Exodus 12 gives instructions regarding the first observance of the Passover prior to God working the tenth and final plague on Egypt when God smote every firstborn except those who were passed over because they observed the feast. When Israel came into the promised land, the Passover was to be kept commemorating God’s power and plan to deliver His people from bondage (Ex. 12:25).
The Passover foreshadowed the cross of Christ by which God redeems mankind from the bondage of sin. Jesus, in fulfilling the law of Moses, celebrated the Passover (Lk. 22:15). During Passover time, He inaugurated the Lord’s supper (Luke 22:15-20). He then was sacrificed on the cross for our sins (Lk. 23:33). The New Testament identifies Jesus as the Passover lamb to which the Old Testament pointed (1 Cor. 5:7; Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:6). Just as the Passover lamb was to have none of its bones broken, so also Jesus died on the cross before the soldiers came to break His bones (Ex. 12:46; Jn. 19:32-36).
Since the Passover occurred during the Jewish feast of Unleavened Bread, it is obvious that Jesus used unleavened bread for the supper He inaugurated to commemorate His body (Ex. 12:8, 15; Mt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:23). Not only was the bread unleavened, but no leaven was in their houses during this week. The Jews were to remove all leaven from their dwellings in preparation for the Passover (Ex. 13:7). That the Jews applied this commandment to beverages as well as bread is clear from the Mishnah: “These also must be removed at Passover: Babylonian porridge, Median beer, Edomite vinegar, and Egyptian barley-beer” (Pesachim, 3.1). Thus, the “fruit of the vine” was not fermented (for then it would have contained leaven); it was what we would call unfermented grape juice in the cup that Jesus used to memorialize His blood of the New Covenant shed for the remission of sins (Mt. 26:27-29; Mk. 14:23-25; Lk. 22:17, 18, 20).
For generations, followers of God remembered how God saved the firstborn from the final plague on Egypt and fulfilled His promise to bring them into the promised land. Today, followers of God remember how God saved us through giving His only Son to die to bring us to heaven. God fulfilled His promise of His suffering servant bearing the sins of many (Isa. 53:12). The Lord’s Supper is commemorative of Christ’s death (1 Cor. 11:26). Jesus commanded we observe this memorial feast in remembrance of Him (Lk. 22:19).
Memorials are important. This memorial is of utmost importance lest we forget the price that was paid for us (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19). Spiritual blindness results from forgetting what God has done to remove our sins (2 Pet. 1:9). If we are not thankful for what God has done and refuse to glorify Him, we are on our way to serious wickedness (Rom. 1:21). Christians follow the command to remember Jesus Christ by coming together to break the memorial bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). As often as we do this, we remember Him (1 Cor. 11:24-26). We should not be moved to observing the Lord’s Supper less often. We need continual reminders. We need to continue steadfastly in teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers lest we forget (Acts 2:42). Let us come together on the first day of the week to remember Him.