Q: I remember someone teaching that the unleavened bread served at Passover was supposed to be “striped and pierced” like our modern matzah crackers. This was supposed to create a symbolic link with the whipping and crucifixion of Jesus. I cannot however find a Biblical reference for this. Is this valid, or is it a fable or something added later to Passover by Christians?

A: Insofar as the Law of Moses is concerned, the bread for the Passover was to be unleavened, and no other rules are given. However, rabbinic law that came into being in between the two Testaments decreed that the bread must also be striped and pierced. The rabbinic reason given for this practice was to impede or slow down leavening so the matzah could bake before leavening began. So combining biblical or rabbinic law, the bread had to be unleavened, striped, and pierced. Taken together, the biblical and rabbinic laws provide a fitting description of the body of the Messiah, which was unleavened (sinless), yet striped and pierced.

The Bible focuses on biblical law, but sometimes it does focus on rabbinic law and sometimes on both. For example, the Mosaic law never mentioned wine as part of the Passover observance; and, therefore, the drinking of wine was a rabbinic innovation not a biblical one. Yet at His last Passover, Yeshua (Jesus) not only brought out the significance of the bread as representing His body, He also brought out the significance of the cup as representing His blood; and, therefore, in this case rabbinic law was validated.