Why Unleavened Bread?
Originally scheduled for April 26
Have you ever asked yourself why Christ
unleavened bread to participate in his meal of all meals? The choice
of this lowly form of bread was not accidental, and carries with it
meaning for the Christian today.
The most obvious point is that it is a part of
the Passover meal. It retains its symbolism from the Old Testament,
from which we may note two things:
The reason it’s unleavened bread is
that there is no time for the yeast to rise before the Israelites
leave Egypt. They are in a hurry.
As Moses makes clear later on, (or
what we would call yeast) is the symbol of evil within the people.
Unleavened bread therefore is a symbol of the people purging
themselves of their sins.
The Christian application this is fairly
simple. The question is a pilgrim in this world; “just passing
through.” We not to make ourselves at home in this world, but always
be prepared for the journey ahead — even the journey through the
Unleavened bread is also a symbol of poverty.
Baking regular bread costs more, takes longer and (in the technology
of the time) is easier to burn. You might make a simple comparison
between homemade bread and pancakes. In our time we associate
homemade bread with do-it-yourself gourmet cooks. Pancakes are
associated with fundraising meals run by men who are much better at
barbecue and pancakes. The Christian application for this is also
quite simple; the Christian should accept what he has. If it has
pleased the Lord God Almighty to make you a rich man with a taste
for gourmet bread, so be it. The rest of us can just eat pancakes.
Perhaps the most unused symbolism of unleavened
bread comes with its physical characteristics. If you take the
unleavened bread of the type normally served for Passover you will
find that it brings literal meaning to the phrase, “breaking bread.”
You don’t slice it; you don’t cut it up you break it. When you break
it, it breaks with a snap — just like breaking a bone. The symbol of
your Savior’s body should be very clear in this.
Breaking bread has one other characteristic:
the only way to share unleavened bread is to break it. Communion is
a shared meal; if you going to share that bread, you have to break
it. By taking that shared bread you announce your brotherhood with
all Christians of all times. As you hear that bread snapped between
your fingers, you should hear your Lord’s body — and you should feel
the brotherhood that he established. So it is that he prayed that we
might all be one, just as he and the Father are one. Remember that
fellowship as you partake. Without the breaking of bread, there is
no sharing; without the breaking of our Lord’s body, there is no