Have you noticed that many stores already have their Christmas decorations out? I’m not ready to start thinking about Christmas yet. Are you?
Just as we have our Christmas traditions, the Jewish people have celebrated Passover for almost 3500 years. We had a great lesson in our Connect Group Sunday morning. It was all about the meaning of Passover. We’d already discussed the week before how the ten plagues displayed God’s utter demolition of the false “gods” of Egypt. Now, both Israel and Egypt would see without doubt Who the one true God was. As the death angel “passed over” Egypt, blood from a sacrificed lamb protected the firstborn of any household where it was put. Jesus is the Passover lamb for all time. The name Jesus is written all over the Passover traditions. It’s sad the Jewish nation cannot see this.
Missionaries like Sam Wilson are working tirelessly to change this. One of the ways they use is by showing the symbolism in rituals such as the Passover. (Much of the information here came from a sermon he gave recently, but I did double check it with other sources.) We need to help in sharing this with all the Jewish people we know. Jewish people need Jesus too. He died to save them. The Bible is one book from Genesis to Revelation. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and from beginning to end, it’s all His-story–the story of God redeeming his people by sending His Son Jesus to live a perfect life, die on a cross, and be raised from the dead, and thus forever defeat death on the third day. He is our perfect Passover Lamb.
The unleavened matzo bread used in the Passover is striped and pierced. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of life.” Leaven represents sin. He was without sin. Almost a thousand years before Jesus was born, Isaiah said of the Messiah “he was pierced for our transgressions, and by his stripes we are healed.” Jesus was beaten so badly by the soldiers, His countenance was barely recognizable as human. Even before He was hung on the cross, He was “striped” to within an inch of His life. The centurion pierced His side, and the blood and water separated, indicating His heart had burst. Most crucifixion victims died of suffocation. He literally died of a broken heart. But the Jews didn’t take His life. He freely gave it up for all our sakes-Jew and Gentile alike-He loved us enough to die for us.
The Passover celebration typically included four (now five) cups of wine. The third cup was called the Cup of Redemption. At the first Lord’s Supper, this was the cup Jesus said represented His blood. Just as the blood on the lintels of the doorposts saved the firstborn from impending death when the death angel passed over, the blood of Jesus saves us from an eternal death. My daughter died at 27, but I know that someday I will see her again. If we know Jesus, the only death we face is a mere shadow. We are immediately transported to be with Him in Paradise to live forever.
The Passover was to be eaten standing, with sandals on the feet, and staff in hand, ready to go at a moment’s notice. I think this symbolism is the part of the Passover celebration that is yet to be fulfilled. When Jesus went back to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and make intercession for us, He told us to be ready for His return. Like the bridegroom who returns for his bride, Jesus will return for us. Like in the parable of the ten virgins, and in the Passover ritual, we are to be ready to go. Are you ready?