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Communion (1995 Series)

Passover

Scheduled for April 20

This week contains the Jewish feast called Passover.  Many Christians are not aware that the Last Supper was in fact a Passover feast -- a feast in which Jesus revealed to his disciples that the Passover was a forerunner of his own sacrifice.  It is fitting therefore that we examine Passover, and see what might be learned about the Lord’s Supper.

 

Passover is so named because the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites while destroying the first born of Egypt.  The key feature is this:  the signal that any given house was to be passed over was blood on the lintel and doorposts.  Note that this salvation from death was not achieved by merit, or by being born in the right tribe, or by achievement -- it was simply a matter of claiming it.  If you believed the Lord would deliver, and said so in visible terms as he prescribed, you would be passed over in death.  Perhaps this seemed silly to some;  I’m sure a few of the housewives asked who was going to clean up that mess.  But the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man.  Passover starts with faith.  The Lord’s Supper is a visible demonstration of our faith.

 

Passover involves sacrifice.  A young lamb, in perfect condition, was to be slaughtered to provide the blood for the doorposts and the meal.  A perfect sacrifice was required;  the blood was the sign of salvation.  Jesus is our perfect sacrifice;  by his blood we are passed over in death.

 

Passover was a community ritual.  The requirement was that the lamb be completely eaten, or the leftovers burned.  The Israelite was to assemble his family, and if that were not sufficient in numbers, bring in others so that the lamb could be completely consumed.  So it is with us that the Lord’s Supper may not be taken alone, but in the presence of the family of God.

 

Passover was not an end, but a beginning.  It meant that the Israelites were beginning a journey to the Promised Land.  It was in many ways the beginning of the nation of Israel.  It was for most of them the beginning of their relationship with God.  So it is with us.  The Lord’s Supper is not the end, but the beginning.  We acknowledge our sojourn in this world.  By it we are made one people, the people of God around the world.  By the sacrifice it represents we have fellowship with God.

 

Passover was to be eaten in haste, dressed for a journey.  The Israelite was to be ready to go out and follow the Lord wherever He might lead, even though he was under a roof celebrating a feast.  He was to have his garments belted for a journey, his sandals on his feet.  Passover was to prepare him spiritually for the trip.  So it is with us.  The Lord’s Supper should be taken as if preparation for spiritual combat -- for such it is.  We are not here to relax in angelic arms, but to tighten our belts, put on our combat boots and prepare for battle.

 

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