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The Passover Bread and Wine

The Meaning of the Passover Symbols

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Jesus Christ, at His last meal with His disciples, commanded His friends and followers to remember Him in a specific way. Although He had earlier warned them of His approaching death (John 12:32-33 John 12:32-33 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
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), they found that certainty hard to accept.

But less than 24 hours later Jesus would be dead, His body hastily entombed and His disciples shocked, confused and scattered.

At that last meal, Jesus Christ told His disciples to eat bread and drink wine as symbols of His body and blood.

“…When He had given thanks, He broke [the bread] and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same manner He also took the cup [of wine] after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me'” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
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).

The New Testament Passover is one of the most widely celebrated observances of the Christian faith.

When we partake of the bread and wine, are we merely following a tradition? Does this ceremony have meaning for us in our era? How important is it that we understand the meaning of the Christian Passover?

Lack of comprehension

The first-century congregation of Corinth did not understand the significance of the Passover. They observed it “in an unworthy manner,” not “discerning the Lord's body” (verses 27 and 29); they did not comprehend its real meaning.

Because of their lack of understanding, Paul warned the Corinthians they could be “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord,” and if they failed to properly judge themselves they would be “eat[ing] and drink[ing] judgment” to themselves (verses 27, 29).

Paul took the Passover ceremony seriously. His warning makes it clear that Christians should not only observe what Christ commanded, but should understand the meaning of eating the bread and drinking the wine at the Passover service. It is vital that we understand the intent behind Jesus Christ's commands concerning the Passover. Christ said that unless we (symbolically) eat His flesh and drink His blood, we have no life in us (John 6:53 John 6:53Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
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). It is that important.

Once each year, on the anniversary of the night on which one of Jesus' own disciples betrayed Him, Christians should recall and contemplate the meaning of Christ's death through the observance of the Passover service (1 Corinthians 11:26 1 Corinthians 11:26For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
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). Paul told the Corinthian members that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
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).

The Passover service commemorates the death of Jesus Christ. By participating in the service, we personally proclaim the death of our Savior (1 Corinthians 11:26 1 Corinthians 11:26For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
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). We acknowledge that His dying paid the death penalty for us (Ephesians 5:2 Ephesians 5:2And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling smell.
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).

While the “blood” and “body” of Christ refer to the same sacrifice, Jesus Christ shows there is a clear distinction in the meaning attached to each of the two words.

Representing that differentiation are the two specific symbols: bread and wine. Let's examine the special significance of Christ's body and blood as represented by the two simple, unadorned aspects of the observance.

Jesus Christ's body a sacrifice

Let's first understand the meaning of the bread. “…As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body'” (Matthew 26:26 Matthew 26:26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
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).

The body of Jesus became an offering for sin, for “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man …offered one sacrifice for sins forever …For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10-14 Hebrews 10:10-14 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From now on expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
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).

Our partaking of the Passover bread indicates that we understand that Jesus Christ has put away our sin by the “sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26 Hebrews 9:26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
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). He willingly consented to suffer an excruciating death for us. His blood was not swiftly shed; He was tortured many hours before He died. He bore in His body the physical suffering caused by sin.

Under the first covenant the sacrifice of animals for sin by the Levitical priesthood could not remove the guilt of the ancient Israelites. Those sacrifices just reminded them of their sinfulness and were only types of the one future sacrifice that could remove all the transgressions of repentant sinners.

However, those animal sacrifices helped the Israelites understand how serious sin is in the sight of God. How much more should the sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of the whole world help us to understand that sin has brought nothing but tragedy and suffering on mankind. Jesus had to endure intense suffering for our sake.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6 Isaiah 53:4-6 4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
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).

At the Passover service, when we eat the bread that symbolizes the broken body of Jesus Christ, we should remember and deeply appreciate why He had to offer His body to be beaten and abused as a sacrifice for us. He was “smitten,” “afflicted,” “wounded” and “bruised” for our transgressions.

Why did Christ have to die?

Why was it necessary for Jesus to die that our sins could be forgiven? Sin is the violation of God's law of love. Through our disobedience, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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). We earned the death penalty because of our sins (Romans 5:12 Romans 5:12Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned:
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; Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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).

Paul explained the principle of a righteous man who would give up his own life as a replacement for one who is guilty (Romans 5:6-8 Romans 5:6-8 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
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). We would all be destined for the finality of death had someone not paid the penalty for our sins. Christ substituted His death for ours. His sacrifice became the payment for our sins.

By living a sinless life and dying for us, Jesus took on Himself the penalty that we ourselves should have had to pay. Jesus Christ died in our stead so we could share life with Him forever.

A new way of life

The Passover bread also reminds us of the close relationship Christians have with Jesus Christ, resulting in a new way of life.

After transforming five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food for a crowd of multiple thousands (John 6:5-14 John 6:5-14 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come to him, he said to Philip, From where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
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), Jesus was followed by crowds seeking Him for the wrong reasons-they wanted a free meal (verse 26).

“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life…” He told them (verse 27).

“…My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (verses 32, 33, 35).

Speaking of the future Passover symbols of the bread and wine picturing His body and blood, Jesus Christ said, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day…[He] abides in Me, and I in him” (verses 54, 56).

In Romans 6:1-6 Romans 6:1-6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
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, Paul shows that once we are symbolically united with Christ in death through baptism, “we should no longer be slaves of sin” but “should walk in newness of life.”

The bread we eat at Passover demonstrates our commitment to live in Christ and allow Him to live in us.

The apostle Paul described this commitment in Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Paul understood that controlling his own life was no longer important. His relationship with Jesus Christ, surrendering his life to the One who had willingly given His life for Paul, was now far more important to him.

The apostle John described this relationship very succinctly: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6 1 John 2:3-6 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
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).

The Passover bread reminds us that Jesus Christ, the true “bread of life,” must also live in us, making it possible for us to walk in newness of life, living just as He lived.

The Passover wine

Why did Jesus command His disciples to drink wine as a symbol of His blood? What meanings are wrapped up in this extraordinary analogy that are vital to our understanding when we drink the wine at Passover?

Notice the meaning Jesus gave to the Passover wine: “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom'” (Matthew 26:27-29 Matthew 26:27-29 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
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).

What does Christ want us to understand about His shed blood?

First, Christ knew that our drinking wine as a symbol of His shed blood would impress indelibly in our minds His death for the forgiveness of our sins. “This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:25 1 Corinthians 11:25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
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).

God forgives our sins through Jesus' blood. We are taught that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
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). Jesus Christ “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5 Revelation 1:5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
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). Christians normally understand this basic tenet of faith-that our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ-but not all professing Christians fully comprehend how this is so. Let's be sure we understand.

Paul explains that “according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22 Hebrews 9:22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
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).

In the context of the Old Testament, God instructed the priesthood to foreshadow the shedding of Christ's blood by a system of cleansing and purification through the blood of sacrificed animals.

He commanded the nation of Israel to undertake this temporary system of the ritualistic cleansing from sins (Hebrews 9:9-10 Hebrews 9:9-10 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
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). Animal sacrifices served as types of the one and only future sacrifice, Jesus Christ, who would pay the penalty for the sins of everyone once and for all.

Sacrifices were a reminder

In reality, the sins of the people under the old covenant were not forgiven through the blood of the animals they sacrificed. Those sacrifices only reminded them that they were sinners (Hebrews 10:1-4 Hebrews 10:1-4 1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
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).

All those sacrifices, with their emphasis on blood, looked forward to the real “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
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).

Further, the ancients understood that life is in the blood (Genesis 9:4 Genesis 9:4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.
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). When a person loses his blood, he dies. Therefore it is appropriate that blood make the atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11 Leviticus 17:11For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.
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). Jesus' blood was shed, or poured out, while He hung on the cross (Luke 22:20 Luke 22:20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
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; Colossians 1:20 Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
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). His life drained from Him when He lost his blood (Isaiah 53:12 Isaiah 53:12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul to death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
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). By allowing sinners to shed His blood, He gave His life for us.

When we drink the wine at the Passover service, we are to consider the gravity of its meaning. It represents the very life's blood that flowed from Jesus Christ's dying body so we may have complete forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 1:7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
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).

The shed blood of the righteous Jesus Christ for our sinful life should powerfully motivate us never to want to sin again. It is the way our merciful God chooses to reach us in our obstinate states of mind.

Our wanting never to sin against our Savior is not the same as our acquiring the means to overcome sin. To effect the necessary change within us, God provides us the help of the Holy Spirit. However, the blood of Christ deals a powerful blow to sin because His undeserved death for us is one reason we should not want to sin again. It is the realization of the magnitude of Jesus' sacrifice for us that should bring us to repentance (Romans 2:4 Romans 2:4Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
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). Upon our repentance and baptism for the removal of those sins, God imparts the Holy Spirit to enable us to change.

Conscience freed of guilt

The second point Christ wants us to understand about His shed blood is that not only does it cover our sins, but makes it possible for us to be rid of guilt.

Notice Hebrews 9:12-14 Hebrews 9:12-14 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
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: “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

When God grants us a pardon, we are no longer guilty in His eyes, but we still need to solve the problem of our guilty feelings-our guilty conscience. That is why Paul declares that the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. How can this be?

The word conscience comes from “conscire,” meaning “be conscious of guilt.”. Our conscience is our awareness of right and wrong. When a person has no sensitivity to or awareness of right and wrong, we say he has no conscience.

Paul said the consciences of some people are seared (1 Timothy 4:2 1 Timothy 4:2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
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); that is, they have suppressed their awareness of right and wrong and have no desire to alter that tragic situation.

When God calls a person whose conscience is still sensitive to right and wrong, and that person is faced with the understanding that someone else had to die for him-and all along he has been unaware of or ignored this truth-his conscience is affected (Acts 2:36-37 Acts 2:36-37 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?
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). The realization of this truth brings home to him how ungodly he is, how far he falls short of the goodness of God (Romans 5:6-8 Romans 5:6-8 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
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). He becomes acutely aware of his own guilt; his conscience plagues him.

What can he do?

His awareness of the awesome meaning of the death of Jesus Christ for his sins awakens in his conscience a desire to obey God (Romans 7:20-21 Romans 7:20-21 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
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). He can then accept Christ's sacrifice for his sins and have faith that Christ took all his guilt upon Himself. Now he can rest assured that he can continue in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4 Romans 6:4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
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) with a clean conscience; he can be confident that all his guilt has been erased.

No need for self-reproach

When our conscience is purged, we are freed from guilt. We were all guilty because we all violated God's holy law and fell short of His glory (Romans 3:19 Romans 3:19Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
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, Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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). Sin is breaking God's law (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
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). When our sins are removed after we repent (Psalms 103:12 Psalms 103:12As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
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), there should be no more self-inflicted guilt or self-reproach.

Unfortunately, many people still feel guilty after they have repented and have asked God to forgive their sins. While our conscience should rightly convict us if we sin again, we should not continue in self-condemnation over the sins God has forgiven, but be able to operate confidently in the freedom from guilt God provides (1 John 1:9 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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; 1 John 3:19-20 1 John 3:19-20 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
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).

We express our faith, our confidence, that through the blood of Christ we are truly forgiven when we partake of the wine at the Passover service. The taking of the wine should impress upon us that we are free from sin and guilt, and that we do not stand condemned before God or ourselves (John 3:17-18 John 3:17-18 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
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).

This is what it means to have “our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Hebrews 10:22 Hebrews 10:22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
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).

Access to the Father

The third point Christ wants us to understand about His blood is that it makes it possible for us to come before the very throne of God.

Under the old covenant, only the priest could enter the area of the tabernacle known as the “Holiest of All” (Hebrews 9:6-10 Hebrews 9:6-10 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
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). In it was the “mercy seat,” which represented God's throne.

In Leviticus 16 is explained a ceremony that took place each year on the Day of Atonement, when the high priest sprinkled the blood of a goat, representing the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on the mercy seat so the Israelites could be symbolically cleansed of all their sins (Leviticus 16:15-16 Leviticus 16:15-16 15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remains among them in the middle of their uncleanness.
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).

Because the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us and made us pure, each of us enjoys direct access to the Father (Hebrews 9:24 Hebrews 9:24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
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). Jesus, as our High Priest, has entered into the Most Holy Place by His own blood (Hebrews 9:11-12 Hebrews 9:11-12 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
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). In fact, we can approach God without hesitation or fear of rejection, but with confidence and assurance because of the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:19-22 Hebrews 10:19-22 19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
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).

Let us rejoice, when we take the wine of the Passover, that the blood of Christ has made us worthy to experience an intimate relationship with our Father!

Blood of the covenant

The fourth point to understand is that the blood of Christ signifies that He has entered into an agreement-a covenant-with us. When Jesus instituted wine for the New Testament Passover, He said: “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant…” (Matthew 26:27-28 Matthew 26:27-28 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
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).

Why is taking wine, symbolic of His blood, called the “blood of the new covenant”?

Once again we go to the Old Testament for background information. Paul explained that both parties under the old covenant manifested their agreement by the ceremony of sprinkling of blood. The Bible writers called this blood the “blood of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:18-20 Hebrews 9:18-20 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has enjoined to you.
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; Exodus 24:3-8 Exodus 24:3-8 3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD has said will we do. 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.
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It is of utmost importance that we understand that our repentance of our sins, our baptism and acceptance of the blood of Jesus Christ to redeem us from the penalty of eternal death-coupled with our belief in His promise to forgive our sins-constitute a covenant.

By accepting the blood of Christ for the remission of our sins, we enter into a covenantal relationship with the God of the universe. The terms of this covenant are absolute, because it was sealed with the shed blood and death of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11-15 Hebrews 9:11-15 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
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). We renew that covenant every year when we partake of the Passover. Let us understand the terms of that covenant relationship.

“'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,' says the LORD: 'I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,' then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more'” (Hebrews 10:16-17 Hebrews 10:16-17 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
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We have already seen a major difference between the old and new covenants. Cleansing from sin is no longer accomplished by the sacrifice of animals, but by the blood of Jesus Christ.

There is another major difference. Under the new covenant, we learn that God will write His laws in our hearts and minds. Under the old, God simply gave His laws on tables of stone. The Israelites agreed to obey His laws without understanding that, by their own human efforts, they were unable to do this (Exodus 24:7-8 Exodus 24:7-8 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.
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His laws in our heart

This shows us the chief weakness of the old covenant (Hebrews 8:7-10 Hebrews 8:7-10 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, said the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
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). Israel did not have the heart to faithfully keep God's commandments (Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
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). Under the new covenant, God is writing His law in our hearts and minds. Not the laws of physical purification contained in the system of sacrifices, washings and service in the tabernacle; instead, He is adding to our very being His holy and righteous laws, which define right behavior and attitudes toward Him and our neighbor (Romans 7:12 Romans 7:12Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
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When we partake of the wine, we acknowledge the covenant relationship ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are in effect saying we will allow God's Spirit to work in our hearts and minds, meaning that we will keep God's laws out of a deeply thankful attitude for His forgiveness of our sins. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit, we cannot muster up the spiritual strength to obey His laws.

The apostle Peter refers to us as the “elect…for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2 1 Peter 1:2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you, and peace, be multiplied.
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). The Passover wine is a yearly renewal of our agreement to this covenantal relationship.

As we can see, the Passover is one of the most meaningful events of the year in the life of a Christian. We have seen that some in the early Church who were partaking of the Passover symbols of bread and wine were guilty of the blood and body of the Lord because they never understood or bothered to learn the real meaning and significance of their actions.

They allowed neither the depth of spiritual understanding nor the appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ to effect a spiritual change in their lives (1 Corinthians 11:27-29 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
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). It is important for us to fully understand the spiritual implications of our participation in the Passover.