40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 25
Weekly Theme: Jesus Offers Us Provisions for the Journey
Today‚Äôs Meditation: The Passover
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 ‚ÄúThis month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire‚Äîwith the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord‚Äôs Passover. 12 ‚ÄúOn that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. 14 ‚ÄúThis is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord‚Äîa lasting ordinance.(Exodus 12:1-14)
‚ÄúObey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‚ÄòWhat does this ceremony mean to you?‚Äô 27 then tell them, ‚ÄòIt is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.‚Äô‚Äù Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. (Exodus 12:24-28)
But if anyone who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, they must be cut off from their people for not presenting the Lord‚Äôs offering at the appointed time. They will bear the consequences of their sin. (Numbers 9:13)
Today marks the beginning of a new theme. Over the next six days we will discuss ‚ÄúProvisions for the Journey.‚ÄùIf Jesus is the New Moses, coming to lead a New Exodus, it stands to reason that there will be a New Passover. In order for us to understand the ‚ÄúNew Passover,‚Äù we would do well to review the original Passover Feast. In reading the account of that first Passover, recorded in Exodus 12, it is difficult to miss the typological connections to Jesus and what He would do in the upper room and on Calvary‚Äôs Cross!
As we examine the Passover, we‚Äôll see that it was a focal point of life for the Israelites. Much like Christians look to the cross as the defining saving action of God, the Hebrew people point to the Passover as the central saving act of God on their behalf. The Passover is the first ‚Äúprovision‚Äù given by the Lord for the Children of Israel as they escaped their captors in Egypt. What‚Äôs more, it became a yearly springtime remembrance of the great Exodus from Pharaoh and 400 years of slavery.
What resulted from the yearly celebration of the Passover Feast? The Israelites remembered and reconnected with their past. It was a remembrance. But this does not mean it was simply to summon fond memories of a past event. This was an active remembrance that helped each generation identify with the Exodus as if they were there. So, this feast insured that the message and memory were passed down from one generation to the next. Further, in this yearly celebration, the Israelites renewed their covenant with God. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He called them, ‚Äúmy first born son‚Äù (Exodus 4:22). This sonship was established by covenant. Through sharing the Word and repeating the Sign of the Passover, the covenant relationship was renewed. Finally, in keeping the yearly feast, they obeyed the command of the Lord that the Passover should be a yearly remembrance. And, as Numbers 9:13 indicates, this is not an optional celebration. Those who fail to share in the Passover, ‚Äú‚Ä¶will bear the consequences of their sin.‚Äù
Let‚Äôs take a closer look at each step in the ancient meal of remembrance. Step one included the choosing of a lamb. Exodus 12:1-6 gives us the background. No ordinary lamb would suffice for this all important meal. This lamb had to be a male. It had to be one year old, that is, in its prime. And, the lamb had to be unblemished, or ‚Äúspotless.‚Äù
In step two, according to Exodus 12:6, the lamb was sacrificed at twilight. Verse 46 of Exodus 12 tells us that the sacrificial lamb could have no broken bones. For each family, the father would preside over the meal. Verse 3 tells us that, ‚Äú‚Ä¶each man is to take a lamb for his family‚Ä¶‚Äù Later, after the Golden Calf incident, the fathers were stripped of their priestly roles within their families. The Levites, who remained faithful, were set apart to lead in the sacrifices (Exodus 32:25-29). The Priests (who were all Levites), and the Levites (who were not all priests), carried out the ceremonial killing of the lambs and the application of the blood to the altar (2 Chronicles 30:15-16).
Step three called for the applying of the bloodto the doorposts (Exodus 12:7). After the lamb was sacrificed, the blood would be drained into a basin or a bowl. Verses 21-23 instruct us that the blood would be spread with a hyssop branch. The application of the blood was a visible sign of the sacrifice and it was absolutely vital! The Death Angel would ‚ÄúPassover‚Äù only if he saw the blood over the doorpost.
In step four, God required that the flesh of the lamb be eaten, along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8-11, Numbers 9:11). The lamb was to be eaten the same day it was sacrificed. God instructed them to roast the lamb and to eat all of it. If some was left over, it had to be burned.
Step five of the Passover was the establishment of this day as a yearly remembrance. God commanded that the Israelites do this as a festival unto the Lord. Passover became a yearly ‚Äúliturgy.‚Äù Each spring on the 14th of Nissan the feast was convened. It was celebrated as a lasting ordinance, meaning that this yearly remembrance did not have a termination date. After God establishes Israel in the Promised Land, Exodus 13:14 instructs the fathers, ‚ÄúIn days to come, when your son asks you, ‚ÄòWhat does this mean?‚Äô say to him, ‚ÄòWith a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.‚Äù This meal of remembrance connected each generation with the central saving action of God on behalf of the people. In sharing the Passover Feast, all of the Israelites could ‚Äúparticipate‚Äù in the sacrifice that initiated the Exodus. And, in a real sense, through the Passover, they could take part in that great pilgrimage to the Promised Land.
Tomorrow we will see how the first Passover lays the foundation for the New Covenant Passover Feast. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, ‚Äú‚Ä¶Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us, therefore, let us keep the feast‚Ä¶‚Äù As God made provision for the Israelites in the first Exodus, so too, Jesus offers us provisions for the journey of the New Exodus that He leads from Jerusalem to the Heavenly Promised Land.
Prayer for Today
Praise God for His saving acts on behalf of His people ‚Äì through Moses and the first Exodus, and more importantly, through Jesus and the New Exodus
Praise God for the amazing images in the Old Testament that help us understand the New Testament
Give thanks to Jesus for leading the New Exodus ‚Äì initiated by His Passion
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask for forgiveness
Receive His forgiveness
Ask the Lord to reveal someone who needs to ‚Äúremember‚Äù what the Lord has done for them, then, tell them the old, old story
‚ÄúWhen it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem‚Äù (John 2:13).