In Exodus chapter 12 the first Passover takes place. As Christians, we take communion to look back and remember the death of Jesus on our behalf. Israel looked forward to this yearly event. Do you have a good understanding of the significance of this event?
In Exodus 12: 1-14 God provides insight as to what Israel needed to do concerning the Passover. This is a picture of the death of Jesus and the important truths that God wants emphasized. It was the start of all things new. In Exodus 12:1-2 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
God changed their calendar! And it has remained changed to this very day. Israel’s religious calendar is different because of what God said . Their religious calendar starts with the month of Nisan (March-April) and goes through to the month of Adar (February-March). Everything begins with the Passover. Jesus’ death on the cross is the beginning of the New Covenant of grace; it is the beginning of the New Creation . Once a person places their faith in Jesus, it is the beginning of real life as God had intended it to be.
God makes the Passover personal, by giving specific instructions. ‘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. 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.’
He wanted every household in Israel to identify itself with the lamb. They each had to take a lamb, they each had to inspect the lamb, and they each had to kill the lamb. . Just as each Israelite household had to kill their lamb, so our own personal sin was responsible for Jesus going to the cross. It also reminds however of His great love for each of us individually! Yes it is true that ‘God so loved the world that He gave his only Son…’ – He died for the entire world. But it is more personal than that. He did it for you, and he did it for me. In Exodus 12:5-6, he instructs ‘The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
Now it was said earlier that they were to take the lamb on the 10th of the month and keep it until the fourteenth of that same month, where it was to be slain at twilight. Matthew 21:1-11 speaks of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem… Palm Sunday, which was in fact the 10th of Nisan – the very day when the spotless lamb was to be chosen!
They were even required to cook it with care! Exodus 12:7-10 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. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.
There is a reason for this – Fire, in this sense, speaks of God’s judgement. Just as the spotless lamb had to be cooked by fire and anything that they didn’t eat was burnt up, so Jesus was fully judged for our sin while on the cross. Other cooking instructions included always adding bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The bitter herbs were to be a reminder of the bitterness that accompanied their life down in Egypt. And in like manner it is good for us, when thinking of the cross, to remember the bitterness and bondage that God has rescued us from. Leaven in the Bible speaks of sin (1 Cor 5:7-8) and this reminds us that in view of the cross, and through God’s strength, we are called to live a righteous life.
Having completed the recipe and cooking instructions, God now turns His attention to their attire. When they eat, it is to be with their sandals on and their staff in their hand
Exodus 12:11 ‘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’s Passover.’
The reason for this of course is that the Passover was going to be the means of Israel’s deliverance from the Egyptian empire; so they had to be ready, for the journey was about to begin! Like everything else in this passage, this has instruction for us. Believing in the death of Jesus Christ on your behalf is the beginning of an entire new journey, and an entire new walk. It’s the starting line, not the finishing line! It is the start of a new life!
Exodus 12:12-13 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 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.
So judgement was to come upon Egypt. The only hope for Israel was to be under the blood. Let me ask a question – Why were the Israelites saved – did it come down to their own personal worthiness? No, not at all… . It simply came down to whether they were sheltering under the blood of the lamb! I’m sure it was a frightening time…just like many of the trials and tribulations we go through but the rest and peace that we have as Christians doesn’t come from our own worthiness. It comes from the simple fact that the blood of Jesus has been shed for our sins. Jesus is our peace!
The Celebration continues…
Exodus 12:14 This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.
Finally we see that God instructed the Israelites to make the Passover a lasting ordinance – for it is a day worthy to be celebrated! Of course it is a celebration for God had redeemed them from the land of Egypt.
Shouldn’t we celebrate as well God has redeemed us from the world, and from the penalty of sin. The blood is over our lives and we have been declared righteous because of it!
The things that God wanted emphasized when He gave the Passover are some of the things we should think about in our own lives! When we take communion, its a new beginning! We are loved individual, its a personal thing! And believing in Jesus is the beginning of a new journey! We are new creatures in Him!
It should be a lasting celebration!!! Hallelujah!!
Be blessed on this beautiful Monday!