Learning Passover

About a year ago, we sat in our church in Kodiak, sharing a potluck style spaghetti meal with one another on the evening that we recognize the last supper. It was a good meal with good fellowship, and while we ate, our friend Lori stood up to share a beautiful lesson about the Passover meal. She gave the disclaimer at the start that she would be fine-tuning it for the younger audience who had little understanding, but I knew at once that I could count myself in that group of youngsters. There is little I knew (and still know) about this special feast.

It immediately brings to mind the final plague upon the Egyptians and the meal that God instructed his people to eat (bread without yeast, the unblemished lamb), as well as the blood on the doorposts, and the Angel of the Lord “passing over” their homes, sparing them from the plague. There was no death in those homes that night, while weeping and wailing filled every Egyptian home. And then, the Hebrew slaves were finally released, and set off into the desert (the Exodus). I understood that Jesus was symbolized in the lamb and the bread, pointing to the savior that was to come, but I saw it only as a tradition set in Jewish custom.

But is this meal really just to commemorate that? Is there something more? That evening last year, when Lori was speaking, I was struck by an amazing concept. Jesus, at the last supper with his disciples spoke to them saying (Luke 22:15-16) – “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And speaking of the wine, he said (Matthew 26: 27-29), “…”Drink it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (ESV, Bold text is mine)

This was profound to me. It was the first time I realized that the feast started countless years ago in Egypt was not intended to remain a “Jewish custom.” Yes, Jesus came and participated in that meal, as he did in all the Feasts, AND… it is a feast that will be completed with the entire family in Christ in heaven.

And if this is a feast that God started on earth, and intends to complete in heaven, then I want to know more about it now, and I want my children to know as well. Something stirred in me. A seed sprouting, as I later told Lori.

So this year, our family made our first “Passover” meal. We didn’t feel legalistic in any way about it (after all, we are saved through grace, and not by observance of the law), and I’m certain that under Jewish custom we likely missed any number of things…but the heart of it was present for us, and it gave us much to reflect on.

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These are a few things we talked about during the meal-

-The bread without yeast. Yeast is used as symbol of sin several times in the bible- (We read 1 Cor. 5:6-8 to reflect this to our children), and the bread without yeast reflects a man without sin – that person being Yeshua. It also demonstrates that the Jewish people would be sent out of Egypt immediately, and they did not have time for the bread to rise. Likewise, the bible declares that the Son of Man will return at an hour unknown to anyone, like a “thief in the night” (Matthew 24: 43-44). Our hearts must be prepared to quickly depart when that hour comes, much the same way as the Jewish people left Egypt.

-The lamb. We didn’t go out of our way here to find an “unblemished” lamb. Finding lamb at all in Quito (we were told to look for cordero, but in the end it was labeled something completely different in the store), felt like an accomplishment. This reflects the sacrifice. That God instructed the Hebrews to sacrifice and eat an “unblemished” one pointed again to the true sacrifice, Yeshua, who was without blemish or sin. Yeshua is the true Passover lamb, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of many. It is important to know that Passover lasts for seven days, and it was during this time that Yeshua was crucified and rose again. The timing of the sacrifice and the resurrection line up with the timing of the meal and the delivery of the Jews from Egypt.

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-“Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) God instructed the people to continue the Passover feast “throughout the generations” as a memorial day (Ex.12:14). And Jesus clarifies further, when he calls us to participate in this meal, as he did with the bread and the wine that evening with his disciples, in memory of him. He didn’t say “in memory of your freedom gained from Egypt during the Exodus.” Yes, it was about that, but only as a direct reflection of Yeshua, of the true sacrifice, the one that sets us free in every way. The whole thing points to him and prepares our heart to accept him and follow him when he comes for us.

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In Colossians 1:15-16, Paul speaks of Jesus, saying that all things were created through him and for him, and that he holds all things together. We were not made for ourselves, but for him! Jesus is at once our creator and savior, having planned his own sacrifice to bring us back to him. He always intended us to be his.

And it gets me thinking, in this world where stuff and status quo have such a grip on us, that it isn’t actually about anything that we have. It’s all about who has us.

Thank you, Yeshua.

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