December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘These are the regulations for the Passover meal: No foreigner may eat it. Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it. It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate it. A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.’ All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.”—Exodus 12:43–51 (NIV)
When I was about 13, I went to a Seder, which is a modern-day Passover celebration. At that age, I had no idea what Passover was or why it was observed. I remember going on a Monday night to a Jewish temple. Gathered around the table, we were told the story of the Passover, and then we were served roasted lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and a few other things I don’t remember. What I do remember, though, is the story of why they have Passover, and it brought the story to life for me!
It always excites me to read these passages in Exodus—I also love watching the movie The Ten Commandments and seeing this story come to life. And I pray that as you read today’s passage and understand what it means and what it has to do with us now, that it would excite you as well!
So, let’s examine our passage. At this time (approximately 3,500 years ago), only certain people could participate in Passover—basically, random travelers and foreigners outside of the people of Israel couldn’t partake. In essence, the Passover feast tells the story of God saving His people from slavery in Egypt, of their freedom and special relationship with the Lord, which was reserved for God’s covenant people, the people of Israel, whom God had adopted as His own.
Here’s where this whole feast takes on a new, exciting, and profoundly beautiful meaning: The Passover event and the yearly feast was merely pointing the people to something greater that was to come. Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, was the full and complete expression of the exodus and the Passover. Because of His sacrifice, we pass over from death to life and are set free from the shackles of sin and death; we enter into a special covenant relationship with the Lord, and we receive the promise of eternal life in heaven!
But unlike the old covenant and this feast which was for the people of Israel, the new covenant of grace through faith in Christ is open to all who believe. John 1:12 (NIV) tells us “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Isn’t that amazing? Not by our works, not by circumcision or perfect adherence to the requirements of the law, but by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Our equivalent to the Passover celebration is called communion, which you can read about in 1 Corinthians 11:23–25. It’s a beautiful tradition done to remember what Jesus did for us, and anyone who receives Him can participate. If you have never received Christ, make today the day! Trust in Him as your Savior, surrender your life to Christ, and He will receive you into His kingdom and give you a seat at His table!
Pause: Read Matthew 26:17–30 and 1 Corinthians 11:23–25. What similarities do you see between Passover and communion? What is the key difference?
Practice: Communion can be done anywhere at any time. This week, if you have received Jesus, take communion in your home. Remember and reflect on what Jesus did for you, and then do this in remembrance of Him. If you haven’t received Jesus, please reach out to us and we’ll help guide you into relationship with Him!
Pray: Father God, thank You for receiving me into Your kingdom. Thank You for adopting me into Your family and for setting me free from sin and death. Help me to remember the reality of the gospel each and every day. Amen.
Pastor Gary Adyniec is a graduate of Calvary Chapel Bible College. He holds an associate's degree in Biblical Theology and has served as a police chaplain. Gary and his wife Vicki are foster parents currently serving their 19th foster child.