14 And when the hour came, (Jesus) reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:14-17, 19 ESV
The people of Israel, including several members of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, were in Egypt for 430 years, beginning with the famine foretold by God through Joseph. Initially, their time in Egypt was prosperous for the Israelites, but it evolved into a time of hardship and servitude. When God ultimately began to bring them out from slavery against the will of Pharaoh, He began to do so through a series of intense plagues. By doing this, God demonstrated that He, alone, was the ultimate authority over all creation and over all the gods of the Egyptians.
The text in Exodus states that through the plagues, the Lord “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart. It was clear from the start that Pharaoh’s heart was already quite hard towards the Israelite slaves, as he harshly increased their burdens the first time they requested time off from their labors to worship Almighty God. Pharaoh and the Egyptians worshiped many gods, and had no regard this new One. The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart would increase with each successive plague God sent his way, until finally Pharaoh broke on the night of the tenth plague, the first Passover.
The Passover is both a night of freedom and a night of judgement. It resulted in the death of all the first born in Egypt, from Pharaoh’s palace to the humblest household, finally leading to complete freedom for God’s people. Hundreds of years later, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples during the Last Supper, after which it took the death of God’s firstborn Son to give bring eternal freedom to those who believe in Him.
To avoid the judgement of death for sin, there needs to be a covering of blood. Throughout the Bible, the sanctity of the blood is emphasized. We are told that the life of men, women, children and animals is in their blood. Jewish law states that, because of this, the blood of any kosher food source must be drained and not eaten. Blood was also splashed upon the altar during Old Testament times as a cleansing for sin, to make holy in God’s sight. Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (or forgiveness) of sins.
To avoid God’s judgement during the first Passover, it was necessary for the Israelites to take the blood of an innocent lamb and spread it on the side and top doorposts of the entry door to the house. In a sense, this blood covering was in the shape of a cross. When the angel of death came by at midnight, it would “pass over” the house if it saw the blood on the doorposts. If not, God’s judgement of death was imposed.
Similarly, when our time of death comes, God will look for the blood of the cross covering our lives. With the blood of Christ as our covering, the judgement for our sins is placed on Him, and the judgement we deserve will “pass over” us, as well.
We do not need to understand everything about the necessity of a blood covering to know that God is serious about it. The circumstances and consequences of the first Passover lamb in Egypt, as well as of the last supper Passover of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, show the gravity of and need for this sacrifice to bring freedom from God’s judgement to us. Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection have provided for us the Way to live eternally with Him. We experience a Passover, from death to life.
Have you made peace with God through the Passover lamb of Jesus Christ? If not, this is a wonderful time to do so. Invite him into your heart today.
In Christ, we may face many trials and tribulations, but we are free from sin judgement. We experience the forgiveness and grace which became available to us when Jesus was judged for our sins and shortcomings, dying on the cross and rising again from the dead.
Each day, we may fall short in our desire to obey Him, but we are able to turn to Him for forgiveness, turn away from our sins and begin to again experience the joy of his Presence and fellowship with us. He wants us to turn back to Him, then to show others the same grace and forgiveness we have received.
Who do you need to forgive today? What would help you to take even a small step in that direction?
Sometimes, when we are disrespected in some way, shape or form, we can develop a festering anger or resentment towards another person or institution. It is often helpful when seeking to forgive others to journal about it, writing down resentments and presenting them to the Lord. We gain further benefit when we share about them with another trusted person. This process helps us to clear away any resentments that we bear. We can also pray for the people we hold resentments against and make restitution to them for anything we might have done. As we are cleared from resentment, we begin to experience peace, serenity and contentment in our life today.