“This month shall be to you the beginning of months, the first month of the year to you. Tell all the congregation of Israel, on the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb, according to the size of the family of which he is the father, a lamb for each house. Your lamb shall be without blemish. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall each kill his lamb in the evening. They shall take of the blood and put it on the two side posts and on the lintel above the door space of the houses in which they shall eat the Passover lamb. They shall eat the flesh that night roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. And you shall eat it thus: as fully prepared for a journey your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment, proving their helplessness. I am the Lord. The blood shall be for a token or sign to you upon the doorposts of the houses where you are, that when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be to you for a memorial. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; keep it as an ordinance forever. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall you observe this day throughout your generations as an ordinance forever.” [Excerpt from Exodus 12]
As we read this account of the way God intervened for His people, we see how He dealt with all of the things that the Egyptians worshiped besides the one true God, rendering them powerless before The Creator of all things. This night was the last in the series of plagues – it was the night God struck down the firstborn in Egypt, from the lowliest slave to the highest in the land, which was pharaoh’s firstborn son. Everyone who did not apply the lamb’s blood to the door post of their house in faith that God would keep His Word and spare them, was affected. There was a great cry in Egypt that night, enough to finally let the children of Israel go from slavery to great wealth as they left. And even then, God was not done with His awesome displays of deliverance. Pharaoh and his army eventually drowned in the sea.
The picture is clear – an innocent lamb without spot or blemish being killed to protect the household where the blood was applied. There is One greater than that Who came and shed His blood once for all time for many! He was without leaven – there was no blemish or sin to mar His life. Hebrews 9:28 says, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” We can be on the receiving side of that! We can apply the blood of Jesus to our own lives and receive His salvation. It is free! It embodies all the deliverance that the Israelites went through in the process of leaving Egypt.
Now, you may ask why I continue to keep the feast of unleavened bread. After all, scripture says that Jesus took all sins upon Him. And scripture also says we cannot earn righteousness by our works. One reason is simply because God said to keep it for all time through all generations. Not as an act of righteousness, but out of obedience, love and remembrance of Jesus, my Passover Lamb. It is a commemoration of His atoning work on my behalf.
Another fascinating correlation is that the day Jesus was resurrected was actually during the harvest - what was during the time of the first spring barley harvest, or Firstfruits. Paul reiterates this in I Corinthians 15:20-24, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.”
Jesus is fulfillment of all of these pictures painted consistently for us throughout scripture – both the old and new testament. It is a joy to remember the complete deliverance God offers us!
Chag Sameach! Have a happy and joyous celebration this season!