40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 26
Weekly Theme: Jesus Offers Us Provisions for the Journey
Today‚Äôs Meditation: Christ ‚Äì Our Passover
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‚ÄúGo and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.‚Äù 9 ‚ÄúWhere do you want us to prepare for it?‚Äù they asked. 10 He replied, ‚ÄúAs you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‚ÄòThe Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?‚Äô 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.‚Äù 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, ‚ÄúI have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer (Luke 22:7-15).
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus spoke to Moses about the ‚ÄúExodus‚Äù He would lead from Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). Now, Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem. Events were about to unfold that would lead to the New Exodus. Jesus, the New Moses, instructs His followers to prepare the Passover. They were to make arrangements in an upper room. When the ‚Äúhour‚Äùcame, Jesus said, ‚ÄúI have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.‚Äù On that night, they would share the Passover Feast, but it would be different than any they had ever experienced!
Before we examine the differences, let‚Äôs focus on what the Passover would have been like in Jesus‚Äô day. First, recognize that it was 1,500 Years after the original Exodus. Liturgies develop over time. Some elements are retained while others fade away. For instance, applying blood to the doorpost, so central to that first Passover in Egypt, was not done in Jesus‚Äô day. On the other hand, four cups of wine became a central part of the meal as the Passover developed. Rather than families sacrificing their own lambs, they were sacrificed by a priest at the Temple. Also, the feast was celebrated exclusively in Jerusalem. Pilgrims came to Jerusalem to sacrifice their lambs and to celebrate the feast. Josephus, the Hebrew historian claimed that during Passover, some 2.7 million worshipers came to the Holy City, and over 250,000 sacrifices were made. It is also important to realize that Passover was first a sacrifice, and then a meal. After the temple was destroyed in 70 AD by Titus, the sacrifices could no longer be made.
So, on that night, Jesus would have been among the throngs who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast. But, in the upper room where Jesus met with His disciples, the Passover wouldn‚Äôt be subtly developed; it would be radically reinterpreted and transformed! Passover normally focused on the covenant with Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt, the wilderness wandering and entering the Promised Land. That night, Jesus spoke of a New Covenant. Normally the Passover liturgy revolved around the body and blood of the sacrificial Passover lamb. Jesus shifted the focus to His own Body and Blood, as if He was the sacrificial lamb (John 1:29). Normally the lamb‚Äôs blood was poured out on the altar. Jesus says, ‚ÄúThis is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for‚Ä¶the forgiveness of sins.‚Äù This would have reminded any Hebrew of Moses‚Äô words on the mountain when the Sinai Covenant was ratified. Jesus was not only keeping the Passover, He was deliberately altering it thereby instituting a New Passover. This is the New Passover of the Messiah, Who, according to rabbinical tradition, would come on the night of the Passover.
When Jesus took the bread, He said, ‚ÄúThis is my Body.‚Äù When He took the cup, He said, ‚ÄúThis is the New Covenant in my blood.‚Äù By placing His own body and blood at the heart of the New Passover, Jesus is stating that He is the new Passover Lamb! Consider these uncanny typological fulfillments. The Passover Lamb had to be a male, in its prime (one year old). Jesus was a 30 year old male ‚Äì in the prime of his life. The Passover Lamb had to be spotless, or unblemished. Jesus is the only ‚Äúspotless‚Äù or ‚Äúsinless‚Äù man. The Passover Lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus was sacrificed on the cross. The blood of the Passover Lamb had to be applied. Jesus‚Äô blood has to be applied. ‚Äú‚Ä¶Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins‚Äù. In the first Passover, they had to eat the lamb. At the Lord‚Äôs Table, Jesus offers us a way to ‚Äúeat‚Äù the New Passover Lamb. The first lamb could have no broken bones. When Jesus was on the cross, the soldiers did not have to break His legs because He was already dead. The Passover is a thanksgiving meal. Jesus, ‚Äúgave thanks,‚Äù before sharing the New Passover Feast. Both the original and the New Passover Feasts are covenant establishing meals, and by repeating them, the covenant was/is renewed. Jesus instructed the Apostles to, ‚ÄúDo this in remembrance of me.‚Äù In saying this, Jesus instituted the New Passover as a repeated ordinance, just like the first Passover was to be an everlasting ordinance.
Finally, both the Passover and the New Passover are meals of ‚Äúremembrance.‚ÄùBut, this is far more than just summoning a sad thought about a past event. This is an active remembrance (anamnesis) whereby later generations can experience the power of a past event. In the first Passover, those far removed from the Exodus could say that they came out of Egypt as well. For those on the New Exodus, we can also experience the power of the Passion of Christ even though it was 2000 years ago. Of this, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:16, ‚ÄúIs not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?‚Äù This ‚Äúremembrance‚Äù far exceeds looking back fondly on a historical occurrence. Here is an example. When the thief was on the cross next to Jesus, he said, ‚ÄúRemember me when you come into your kingdom.‚Äù He was not asking Jesus to think back to their times on the cross together. He wanted to reconnect with Jesus on the other side! This is the ‚Äúremembrance‚Äù of the first Passover and the New Passover ‚Äì instituted by the Lord Jesus.
As Jesus leads the New Exodus out of bondage to sin, death and hell, He gives us provisions for the journey. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus offered His disciples a New Passover Meal ‚Äì the Lord‚Äôs Supper. This meal has been called a great mystery. But, by considering the first Passover, we are given a great deal of information to help us understand the New Passover Feast.
Prayer for Today
Praise God for offering us a restored relationship through the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus
Give thanks to Jesus for being our New Moses, who leads us in a New Exodus, and who gives us the New Passover Feast as a provision for the journey
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recall and experience these things the next time we gather at the Lord‚Äôs Table to keep the feast
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask for forgiveness
Receive God‚Äôs forgiveness
Ask the Lord to reveal to you someone who needs to join you in the New Exodus
Ask for the courage to share the Good News that Christ has come to lead them out of sin, death and hell
‚ÄúFor Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Feast‚Ä¶‚Äù (1 Corinthians 5:7b-8a).