This past April 8ththe Jewish observation of Passover began, just two days before Good Friday. This is no coincidence as Jesus had come to Jerusalem during the first Easter Week to celebrate the Passover, an annual Jewish feast since the very first one recorded in Exodus 12 commemorating God’s redeeming work through the Exodus – the deliverance of his people from Egyptian slavery. The Apostle Paul also affirmed the Christ connection calling Christ “our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7).” This week we consider The Passover: its context, meaning, key theological themes, and how Christ is our “Passover”.  

We find ourselves in Exodus 12, in beleaguered Egypt, reeling from the effects of nine plagues and under the threat of a deadly tenth. To this point, Israel has been spared the effects of these devastating plagues, but the tenth will be different. None of ethnicity, political alliance, or religious affiliation will save anybody: God will strike all the firstborn (man and beast) throughout Egypt. The first thirteen verses lay out the details as follows: introduction (vv1-2); instructions (vv 3-11); explanation (vv12-13). In short, a holy, just God is bringing judgment to all of Egypt’s inhabitants. Critically, as always, God’s judgment is merciful. To his people’s oppressors, God has pleaded to “let his people go”, but to no avail. And on that first Passover night, God provided a rescue; homes applying the blood of a sacrifice would be passed over, their sin covered, their lives saved.   

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Despite the fact that God’s people were oppressed in Egypt for centuries, they were also sinners themselves (see for example Ezekiel 20:4-10 which describes their idol worship during this time). Just as Paul affirmed, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)” The Passover reminds us that man needs a rescue and cannot, by any means, save himself. Just like Abraham at Mt. Moriah, he requires a substitute, and must lean upon the mercy of God.