The Ultimate Passover

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Good Friday 2014, “The Ultimate Passover”

Exodus 12:1–13, “(1) Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, (2) “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. (3) Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. (4) And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. (5) Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. (6) Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. (7) And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. (8) Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (9) Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. (10) You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. (11) And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. (12) ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (13) Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

Introduction:
Although it may not have sounded like it, we just read the OT equivalent of Good Friday.  Today is the day that we remember the cross – the day we remember that blood was shed on our account.  That is exactly what Passover was all about.  When God gave the Passover, He gave a preview of Jesus.  A lamb was slain – blood was shed – death passed by for those who were covered.  Those were the events that night in Egypt, and those were the events on a different afternoon in Jerusalem as Jesus hung on the cross.  Jesus IS the Passover!

There are many things about the original Passover that parallel Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross.  Let’s look at a few tonight – and as we do, let’s think of what the Son of God did in supreme sacrifice and love on our behalf.

He is our foundation.  ““This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2, NKJV)  For the Hebrews, Passover marked the beginning of their calendar – the first of their months.  It was a new beginning for them, demonstrating a complete break with their former slavery of the past.  For 400 years, all the Hebrews had known was hardship and oppression.  They had masters that cared nothing for them, whether they lived or died.  And in fact, they abided in death, with no hope for the future.  All they could do was cry out for a deliverer, and God gave them one…and this night was the foundational night of new beginnings for them.  For the Christian, the cross is the starting point – our foundation.  It is for us a new beginning as well, for it is only because of the cross that we have the opportunity to be made into new creations.  Before Jesus, all we have is slavery and death.  We are enslaved to our sin, and we face nothing but death in the future.  But when we go to Jesus – when we receive of what He has done at the cross, everything changes.  We have a new beginning, and it is our foundation with God.  Just as an entire building rests upon a physical foundation, our entire relationship with God rests on the foundation of Jesus’ cross and resurrection.  Actually, that fact alone cannot be overstated.  We have nothing in God if we do not go through the cross of Christ. …  Many people want Jesus without the cross, because all they want is a nice moral teacher.  Many people want heaven without the cross, because they don’t want to admit that there is a terrible price and consequence to sin (they may not want to admit their sin at all!).  But it cannot happen any other way.  The cross is the beginning – and without it, we have nothing.  Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn 14:6)  If we do not go through the cross, we do not go through Jesus.  And if we do not go through Jesus, we cannot go to God.  He is absolutely foundational to anything we experience in God at all!

He is our righteousness.  “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” (Exodus 12:5, NKJV)  The Hebrews were to pick a lamb that was without blemish.  It had to be perfect, without anything that could disqualify it from sacrifice.  That’s exactly what Jesus provided for us: perfect righteousness.  He lived His life totally without sin – He had zero blemish.  He was the perfect candidate to be sacrificed precisely because He had no cause to die. … Think about that for a moment.  Who is it that receives the sentence of the death penalty?  Criminals.  In our culture, only the most heinous of crimes are eligible to receive a judgment of death.  It didn’t take nearly that level of crime in 1st Century Rome (nor did it require a similar burden of proof), but even so it was only criminals that needed to fear being placed on a cross, or fear any other sentence of death from the authorities.  If you kept your nose clean, paid your taxes, and obeyed the law (as oppressive as it may have been), you were in no danger of dying.  If that describes anyone, it describes Jesus!  There was no fault in this Man – He was completely sinless from beginning to end.  The Pharisees may have objected to the way that Jesus interpreted the Jewish law and regulations, but it could never be said that Jesus was a lawbreaker.  Even when it came to the issue of taxes, Jesus ensured that His own tax was paid and He gave no one any excuse to refuse to pay taxes to Rome.  Jesus endured much scorn and false accusations, but the one accusation that absolutely could not stick to Jesus was that of crime.  Even Pilate was forced to admit that he found no cause to put Jesus to death.  Jesus was completely and totally sinLESS when He hung upon that cross, dying the death of a violent man (as were the two men He hung between).  The moment Jesus was nailed to the wood, His actions were just as perfect as they had ever been.  There was no blemish in Jesus – there was no sin in Him – He did not deserve death at all.  But we did.  Jesus’ perfect righteousness becomes our perfect righteousness.  (And that leads us to the next point…)

He is our substitute.  “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:6, NKJV)  That was the purpose of the Passover lamb.  Something was going to die among that household, and it didn’t matter what household it was in the land of Egypt (Jew or Gentile).  Something would die.  It would either be the Passover lamb, or the firstborn of the family.  To save the life of the child, the substitute lamb was required.  The sacrifice would die so that the person could live.  Jesus is our substitute.  He took our place, enduring the punishment and wrath of God that we well deserved because of our sin.  Just as God had a righteous wrath to pour out on Egypt for their oppression and slavery of His people, so does God have a righteous wrath to pour out on us because of our sin and rebellion.  Every act of pride – every look of lust – every outburst of hatred or anger – every covetous hour of greed is evidence of the multitude of ways we have sinned against the Perfect God of the Universe.  He loved us enough to create us in His own image, and He desires that we would know Him in perfect fellowship, yet we all have turned aside, each to our own way.  We have done what is right in our own eyes, and thus have spit in the face of Almighty God.  Sin carries the wage of death, just it always has.  God told Adam and Eve that when they ate of the forbidden fruit that they would surely die, and that is exactly the sentence they came under the moment their teeth bit into the fruit.  Although they immediately died on a spiritual level that day, in that they needed to receive a new birth – there is only one reason they did not die physically that day as well: God provided a substitute.  The very first animal death recorded in the Bible is that of the animal from which God made tunics of skins to clothe Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21).  That animal served as a substitute for them – the Passover lamb served as a substitute for the Hebrews – the Lord Jesus served as a substitute for you & me when He hung upon the cross.  That was OUR death, and OUR punishment, and Jesus willingly took it in our place.

Please note they had to partake.  “Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.” (Exodus 12:8–10, NKJV)  It wasn’t a matter of having the lamb sacrificed in ritual; the people had to personally partake of that which was sacrificed for them.  They were commanded to eat of the lamb, which symbolized how they were personally and individually receiving the benefits of the substitution sacrifice.  …  We have to personally partake of Jesus!  We have to receive Him in our own life as our Lord and Savior, having asked Him to be our sacrifice for us.  It is not enough to know of the cross, nor even enough to know of the resurrection.  It is not enough to go to church, be it only occasionally or every single week.  It is not enough to repeat certain prayers, nor engage in any kind of ritual.  Any one of those things can be done without faith.  Any number of religious acts can be done without any effect whatsoever.  It means nothing if we do not personally partake of Jesus.  Every single day in America, multitudes of people die knowing all of the facts of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They can recite the truths that Jesus is the Son of God, crucified for our sin, and risen from the grave on Easter morning…but they don’t believe it.  They haven’t personally received of Jesus, knowingly asking Him to forgive their sins and to BE their Lord and Savior.  They haven’t received Jesus as THEIR sacrifice; they just think of Him as a sacrifice in general.

  • If you haven’t personally received of the sacrifice of Jesus, what are you waiting for?  There is hardly any better time to ask Jesus for forgiveness and new life than the week in which we remember the cross and resurrection!  You can partake tonight.  Don’t leave without knowing that He was not only the sacrifice for sin, but the sacrifice for YOUR sin.

He is our covering.  “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13, NKJV)  The blood of the lamb needed to be placed on the doorposts of the house.  This is what God needed to see in order to pass over the house, and spare the life of the firstborn.  Any home not covered with the blood would face death.  Sin is a bloody thing – a wretched rebellion against God that carries the penalty of death.  There is a reason that Jesus did not die of a stroke, or old age.  He had to serve as the propitiation for our sin, which means He had to bear the full measure of God’s anger towards us.  He had to satisfy God’s wrath towards those who had traitorously rebelled against Him.  That’s what happened at the cross.  At the cross, Jesus shed His blood for us – paying the ultimate price for our crimes.  And because He did, we are covered.  When we receive Jesus as our Lord & Savior – when we personally partake of His sacrifice at the cross, it is as if the blood of Jesus is placed over the doorposts of our hearts.  Thus when God looks at us, He does not see our sin; He sees the blood of His own Son.  Because Jesus shed His blood, our sins are atoned for – covered over and done away with.  The OT Hebrews could only look forward in faith to a time that their sins would be permanently dealt with; in Christ we know that it is finished!  We are covered by the blood of the Lamb.

He is our freedom.  “And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.” (Exodus 12:11, NKJV)  The Hebrews were to eat it that night with shoes on their feet, and clothed for the journey.  God was about to take them out of slavery, and they needed to be prepared to go.  The price for their freedom would be paid that night – though the death of the firstborn lamb on their account.  Because the price was paid, they needed to be ready to leave.  There was no reason to stay in Egypt.  Pharaoh would not only let God’s people go; he would send them out – telling them to leave!  … In the cross of Jesus, we have freedom!  He paid the price for us – there is no penance left to be paid.  Sometimes we get the idea that Jesus did most of the work for us at the cross, but we still need to feel the weight of guilt – we still need to do something in the sight of God to atone for our past.  Not true!  Jesus paid it all!  We have freedom because of His sacrifice at the cross.  Sin and death no longer has any legitimate hold upon us – we’re free!  Guilt and penance towards God is not needed – we’re free!  Now we serve God because we get to; not because we have to.  We are free to live as children of the Most High God, fully reconciled to Him.  How so?  Because His only begotten Son died for us, shedding His priceless blood on our account.  “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18–19, NKJV)

Jesus IS the Passover!  Jesus provides all of these things to us through the cross.  The innocent Son of God came as a sacrificial substitution.  He came as a Lamb, slain for the sin of all mankind.  By partaking in Him, we are covered, cleansed, freed, and redeemed.  The cost for all of this was tremendously high, but Jesus paid it willingly as the ultimate Passover Lamb.

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