The New Passover
The New Passover
· Clear lesson from Gustav—preparation matters. I was proud of our governor, etc., and I know some of you feel the same way. As that storm passed over, the massive marshalling of resources to provide a way of escape for thousands of Gulf Coast residents really paid off.
1. Holy Communion is the NEW PASSOVER.
· 9 plagues had swept the Egyptian landscape leaving a swath of death and destruction. Blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness. And now something far worse is coming. Death is truly in the air now. 10th plague is coming—death of the firstborn.
· So the instructions to prepare for this upcoming horror. Kill a yearling—goat or sheep—doesn’t matter. Then take some of its blood and smear it on the frame of the door.
· Can you just imagine for a minute taking a brief ride through Treasure Island (for example) and noticing that most of the doors have blood smeared on their frames? What would you think? Some nut went around with a can of red paint and played a big prank of the residents of TI. Or, worse, some deranged killer has meandered through the neighborhood and left his sickening mark on every household in which he committed murder. I don’t know exactly what I’d think, but it would at least think—this is gruesome—ghastly. And so it was in the land of Egypt on that night. Blood everywhere. What’s up with that?
· It’s war! God fighting the forces of evil—the oppressors—the unrepentant sinners—the “gods of Egypt.” One message we’ve gotta get from this story of God vs. Egypt—God is serious about sin and he will destroy everything in his path in his battle against it.
· BUT—he provides a way of escape for those who will take it.
· Get the picture—2 totally different scenes were playing out on the dark night in ancient Egypt. Many homes were seeing a side of God that no one should ever have to see—they were buckling under the fierce wrath of God:
· Ex 12:29-31 (NIV) At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.
· In vivid contrast, homes marked with the blood of lambs were celebrating the wonderful mercy of the Lord. How were they able to celebrate? They listened and obeyed the Lord.
· And as the celebrated they also were preparing to leave Egypt—the grand Exodus from bondage was soon to take place—So the preparations were made in haste as the flight from Egypt would be done in haste.
· They roasted the meat—a nice quick way to cook it. They weren’t about to eat it raw like the pagans. See 12:9. They ate their bread without leaven. They're soon going to be on the run.
· Their preparation for the Exodus from Egypt points to an Exodus that was coming—one far superior to the first—the Exodus not from slavery in Egypt but from the slavery of sin.
· This is how they remembered God's mercy.
· Because of the blood death passed over them.
· The war still rages—between God and evil—God and the oppressor—God and sin—God and all the other so called gods of this world.
· But there’s a way of escape—also by blood—because of blood, death passed over us and so we remember God's mercy through the celebration of Holy Communion. You see . . .
· HOLY COMMUNION IS THE NEW PASSOVER.
2. Jesus is the NEW PASSOVER LAMB.
· Seems so cruel. I wonder how many lambs died that night. How many innocent animals were slaughtered so the firstborn of those household would be spared?
· The mass execution of yearling lambs and goats on that night anticipated an execution that would come centuries later—of course! The execution of God’s own son on a Roman cross.
· The link between Jesus and the Passover lambs of Moses’ day is unmistakable. Some NT writers drew this parallel quite clearly:
· John: In John 19:36 by highlighting Jesus’ unbroken bones John alludes to the fact that the death of Jesus resembled that of the Passover sacrifice. Ex 12:46 (NASB95) “It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.
· Paul: 1 Co 5:7 (NASB95) Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
· Peter: 1 Pe 1:18-19 (NASB95) knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
· That first Passover (and all those that followed) must have been a bloody mess. So was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We need to take care that we don't sanitize communion. It's all about remembering and a part of our remembrance has to do with a very violent death! If we aren't careful we'll allow ourselves to become too far removed from the reality of Jesus' sacrifice.
· Critical! The thousands of lambs slaughter on that first Passover night might have stayed God’s hand that, but the sacrifice of multiplied millions of lambs would never secure our salvation.
· Heb 10:4 (NASB) For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
· Only Jesus could do that. Only Jesus can provide safety as the onslaught of God’s holy wrath is unleashed upon humanity.
· You get it, I’m sure. That through the death of Jesus, death has passed over us—that is, if we’ve willingly accepted his sacrifice—just as the ancient Hebrews were required to paint the doorframes, we must allow the walls of our hearts to be painted with his blood. We accept his sacrifice in our place through faith . . .
· JESUS IS THE NEW PASSOVER LAMB.
- As we celebrate communion this morning, we are celebrating the New Passover and remembering God’s mercy as shown through the sacrifice of Jesus as the New Passover Lamb.
Hymn: #362 Nothing but the Blood