Remembering the Passover & Exodus: a selection of passages & meditations
"It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover"

Scripture: Exodus 12:21-36

21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, "Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you. 24 You shall observe this rite as an ordinance for you and for your sons for ever. 25 And when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, `What do you mean by this service?' 27 you shall say, `It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he slew the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.

28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

29 At midnight the LORD smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of the cattle. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where one was not dead. 31 And he summoned Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, go forth from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also!"

33 And the Egyptians were urgent with the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said, "We are all dead men." 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their mantles on their shoulders. 35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked of the Egyptians jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing; 36 and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they despoiled the Egyptians.

Meditation: Moses instructs the people on how they must celebrate the Passover meal. They must sacrifice an unblemished lamb, since only a perfect sacrifice would be acceptable to God. The pascal lamb is a type of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus was the sinless victim offered on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21; Hebrews 4:15-16).

The blood of the lamb was to be smeared on the lintel and doorposts which caused the destroying angel to pass by. The blood on the doorposts is a type of the atoning blood of Christ's sacrifice which pays for our sins.

Moses gave further instructions for the lamb to be eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The bitter herbs signify suffering and serve as a reminder to the people that God delivered them from the bitter bondage in Egypt. The lamb could not be eaten raw or boiled, but had to be roasted over the fire. Fire is often used in the scriptures to denote judgment and hell. Christ, our true Passover (1 Cor. 5:7-8), underwent suffering and was slaughtered as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. John 19:14 says that Jesus' crucifixion began at noon on the day of preparation for Passover and Matthew 27:45 says that Jesus died at the ninth hour. This was the exact day and hour at which the Passover lambs were to be sacrificed in the Temple.

The bread had to be unleavened since it was to be prepared in haste. The Lord was coming to deliver them and they had to be ready. There is a spiritual significance to this since leaven usually signified something evil. The true unleavened bread is the purity and holiness of a life lived in Christ, as it is written, "Let us celebrate the feast not with the old leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor. 5:6-8).

God instructed his people to remember the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover and celebrate it yearly as a memorial service.  The Passover Feast was a commemoration of deliverance to remind the people of how God liberated them from slavery in Egypt.  The Passover lamb was a symbol of safety since it was the blood which kept Israel safe on the night of destruction when the Angel of death passed through the land.

At the Last Supper Jesus fulfills the Jewish Passover meal by offering himself as the true Lamb of God and perfect sacrifice for our sins. As a pledge of his love and in order to make his disciples sharers in his Passover, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper or Eucharist as the memorial of his death and resurrection and he commanded his apostles to celebrate it until he returns.  At the Last Supper Jesus directed his disciples' attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God:  "I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).

"Lord Jesus Christ, you are the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Purify my heart of all malice and evil that I may offer you my life as a pleasing sacrifice of praise and glory."  


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(c) 1999, 2001, 2002 Don Schwager