A friend asked me this question: If Jesus is the atoning sacrifice, and the Jewish priests (or anyone) did not eat the atoning sacrifice (the lamb killed in the Temple), why did Jesus command us to eat him as the sacrifice when he is now the lamb?
Considering how Jewish the Last Supper was, I doubt there would be something which breaks the customs of the Jews but let me know.
Well, Jesus’ command to drink His blood definitely went against Jewish customs.
The Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Passover. During the Passover, the lamb was sacrificed and eaten. So, same with Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus was sacrificed and is eaten, though obviously in a different way from the lamb because Jesus is not diminished when we partake of the Eucharist.
Simply because the Jewish priests, the scribes and the Sanhedrin didn’t recognize His death as a sacrifice. If they had, it would have been obvious to them why He said what He did in the Bread of Life discourse and they would have done so.
Jesus was our Passover Lamb. He was also our Sin Offering and our Guilt Offering (as well as being portrayed in all the other offerings).
The Priests would eat of both the Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering.
What I don’t understand (as a Jew), is why Jesus is the atoning sacrifice of Passover and not Yom Kippur? According to Jewish custom, atonement is made on the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur, not on Passover. The lamb of Passover is largely symbolic of one of the Egyptian gods (a lamb); it is part of the Seder ceremony on the Seder plate but is not eaten and does not represent an atoning sacrifice.
Jesus’ death and the circumstances around it seem to be a combination of both Passover and Yom Kippur.
Passover, in that the blood of Christ is seen as the blood of the Lamb on Passover when the lamb’s blood was spread over the doorposts so the angel of death would pass by. Christians see this in a spiritual way, in that if we spiritually place ourselves under Christ’s blood, spiritual death will Pass Over us. In other words, we will not die eternally.
Yom Kippur is especially represented in the episode between Jesus and Barabbas as seen in the Scapegoat Ceremony when the sins were laid on the Scapegoat and it was allowed to go free. The innocent goat was slain as the sacrifice. Barabbas, the guilty one, was set free and Y’shua the innocent one died as the atonement sacrifice.
Then the feast of First fruits proceeded Passover. Jesus rose on First Fruits and he is portrayed as the First Fruits of all those who would rise from the dead. (Christians later changed this to “Easter,” but originally, when Jewish believers were mostly prevalent, his resurrection was celebrated as First Fruits.)
I would personally say that his death fulfills both holidays even though it occurred at Passover.
Jesus completed the sacrificial system of the Jews with His own death, but completed the meaning of it in His resurrection and ascension. In the Mass we celebrated the entire paschal mystery, death-resurrection-ascension. The MEAL that we receive - the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus is Himself as He IS ("this IS my body…), and Jesus as He IS is resurrected and ascended.
That is, we receive and eat NOT the mortal, dead body and blood, but the resurrected and ascended and glorified Jesus Christ - the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the resurrected and glorified Lord as He IS.
BTW, this is why we do NOT participate in “cannibalism” as some anti-Catholics charge! Cannibals eat dead bodies; we do not. We receive into ourselves Him as He is now - thus the most intimate sharing with Him in His eternal life.
The two primary Old Testament “types” we find in the celebration of the Eucharist are the Passover meal and the heavenly manna. We also see the shewbread and the tree of life in the garden and even Yom Kippur. Jesus referred to his passion and crucifixion as his baptism, and in Jesus we see our eternal high priest baptized and then ascending to the temple “not made with hands” in heaven, to enter the heavenly “holy of holies” to present himself to God the Father.
But why on Passover? We see parallels in Jesus to King David, King Solomon, Joshua of Nun, Elisha, and more, but we also see Jesus as the new Moses (among other parallels, the nativity story of Herod massacring young boys and Jesus’parents hiding him away (im Egypt, also an Abraham/Israel parallel it looks like)). Where as Moses led the Israelites out of worldly captivity from Pharaoh, Jesus leads us out of spiritual captivity from sin.
I typed more than I had to, but it is that leading out of slavery/bondage that occurs in both stories. Also, he shields us from death as well, another Passover reference, insofar as Christ conquered death in his Resurrection and is the way to eternal life in God. Death, that spiritual death, passes over us so long as Jesus is in us (spiritually) and we will rise again to participate in God’s eternal life (not just animal life, or in Greek bios, but God’s true life, zoe). Passover is also participatory, in a sense, insofar as it is in remembrance of the original Passover, correct? We see the Euchatist as similar. I’m sure there is more.