Passover was “the” holiday to celebrate and remember God’s goodness to Israel. It was on the night of Passover that the death angel passed over the houses of the Jews in Egypt and the Jews were saved from the sorrows of the death of the first born. It was then that Pharaoh freed them from slavery to begin the Exodus. Every year, the Jews were commanded to honor the Passover (Ex. 12:14). The Passover Festival was comprised of three feasts…. Unleavened Bread, Passover, and First Fruits.
Unleavened bread symbolized that “Bread of Life” that would one day come Who would be without sin. Yeast is “a microscopic fungus consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding and are capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide” (Copied). It is the carbon dioxide released from the process of fermentation that causes bread to rise. Yeast is a fungus! Nothing unclean, impure, or decaying is ever associated with God. Therefore, the bread that would represent the “body” of Jesus at the Lord’s Supper was to be without “fungus”.
It is for that reason that some scholars also believe that the “wine” at the Lord’s Supper was not fermented. The same process of fermentation that causes bread to rise works in the making of wine as the “yeast” feeds on the sugar within the grapes and converts it into alcohol. For those scholars, their argument is “why would the yeast be forbidden in the bread but that same ban would not cover the wine?
It was on this night of Passion Week that Jesus gathered with His disciples in the Upper Room to commemorate the “Last Supper” and to establish the “Lord’s Supper”. As they were reclining at the table, they could not miss the fact that Jesus was not Himself. He was heavy-hearted. His countenance was sorrowful. His tone was very somber. How was it that while the city was filled with the sounds of laughter, fellowship in the many households filled with their extended families, the smell of roasted lamb, and the anticipation of God working through Jesus to deliver Israel…. how was it that Jesus’ heart was not filled with joy?
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. (John 13:1-3).
Jesus knew the events that were about to unfold. The awful price that had to be paid to cover the sins of mankind was resting now on the Lamb of God. His betrayal, trials, beatings, mocking, and crucifixion were imminent. What the disciples could not see was about to happen, Jesus knew all too well. His desire to eat this meal with them was to give them time to hear Him speak to them one more time (John 13-16). He would pray for them (John 17). Once they left the Upper Room at the close of a full day, the longest, cruelest night and day for Jesus was about to begin. And, the redemption of mankind was at hand!