Learn why the Passover is perhaps THE most significant event in all of the Old Testament!
Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
There are a lot of Jewish Holidays or festivals
Many of which you probably recognize because you’ve seen them on the calendar, and hear them mentioned in the News every year.
Yom Kippur, Hanukah, The Passover.
And yet, the average American, unless they happen to be Jewish, isn’t all that familiar with what these days are actually about.
They might be able to say, “oh yeah, Passover!”
But most of people (and maybe you would include yourself in this category), couldn’t say much more about it.
So today, as we continue in our Rescue series on the Book of Exodus in the Bible, we’re going to take a detailed look at…Passover.
Which is described in detail, in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, since the Old Testament is synonymous with the Jewish Bible.
Now, at first glance, this might seem like a just another celebration regarding a past event, but I assure you, this is one of the richest and deepest sections of the entire Bible.
Let’s dive in
If you were not here last week, and haven’t caught up online yet, or if you’re visiting for the first time today, last week we talked about the 10th and final plague that God brought upon the Egyptians: The Death of the Firstborn Sons
At midnight, all the first-born sons of the Egyptians were killed.
Yet, as we briefly alluded to last week, God gave the Israelites a way to be saved from this plague.
Let’s take a look at that now.
(Exodus 12:1-14) – NIV
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
So, if an Israelite sacrifices a lamb, and puts the blood on the sides and tops of their door frames, they would be spared.
The Bible tells us in Leviticus that BLOOD represents life.
And notice here, that unlike the previous plagues, the Israelites are not exempt from the tenth, and most deadly plague
It’s coming upon everyone.
But, a lamb could serve as a substitute for them.
This was going to be a death that all deserved…because none is righteous…none are able to stand before God’s wrath as it comes through.
And yet, a lamb, as a substitute, would pay their debt of sin.
A MORE PERFECT LAMB IS STILL NEEDED
Now, if you haven’t read much of the Bible, and perhaps you haven’t, it may seem odd that a lamb gets so much attention here.
A lamb is not exactly an inspiring animal.
God is sending the Destroyer (this is where many people get the idea for the Angel of Death)…and what’s supposed to save you???
The wooly, little, meek lamb…that’s who.
But why a lamb?
The Bible in some sense, if we were renaming it, could have been called the Chronicles of the Lamb.
In fact, one of the quintessential stories really early on in the Old Testament is the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac.
In a test of faith, God has Abraham go up the mountain, and tells Abraham to sacrifice his own son Isaac.
The son who was going to have all the rights of the firstborn, the promised son who was supposed to be a huge part of making Abraham’s future descendants as many as the stars in the sky…
And as the fire is ready, and Abraham places the wood for the burnt offering on top of his son Isaac, this happens:
(Genesis 22:7-8) – NIV
7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
And God does eventually stop Abraham from sacrificing his son.
Abraham passes the test of faith.
But God doesn’t provide a lamb…turns out a ram shows up instead…to be sacrificed
The true lamb is still coming…still on His way.
Then, many years later, the Passover happens, and the people might have said, “Ah ha! The lamb has now come. The lamb is here. Unlike with Isaac, the lamb has now taken our place.”
And in some sense it did…but we’ll see that it’s not enough.
The people keep sacrificing…to make sure they can stay holy enough to stay close to God.
In fact, we’re told in Exodus 29 that this symbolism of the lamb sacrifice has now been become a daily ritual at the Tabernacle…and eventually the Temple in Jerusalem
(Exodus 29:38-39) – NIV
38 “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old.39 Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight.
Whenever a Jewish person came to the temple to worship, they would be reminded, no matter what day they came, that the blood of the lamb is being shed…in our place.
And this happened every day…day after day…year after year.
And yet their prophet Isaiah told them in Isaiah 53 that a more perfect lamb was still coming…a Messiah…who would suffer in their place.
The prophets say that this Messiah would bring people of all nations into His presence.
JESUS THE PASSOVER LAMB
So now go forward in time, and pretend you’re in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus
Like a faithful Jew, you visit the temple…you see the lamb being sacrificed (like they did every day…twice a day).
And every Spring, you celebrate the Passover Meal, or the Seder, with your family.
You would eat this special Passover meal, with your sandals on, staff in your hand, and no yeast in your bread…and you would remember how quickly the Israelites had to leave Egypt (they left that very night!)
And you remember how the blood of the lamb was a substitute for the sin of the people.
But, living in Jerusalem in those days, you keep hearing (along w/ everyone else), about this man who is taking Jerusalem and all of Judea by storm…it seems like the whole region is going out to see him…
His name (starts w/ a J): John the Baptist.
And John keeps saying that the promised Messiah is coming soon…and that he himself is preparing the way for Him.
And then one day, you’re out watching John baptize people, and all of sudden, John the Baptist starts shouting…
(John 1:29) – NIV
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
And you would think, “Could it be?”
Is this it?
Is this the final and perfect lamb like Isaiah prophesied would die for our sins, and the sins, of not just the Jews, but the whole world?
But you withhold your judgment for now.
You follow Jesus around, and you see Him do miracles and amazing things.
His teaching seems to be from God.
And then, after 3 years of teaching, He dies…
They kill Him on the cross.
And at first you doubt…how could this be the Messiah…He just died?
But then you remember, the lamb on Passover…was killed too…in our place.
We are told today in Exodus 12 that the Israelites were supposed to go out and choose their lambs on the 10th day of the month.
And then that lamb was to live with them from the 10th day until the 14th day.
5 days essentially.
Guess when Jesus makes his very public appearance in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, 5 days before he dies?
The week of Passover.
And for 5 days, from the 10th to the 14th day of the month, the Lamb of God (Jesus)…is with the people in Jerusalem…until He is killed.
But the night before He’s killed, Jesus, as you may know, eats of the very famous Last Supper.
But do you know what meal they’re actually eating during the Last Supper?
The Passover Meal. The Seder.
The next morning, the crucifixion of Jesus begins.
We’re told in Exodus 12, that the Israelites had to choose a lamb without defect to sacrifice…to pay the debt for their sins.
And fascinatingly, the same description is now used of the lamb, Jesus Christ, who was perfect...without sin.
1 Peter says that we were redeemed not with perishable things…
(1 Peter 1:19) – NIV
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
The connections here between the Old and New Testament are absolutely astounding…and certainly not by accident.
Another, seemingly minor detail in Exodus 12 was that they were not supposed to break any bones of the lamb (Ex 12:46)
And the Gospel writer John (who was an eyewitness at the crucifixion) tells us in chapter 19 verse 33 that none of Jesus’ bones were broken when he was crucified (which is amazing)
Most of the time, they typically broke the legs of the person being crucified, so it would go faster.
But not so with Jesus…He was the Passover Lamb, so God made sure no bones would be broken
(John 19:36) - NIV
36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”
The fulfillments continue.
Have you ever noticed that the Gospels tell us what time of day Jesus’ crucifixion starts and ends?
Mark 15 tells us that it starts at 9am and ends at 3pm
The morning after the Passover Meal, (that Friday morning), as many Jews as could fit, would have been at the Temple for the first sacrifice of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which started on Passover weekend)
And what they would have been witnessing was the two Daily Lamb Sacrifices…we talked about from Exodus.
Guess what time those happened?
9am and 3pm.
Corresponding exactly to the time of Jesus’ death.
And when Jesus dies, he says: “It is finished”
All of this perpetual sacrificing of the lamb, day after day after day…is over.
The perfect Passover Lamb of God, the one truly without defect has come, and given his life in our place.
And ALL may now approach Him, and be saved!
And the Jewish believers get this, and get it quickly.
If you would have been watching all of this, and your heart was open, the dots would have been easily connected.
This is precisely why God put so many of these rituals (like the yearly Passover meal) in place…
So the people wouldn’t miss it when the Messiah came.
Jesus is the Passover Lamb, and it says so explicitly in the new testament.
(1 Corinthians 5:7) – NIV
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
And just as the Israelites had their Passover Meal as a way to remember God’s amazing deliverance and look forward to His coming….
Jesus has instituted a new meal for Christians to remember his deliverance and look forward to His FINAL coming.
Look how the Bible describes this…watch how the section on the Last Supper begins…that Thursday night before Jesus died.
(Luke 22:7-13) – NIV
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
This Passover theme is all over the New Testament, but sometimes it’s hard to see unless we put all the right puzzles pieces together at the same time.
(Luke 22:14-16) – NIV
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
By the way, if you read Revelation chapter 5, it describes Jesus in heaven, on his throne, as the “lamb who ransomed people by his blood”
The Chronicles of the Lamb run all the way through the Bible, from beginning to End.
The passage continues…
(Luke 22:17-20) – NIV
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
And so now Christians are commanded to partake in this meal as a way to remember what our Passover Lamb did for us…
That He was killed, the lamb was broken, and it’s His blood on the cross that saves us from death.
And we are called to remember it, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, until Jesus returns.
There is such power in symbolism
The evangelical church, which is what you’re in now, doesn’t understand this as deeply as the Catholic church…or even the mainline protestant church.
But there is power in symbolism
Power in the symbol of baptism
Which, please come to our baptism tonight…
Every year, I always say, I wish I could somehow make this mandatory for everyone.
Like you can’t come back next week unless you come…it’s that powerful.
This will feed your spiritual heart like nothing else.
We have A LOT of people getting baptized and telling their stories tonight.
But the power is in the symbol of communion as well.
Jesus institutes it so we’ll always deeply remember the sacrifice of the lamb.
So we will take it together as a church today.
Later, when we go back into worship
There will be 2 tables in the back….with pieces of bread and a bowl of juice.
When you’re ready (anytime during those last 2 songs of worship), you can get up take an individual piece of bread and dip it in the juice.
It’s a powerful time to remember the sacrifice of the lamb
The Bible also tells us that whenever we take communion…that we ought not to do it in vain.
Just as Exodus says, “If you’re not a follower of God, don’t eat the Passover”
The New Testament is saying, “if you’re not sure you’re a follower of Jesus yet, then don’t take communion yet
Which brings us to perhaps the most important question of the day.
Do you know for sure that you are saved?
Because God brought Jesus, the Passover Lamb, come to eart…to save you.
(John 3:16) – NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Over and over and over again, the Bible says if you believe that Jesus died for you, what you’re believing is that “He died in your place”
Just like those Israelites, all those years ago…when they were enslaved in Egypt, would have said, “The reason I didn’t die tonight, is because that lamb died in my place”
Likewise, Jesus takes the punishment for our sins…and if we believe in Him, we can be forgiven of everything.
God will come in our lives right now, and start changing us.
And we can go to heaven and live in everlasting joy with Him.
But if we don’t believe…if we don’t accept Jesus as our Savior…then make no mistake, you are choosing, to not be forgiven
If the Israelites wouldn’t have put the blood on the doorframe, if they didn’t have the Blood of the Lamb protecting them, they would have died.
It was a plague of judgement for all sin, and if any Israelite was to go outside…to try and make it on their own, they would have been killed.
You cannot save yourself on your own
The first Passover was a preview of what Judgment Day will look like for all of us
One day, each of us will meet God Almighty.
And if you are not covered by the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ, there is nothing to protect you from Hell.
God is so in love with you…SO in love with you…He sent His one and only son to die a horrible, bloody death on the cross in your place…to save you from a just punishment like hell.
But if you reject that, and you don’t believe, there is nothing to save you from it.
This is Christianity.
I know sometimes that people try and dull it down and anesthetize it, but at its core, it’s a RESCUE story.
And God came to rescue you from hell…because He loves you.
Will you accept His protection?
Will you give your life to Him?
I just want to give an opportunity to anyone here who feels they haven’t given their life to Jesus yet…
Who feels, they’ve never, honestly in faith, said, “Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for me…that you’re the Lamb…and I give my life to you”
Is there anyone here who needs to be saved?
If you do, in just a second, I’m actually going to ask you to stand up where you are.
But first, let’s just all bow our heads and close our eyes.
If it’s time to believe that Jesus came and died for you and turn your life over to Him today….to accept His rescue…if that’s you…I want you to courageously stand wherever you are.
Anyone here that needs a Savior?
Without the Blood of the lamb, we are not saved from destruction
Anyone ready to give their life to Jesus?
If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but a prayer we pray because the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So, if you believe this, I also want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone else still has their eyes closed, I want to talk to those of you who are standing for just a moment
I need you to do one more thing for me.
It will only take a few small minutes, but I believe these are a few of the most important minutes of your life.
You’ve just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe in any scenario, that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do…In just a second, one of our leaders is going to come up and pray, but right before they do, I need you to quietly sneak out of your row, and head towards the hallway where it will be quiet.
I’m going to go out there with you…(along w/ a member or two of our follow-up team), and we want to give you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.
I promise you’ll be able to sneak right back into the service & back into your seats in just a few moments.
One of our leaders is going to come up here now and pray…
But for now, would you please had out there with me.
Go ahead. We can all go together.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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