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Since the New Testament Never Commands Unleavened Bread in the Lord's Supper, Why Do We Think It Is Necessary?
by Caleb Colley
Passages to consider: Exodus 12:8-20; 13:7; Mark 14:12; Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Why Unleavened Bread for the Lord’s Supper?
And please appreciate that the person asking this question is not saying we shouldn't have unleavened bread. He's just saying I can't find a verse that says now shout have unleavened bread in the Lord's supper. So why would we insist that we must have unleavened bread in the Lord's supper? That's a good question. Isn't it? Well, the answer is we know precisely what kind of bread was used when Jesus instituted the supper. And we also know that the apostle Paul insisted that Christians performed the Lord's supper as it was instituted by Jesus in Matthew 26 and mark 14 and Luke 22. So let's think about some of these passages. Let's turn over to Mark chapter 14. And we're going to notice verse 12 in a moment. The background to this is that when Jesus instituted the supper, he was eating the Passover meal with his disciples. You remember the rules of the Passover are back in Exodus, chapter 12, verses eight through 20 and Exodus 13 and verse seven. And if you study that context, we're not going to go back to Exodus and read it for the sake of time, but go back to Exodus 12 and 13 on your own time, this'll be homework. Is it okay if I give you homework, go back to Exodus 12 and 13, and read about the institution of the Passover? And you will find one rule stands out, perhaps above all the Passover rules. And that is you've got to get all the wallet out of your house, all the leaven. And so the Passover meal was to be totally free of all of 11. And Jesus had his disciples prepare for eating the Passover. And it was in that situation that he instituted the Lord's supper. Look at mark 14, 12 on the first day of unleavened bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed. And of course, the days of unleavened bread, that was the feast. The seven-day feast that was begun with Passover. When the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, his disciples said to him, where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover? And that's where Jesus instituted the supper. So when he broke the bread, that was on the table on that occasion, there's only one kind of bread that possibly Jesus could have been breaking with them. And that was unleavened bread because remember, it's not just that they took some of the 11 out of the house, and maybe they had some leavened bread sitting around somewhere in the house. No, if you read the Passover rules, the house was clean of all the 11. So we know there's only one possible kind of bread that Jesus could have been breaking. And then when we turn to the book of acts in acts 2 42, and we read about the disciples continuing in the Apostle's doctrine and the breaking of the bread, that's The Lord's and the disciples were continuing in it. And then we turn over to acts chapter 20 and verse seven, where the apostle Paul stayed for six days and trow, as he was hastening to get back to Jerusalem, he waited six days. He had a 500 mile journey to make, but he waited six days because he wanted to eat the Lord's supper. He wanted the language of acts 20 and verse seven is he wanted to break the bread with the disciples. He wanted to eat the Lord's supper, and he knew they would do that on the first day of the week. And then we turn over to first Corinthians chapter 11. And this was the passage that we read this morning before we ate the unleavened bread. And we read Paul's instruction to the church at Corinth. And this is very critical for us to see that Paul was insisting the way that Jesus instituted the supper was the way it was to be eaten all ways, not just in the first century, but until the Lord returned. Can we read that together? First Corinthians chapter 11, beginning in verse 23, it says for, I received from the Lord notice, this is Christ's authority. That which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed. So we're back in that scene at the Passover meal, where Jesus instituted the supper, he took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, this is my body, which is for you do this in remembrance of me in the same way he took the cup. Also after supper saying this cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this. As often as you drink it in remembrance of me, here's our key verse for as often as you eat what this bread, what bread, same bread that the Lord broke. That's going to be unleavened bread. As long as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
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