Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Since it is Holy Thursday, I thought I'd post something on the connection between the Eucharist and the Passover. In evoking Jeremiah's new covenant prophecy - "the blood of the new covenant" (cf. Jer 31:31) - Jesus establishes the Eucharist as the new passover meal.
Passover not only functioned as a memorial of a past event, the Exodus, it pointed to the promise of a future restoration from exile, the New Exodus. As God once delivered Israel in the past, so he would deliver them again.
Since the first Exodus was effected through the passover meal, it is not surprising that restoration hopes were often linked with the pasch. In fact, Isaiah describes a great meal in connection with the New Exodus, in which the people of God celebrate their deliverance (much like Israel celebrated their deliverance from Egypt in the passover): “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow of wine on the lees well refined… He will swallow up death for ever and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces…” (Is. 27:6-8).
For a lot more on the Passover background of the Eucharist see here.