Many in the Western world take communion on Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, as it is commonly referred to. We know there is a connection between Passover and Resurrection Sunday, but what about the connection between the Passover meal and communion?
When we miss the connection between the Passover meal and communion, are we missing out on part of our heritage?
The Lord’s Supper was when Jesus took the cup and gave thanks. He instructed the disciples to divide it among themselves. He also took the bread, gave thanks, and then broke it, giving a piece to each of them.
“When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”—Luke 22:14-19 (emphasis added)
Something is missing… not from the biblical text, but from our understanding of it.
- We must remember that the Lord’s Supper, or what is referred to as communion or the Lord’s table (see 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21), was a Passover meal!
When we fail to remember this key component of our heritage, we miss out on the blessings of understanding true spiritual freedom.
There is a traditional question asked at the beginning of the Passover Seder by the youngest child: “Why is this night different from any other night?” The response is given by the father, who tells the Passover story from the book of Exodus.
We could ask the same of communion today, especially when taken during Resurrection Sunday. “What makes this meal different from any other?”
We should be able to tell the next generation of God’s deliverance and freedom in Egypt and fulfillment at the tree at Calvary.
The Communion Meal
When we take communion, it’s typically not a “meal.” So why is it called a meal or supper? The answer is rooted in the observance of the Passover Feast.
When Jesus sat down with His disciples, the feast had been prepared ahead of time by Peter and John. It was to be eaten in “a large, furnished upper room” (see Luke 22:12). Jesus sat down with those closest to Him and invited them to pull up a seat at His table.
All of this took place so that those closest to Him would know what was about to happen—the fulfillment of the Passover. They did not fully understand it at the time, but in a matter of days, the scales fell off their eyes to reveal who Jesus really was—Yeshua Messiah!
Jesus was very intentional about the way He distributed and conducted the Last Supper. He wanted to ensure His closest friends understood the deeper meaning of the Passover meal.
The Passover Meal (or Seder)
When the hour had come, and the Passover meal was prepared, Jesus said He fervently desired to eat this Passover meal with the disciples. Do not overlook the world fervently… with immense and intense passion He ate with His friends. This was not just another meal, and it was different from the Passovers the disciples had celebrated years before.
It was intended to give a deep revelation of God’s plan for Jesus, for them as disciples, and for the world. It was a shadow of the reconciliation that was to come.
Holy Spirit later revealed to Paul (though not at this Passover meal with Jesus) that the great heritage and meaning of the feasts that the Church was to embrace held transforming power. This power would grow their faith and knit together the Body of Christ.
“…which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”—Colossians 2:16-19
Paul also wrote…
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”—1 Corinthians 5:7
The Bread, the Passover Meal, and Communion
The unleavened bread of the Passover meal and communion is a representation of the sinless body of Christ. In scripture, leaven is symbolic of sin. Removing the “leaven” from our lives is something only God can do. However, we can recognize when it is there and willfully turn it over to Him.
Taking part in communion reflects the remembrance of freedom given by God during the Egyptian exodus.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”—Exodus 12:14
And we see it again nearly 1500 years later as Christ becomes that Passover Lamb so that we can walk in eternal freedom.
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”—1 Corinthians 11:23-25
Just as the Israelites were instructed by God to clean out all the leaven from their homes, this is something we can meditate on today. Are there things in your life that you aren’t turning over to the Lord? Or maybe there are areas in your heart you aren’t letting His light infiltrate.
Customarily, after the leaven is cleared, the Passover ceremony begins with the lighting of the candles. Today, Holy Spirit is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path (see Psalm 119:105). We can light the Passover candles understanding that Holy Spirit guides, counsels, and protects us.
Ask Holy Spirit to give you a fresh look at this ancient observance—to reveal to you the parallels between the Passover meal and communion. Surrender your sin at the foot of the cross, declare the blood of the Lamb, and let Him order your steps.
The Wine, the Passover Meal, and Communion
There are considered “four cups” at the Passover table. These cups represent…
Click HERE to read about all four cups.
The third cup, the cup of redemption, was the cup Jesus held at the Passover when he said, “Do this in remembrance of Me…”
This cup is to remind us of the redemption that only God can give us. Though many think of this remembrance as a sad and somber occasion, we can observe it with joy.
Because we know that Jesus’ death was only a passing event. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father. We can remember Jesus suffered and died, but we can rejoice that He lives, giving us hope!
“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”—Mark 16:19
The connection between the Passover meal and communion is deeply rooted in understanding our spiritual heritage. To understand communion, we also must understand Passover. Jesus empowered the cup of redemption, helping us connect with its true intent during communion.