The Celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday is an event that we commemorate every time we partake in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we share in the Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ by receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist.
When God unveiled himself in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the “Word of God made flesh” (John 1:14), we would presume that all the mysteries of God have already been laid out before us. Therefore, If everything has been revealed, then we have nothing more to explore about God; we would think that everything from now on is only about Jesus. But this dilution of the real message of the Gospel about our salvation is dangerous for our faith. This is one thing we must overcome by knowing Jesus Christ beyond His words and encountering His true person by the signs he used to identify himself as the Messiah. With Jesus Christ revealed as Messiah, the mysteries of God have taken on a new depth, a new reality and new dimension. He takes us to a new level, that is, the knowledge of God that sheds a brighter light on the beauty of the truth, especially when Jesus Christ proclaimed himself as the “Bread of Life”.
It is an undeniable truth that “God became man”. Many people often find this truth hard to comprehend, let alone grasping the concept of “God becoming bread”. But, if we look back at history and specifically the lives of God’s people in the time of Moses, we would see how God used key events to prepare future generations, such as you and me, to aid in the understanding of God’s purpose for becoming man and becoming bread. This can be found in the Book of Exodus.
What happened in the Book of Exodus?
#1. The First Passover
When God was delivering the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt, He sent nine plagues against Egypt to force Pharaoh to free the Israelites, so they could fulfill God’s plan — that is, to worship Him in the wilderness. But because Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he wouldn’t let God’s people go, God sent a 10th plague, when the angel of death passed over the land of Egypt, killing every firstborn of their children and of their flock. This was to show God’s divine justice towards the Egyptians who killed the firstborn sons of the Hebrews (in Exodus 1:16; Exodus 1:22).
In order for the Hebrews to be spared from the destruction of the tenth plague, they were instructed by God to sacrifice a lamb. It had to be a one-year-old, unblemished male lamb. It had to be slaughtered, eaten and its blood sprinkled over the door posts of the Hebrews’ houses. The blood of the lamb on the door posts was their protection from the angel of death. “The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).
The Passover, with the sacrifice of the lamb, became a festival for the Jews. As the Lord instructed them, “You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children… when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this observance?’ you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ And the people bowed down and worshiped”. (Exodus 12:24-27). The Passover was initially instituted for the remembrance of God’s deliverance and also as a sign of worship.
#2. Food from Heaven
In the wilderness, the people complained about the lack of food. The Lord heard them and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning, you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat’” (Exodus 16:12-15).
By a sheer act of God, the people of Israel were fed with meat and bread. This was no ordinary meal as the wisdom of the prophets suggest. “Mortals ate of the bread of angels; he sent them food in abundance” (Psalm 78:25). “You gave your people food of angels, and without their toil you supplied them from heaven with bread ready to eat, providing every pleasure and suited to every taste” (Wisdom 16:20). This meal was supernaturally satisfying to those who consumed it. “For your sustenance manifested your sweetness toward your children; and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it, was changed to suit everyone’s liking” (Wisdom 16:21).
#3. The Covenant at Mt. Sinai
During the Exodus, the Lord consecrated the Israelites as His own people. This means, entering into a covenant with God and following His commandments. “Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites’” (Exodus 19:3-6).
The covenant at Mt. Sinai was sealed with the blood of an animal sacrificed as a burnt offering. The young men of the people of Israel offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. “Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient. ‘Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, ‘See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (Exodus 24:6-8).
All of these key events that happened in the exodus, were merely “the shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1) – things that the Lord was going to be doing when He would finally be revealed in person among the people. It’s no coincidence that when Jesus came, He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus came to continue what had been started by Moses. But Jesus did this in a better way than Moses by bringing everything to perfection. How did He do this?
Dear people of God, find out how Jesus brought everything to perfection by reading part two of “Let God Be Your Bread”