Leviticus 23:5-8, ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.’
Historically, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a remembrance of God bringing the Hebrews out of Egypt. It begins at sunset of Nisan 15. In ancient Israel, days were counted from evening to evening, therefore sunset of Nisan 13 ends that day and begins a new day, becoming Nisan 14 and sunset of the following day closes Nisan 14 and begins Nisan 15. The Feast of Unleavened Bread continues for seven days until Nisan 21 and during this period only unleavened bread is to be eaten.
The first meal, eaten on the evening of the 14th, is special. After the Hebrews sacrificed the Passover lamb, they were to roast and eat all the flesh of the lamb together with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. No bone of the lamb was to be broken (Exodus 12:46).
We learned about the Passover in previous programs.
Jesus, the Bread of Life fulfils the Feast of Unleavened Bread
In John 6:35, Jesus said “I am the bread of life…”
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is symbolic of Jesus’s perfect sinless life and the fact that He as the Messiah of the Jewish people, offered Himself as the atoning sacrifice in their place.
The angel of death passed over them on the night of Passover, but as the lamb slain on their behalf, He had to be perfect…without spot or blemish, so Jesus our Passover Lamb was Himself, perfect and sinless, without defect or flaw of any kind. This feast is about the purity and perfection of the bread, it was sinless and without blemish or defect. A perfect picture of Jesus Himself. They were to consume this perfection for seven dayS and they knew that without the leaven, the yeast in the bread, it was symbolic of sinlessness.
Remember that for the first 3 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus was dead and in the tomb…it was after 3 days that Messiah defeated death and rose to life. Not only could death not hold Him, but corruption could not touch Him!!!
For seven days from Passover, only unleavened bread – symbolically ‘sinless, perfect’ bread that is both pierced and striped during the preparation and cooking process is eaten.
No Bones Broken
Though it was a common Roman practice to break the legs of the crucified to hasten their death, this particular practice wasn’t done on Jesus; none of Jesus’s bones were broken, just as the Passover lamb is to have no bone broken.
John 19:32-33, ‘So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.’
Sometimes, people could last for days hanging in excruciating pain on crosses, but because Shabbat was looming, the bodies needed to be removed and buried before Shabbat officially began, so to hasten their deaths, the legs of the crucified were broken to prevent them from raising themselves up to gasp for air. Once their legs were broken, suffocation resulted rapidly.
However, Jesus not only determined the moment of His arrest and crucifixion, He also determined the exact moment of His death.
John 19:30, ‘Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.’
When breaking the bread at His last meal, Jesus said to His disciples, “Take and eat; this is my body.” — Matthew 26:26.
In summary, leaven represents sin, thus unleavened bread is a good representation of our sinless Messiah, the Bread of Life. Jesus bore stripes from Roman beatings; the unleavened bread is marked with stripes. Jesus was pierced in His hands and feet and in His side when He was crucified; the unleavened bread has holes pierced throughout for cooking. Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, which translates from Hebrew: “House of Bread”.
Like the father of the home, during the Passover seder who wraps the unleavened bread in linen, hides (buries) it and later redeems it, Jesus was wrapped in linen, buried and He paid the price of our redemption with His perfect sacrifice.
The feast of unleavened bread requires God’s people to only consume unleavened, perfect, sinless bread for seven days. Perfect, pierced, pure, holy, striped unleavened bread. They had to be infused with this bread. Jesus had a very hard teaching that many couldn’t accept.
John 6:53, ‘So Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.”’
He wasn’t promoting cannibalism, but His people were always required to eat pure, sinless unleavened bread during the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread because it symbolised pure life for them. Sinless life. Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven, our Passover Lamb that was slain and shed His blood…blood that was posted over the doors of the Hebrews to save them from the angel of death.
Today, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are simply treated as one event, one week called Passover and Jesus, the Jewish Messiah is the absolute fulfilment of every element of it.