The Missing Lamb
Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
As we approach this weekend, we are preparing to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. When you read Matthew’s account of the supper, one thing is missing from this Passover meal where Jesus powerfully transforms it into a meal about Himself. I often remind people that the Last Supper was originally a full Passover meal with meat, bread, herbs and wine—a much more substantial meal than my church’s slivers of pita bread that are dipped in a cup of grape juice! What is interesting is that the Gospels never mention the roasted lamb which was an essential staple of the Passover meal. The lamb was the sacrifice that covered their sins. Where is it in Jesus’ Last Supper?
Think about your upcoming Thanksgiving meal. In my family, we not only have Turkey but Chinese dim sum and sushi as well—which always confused my friends unfamiliar with Asian-American traditions. I’d be at their house for Thanksgiving and ask, “Where’s the Chinese food?” Could you imagine Thanksgiving and no turkey on the table? Perhaps not even a Tofurkey like our vegan friends enjoy! None of the Gospels record any reference to a lamb which a Jew of that time would expect. Why does Jesus not even speak of it? I along with others theorize that the sacrificial lamb is no longer needed on the table because Jesus the Messiah, the ultimate Sacrificial Lamb is at the table!
When Jesus transforms the Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper, He is saying salvation is now near. He purposely doesn’t choose the lamb to represent His body because with His sacrifice on the cross, a sacrificial lamb is no longer needed. Jesus is the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, the final Lamb ever needed to bridge the chasm between broken humanity and a perfect loving God.
A Lifeway survey a few years ago revealed Americans’ top new year’s resolutions with number one showing 57% wanting to pursue better health. Surprising to me was number two which at 52% showed that the majority of Americans wanted to pursue a deeper relationship with God. Even in post-Christian America, people are hungry for a spiritual encounter even if they don’t realize what they want or know how to achieve it. In these past several months of turmoil, people are looking for some kind of hope amidst the chaos of the world. Will Christ’s followers point people to the One who sacrificed everything that we might find true life?
The Bible proclaims that Jesus has bridged the distance between God and humanity and is the answer to the deepest longings of humanity. If people recognize that something is missing, perhaps God would use you to help them realize that Jesus is what ultimately they are looking for.
Questions to Consider
What ways has God used you in the past to demonstrate that a relationship with Jesus is what people are missing? How does knowing that Jesus is the last sacrificial lamb needed give you a fuller picture of the Lord’s Supper?
Father, thank you for sending the world exactly what it needed. Though the world did not recognize Jesus for the answer that He is—and continues to be blinded to His saving ways—help me to be a daily witness to his love that satisfies my deepest needs. May the Spirit give me new eyes to see people around me as hungry for a relationship with You or at least someone hungry for Someone they don’t yet know. Knowing that You are the Lamb to end all sacrifices I choose to feast on Your loving presence and relish in the fact that You gave Your life willingly so that all might come to know You. Amen.