that Word of God having come into the flesh.
When we shall come together this Friday night we shall have a gathering where we remember those last hours of our master teacher. Assembled we shall feel united with brothers and sisters all over the world, gathering in private houses or in prayer halls (Kingdom halls or churches).
“the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
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