Bread of Sacrifice: Day 10 of Lent
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” -Mark 14:22
Also Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19.
BREAD OF SACRIFICE. Passover centers on three pieces of unleavened bread and four cups of wine-as in the Seder on page 108. The most important bread is the third – “the bread of sacrifice” -which is eaten with the main course of roast lamb. There is a suggestion that the poorest families, who could not afford lamb, had to eat the Passover meal on the eve of Passover-and for them the bread represented the lamb. Either way, it is this bread, traditionally linked with the lamb slain for deliverance, with which Jesus now identifies himself. He sees his approaching self-offering as that of the Lamb of God.
So this is the reason for the secrecy, Lord:
not only for a new command, but for new sign and symbol, and new meaning.
The Passover bread of sacrifice is now sign of your sacrifice.
Whether they had roast lamb that night or not, you yourself are the Lamb,
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
This now is sign and symbol of your self-offering, laid wide open, exposed, vulnerable.
And not only sign and symbol, it is sacrament:
our oath of allegiance to you
and means of your grace to us.
Lord, as you opened the bread and opened yourself to us,
help me to open myself to you, open my hands, open my heart.