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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Easter Day Four: The Passover Lamb
By Danny Saavedra
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’”—Mark 14:22–24 (NIV)
Enjoying a great meal while celebrating a momentous day is a treat. Gathering with the people we love, celebrating, giving thanks, and sharing stories, memories, and dreams of the future is something we shouldn’t take for granted. It’s something we should cherish and get excited for.
In today’s passage, we’re dropped right into the middle of a celebratory meal between Jesus and His disciples. This meal, called the Last Supper, is recorded in all four Gospels and detailed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. So, what were they celebrating? It was the Passover.
Did you know the Passover celebration is arguably the most significant season of the year for the Jewish people, both in Jesus’ day and today as well? So, what is it exactly? It’s the celebration and remembrance of Israel’s exodus from Egypt when God rescued His people from Pharaoh’s hand. Before this, the children of Israel had been in cruel bondage and slavery for 400 years. But God is faithful and He had not forgotten His great promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:2). So, when the time came, God sent Moses to free His people from Pharaoh. But Pharaoh would not “let the people go” (Exodus 7:14 NIV), so God sent the plagues—gnats, boils, frogs, and more.
Finally, the tenth plague came: the death of the first born in every household. However, the Lord spared death and gave life to His followers who sacrificed a spotless lamb and applied its blood over their doors (Exodus 11–12). When the angel (“the destroyer” as Exodus 12:23 calls him) saw the blood, he passed over that house. It was after this plague that Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go.
Can you imagine what it must have been like in the upper room on that historical night in Jerusalem? Imagine having Jesus lead a Passover Seder—no one could tell the story better than Jesus! And even more surreal than that, imagine being one of the disciples who experienced the most beautiful thing about that night: how all the symbols and elements of the feast speak of Jesus. As He went through all the different elements and traditions, each part of the feast told the story of God’s ultimate redemption and deliverance, which He was about to live out only a few short hours later.
Here’s something you may find interesting: The word used for feast is miqra, which also means “a rehearsal.” The other word is mo’ed, which means “an appointed time; a fixed time; an exact time.” What an amazing picture! Just at the right time, God sent Moses to deliver His people, and “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son . . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4–5 ESV). Do you see that? The Passover was a rehearsal for the future to be celebrated every year—over and over—until, at the exact appointed time, the true fulfillment would come.
After 1,500 years of Passover celebrations, with the symbols of unleavened bread, wine, and a slain, unblemished lamb, the hour had come. No more rehearsals for the Passover had become reality! The night known as the Last Supper saw Jesus and His disciples celebrate the last Passover feast. In that upper room, Jesus took the wine, which represented the blood of the Passover Lamb and said, “This is my blood . . . which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28 ESV). He broke the unleavened bread, a symbol of sinlessness, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19 NLT).
The very next day, on the altar of eternity, upon a cross reserved for a criminal, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, became the Passover Lamb. “God presented Him as the atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand” (Romans 3:25 BSB).
Every time we take communion, we’re invited to reflect upon and remember what the Lord Jesus Christ—our Passover Lamb and exodus from the land of sin and death—did to bring us into a new life of freedom in His eternal kingdom!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.