Day 23: The Bread of Affliction
Do not eat it with bread made with yeast… eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste. Deuteronomy 16:3
After drinking the Seder’s second cup, the host breaks off bits of the matzo and gives it to the others at the table so they can use it to dip out a taste of the next two elements on the plate: the maror, or bitter herbs; and the charoset (Haroset), a sweet concoction. It is also known as the bread of humiliation or humility. It is possible that it is at this point in the Seder that Jesus gave the bread to Judas to dip into the maror or charoset to indicate to John the one who would betray him (John 13:26).
If you look at today’s matzo, you will see that it is covered with holes and has stripes on it from the way it is cooked. It reminds us of Isaiah 53:4b-5, “Yet we did esteem him smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him and by his stripes we are healed.” So when we think of Jesus as the bread, we can certainly see how he could be considered the Bread of Affliction.
But there is another perspective to this: we are to partake of him and enter into his affliction. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs…if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” And 1 Peter 4:13 tells us, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” This does not mean we will be beaten and crucified as he was, but it does mean that we are to take the bread of affliction by willingly suffering under the purposes of God, in whatever way he designs for our lives. It also means we communally eat of the bread of affliction with those in the Body that suffer. For we are told that when one part of the Body suffers, we all suffer with it.
• The bread of affliction was not meant to be consumed alone. We either take in communion with Christ or with his Body, the Church. In what ways has this been manifest in your life?
• What do you think Paul meant in Philippians 3:10 when he spoke about the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings? Have you experienced it?
Lord, Give me courage, endurance, and grace when you call on me to eat the bread of affliction with you or with your Bride.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries