The Middle Matzah

If you look carefully at this painting, you will see a piece of unleavened bread, matzah, wrapped in a linen cloth placed on a slab in a tomb. In order to understand the symbolism behind this artwork, a specific event during a typical Passover meal needs to be explained.

In Exodus 12:8 God gave very specific instructions about how the Israelites were to celebrate the Passover: “They shall eat the flesh of a lamb that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” In every Jewish household at Passover, you have to mention the lamb, the matzah and the bitter herbs. Each of these elements point to Yeshua but I will mention only the matzah, in this explanation of my painting.

Just before Passover there is a ceremony in Jewish homes called the Bedikat Chametz, which entails searching for and cleansing the house of leaven, in obedience to Exodus 12:15 which says:

“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. Even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses. For whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”

Leaven is any produce of grain which ferments during manufacture. Throughout the Scriptures, leaven is seen to be picture of sin in our lives. The apostle Paul makes a reference to this in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8:

“Your glorifying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. Therefore purge out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us.”

So why did I paint a piece of matzah wrapped in a linen cloth?

There is a specific custom that takes place during a Passover dinner called the hiding of the Afikomen. On the table lies a pouch called the Matzah Tosh which contains three layers of matzah. During the first and second cup of wine being poured, the father removes the middle layer from the pouch and breaks it in half. Half gets put back into the pouch – the other half is wrapped in a white cloth and is hidden (buried)! The children at the table have to all close their eyes as the piece of matzah is carefully hidden. This hidden piece is called the Afikomen. The word Afikomen is from the Greek epikomen, meaning “that which comes after.” And that is precisely what happens. It is not eaten now – it is hidden until after the main meal.

After finishing a delicious Passover meal, the children are called for a “treasure hunt”, to search for the hidden Afikomen. The first child to find the Afikomen, takes it to the father presiding over the Seder, to receive a gift. It is then broken into smaller pieces and each family member eats it.

It’s important to mention that since the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, the Afikomen has taken the place of the Passover sacrificial lamb; and that Yeshua was crucified, at the exact same time that the lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple area.

So, how does the Afikomen point to Yeshua?

Messiah’s sinless body was ‘broken’ in death, wrapped in a cloth and hidden (as in burial) and then brought back to life by the power of God’s Spirit; those who actively search for Him will be found by Him and receive the reward of eternal life!

How amazing to see that the roots of communion (Luke 22:17-20) – taking of the bread and wine in remembrance of all that Yeshua has done for us – are founded in the Passover meal!

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