Kevin DeYoung / Apr 17, 2016 / Exodus 12:43-13:16
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Exodus 12:43-13:16 / Kevin DeYoung / April 17, 2016
And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
All the people of Israel did just as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.
The LORD said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.
“When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.” Exodus 12:43-13:16
Do you remember a poster that was popular a number of years ago—probably in the ‘90s, which I know was before some of you were born—that said, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”? “Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where I found them. Clean up my own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t mine. Say I’m sorry when I hurt somebody. Wash my hands before I eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Take a nap every afternoon.” On and on and on. There are some things I could do there.
Then after that came any number of imitations that people put out. “Everything I need to know I learned from Star Trek. Set your phasers on stun. Humans are highly illogical. Non-interference is the prime directive. Live long and prosper.” We’re really getting our nerd on here. Then it was: “Everything I need to know I learned from my dog, my cat, my wife, my 6-month-old…” On and on and on. It was too much of a good thing—or at least too much of an okay thing.
Well, you can call this sermon “All I really need to know about the Lord’s Supper, I learned from Passover.” Later this morning, we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. You can see the elements behind me. The elders will come and distribute them.
We’ve been looking at the events and rituals surrounding Passover and the 10th plague for several weeks now, beginning with Exodus 11. This is the fifth sermon that has to do with this whole constellation of events: the 10th plague, the Exodus, the Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
In the institution of the Passover, we’ve seen what, why and when they were to celebrate. Now (at the end of Exodus 12) we come to the ‘whom’: who should celebrate this feast? They would celebrate the Passover on the first night, and then the subsequent seven days were the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The two feasts came together in the spring, in the month of Abib.
Now we see a third ritual that often took place in the springtime: the consecration of the firstborn. You can see two connections with the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One is that this would largely take place in the spring. Human children could be born at any time, but for cows, sheep, or goats, the birthing time would usually be in the Spring—the same time when they would be celebrating Passover and Unleavened bread.
But also, think of the Exodus and God passing over the firstborn of Israel. In keeping with that remembrance, we have this consecration of the firstborn. Those who were spared must be set apart, consecrated, and made holy unto the Lord.
These rites are important not just so that we can get a sense for what is going on in the Old Testament—though that’s interesting—but because they help us to understand what we are going to do later this morning when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Remember that the Last Supper that Jesus celebrated in the upper room with his disciples was a Passover meal. Consequently, the Lord’s Supper (sometimes called ‘Communion’ or ‘Eucharist’, which means ‘thanksgiving’) has deep roots in the Passover celebration. The first Last Supper was a Passover. Consequently, the subsequent Lord’s Suppers in remembrance of that evening have deep roots into the Passover celebration.
We’ve already seen (in 1 Corinthians 5) how Paul explicitly calls Christ our Passover lamb and draws from the Feast of Unleavened Bread to talk about our life as Christians. There’s connections here, so I want to give you six things we learn about the Lord’s Supper from Passover and these surrounding rituals.
A Family Meal
Look at Exodus 12:47. All of the congregation of Israel was to partake in the Passover. This was a meal for all of God’s rescued people. When we gather here around the table, we do so as a people who have all experienced the same divine deliverance. This was a great act of unity.
In verse 46, you see that they were to eat together in one house. It would be a family per household—or, depending on the size of the family and the size of the lamb, you might have several families per household, but the principle was the same: one lamb for one house. Everyone was under the same roof, eating of the same lamb, to speak to and reinforce their unity.
They were sharing a meal. Think of all the occasions in Scripture when God’s people gather around a meal, and how significant the anticipation of a meal is from the beginning to the end of Scripture. To dwell with God is to feast with him and upon him. What are we looking forward to in the New Heavens and the New Earth but the great wedding supper of the Lamb? Listen: if you like food—and I hope you do—you are being as God created you to be. We can make food idolatrous, and we can eat it in unhealthy ways, but we are meant to love food. It’s a gift from God (1 Timothy 4), and it’s one of the things that we anticipate in the life to come.
When God wants to describe a warm fellowship between his people and himself, he talks about food. Even though when we take communion, it’s a relatively small piece of bread and cup of juice, it is to symbolize this feast, this gathering together for a meal. So many important things we do in our own life are gathering around food. We joke about how Christians get together, and all they do is eat. Well, I say it’s a biblical thing to get together and eat! We even do it on Sundays.
Here, they gather together to eat this Passover meal in a prototype of the Lord’s Supper that is to come. It’s a sign of their fellowship and relationship, and it’s also to be nourished and strengthened. This is why Paul says, later in 1 Corinthians 10:
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
The church is really an amazing thing. We don’t stop to think about it very often. I’m going to give you permission right now to do what would otherwise be rude. I want you to actually move just ever so slightly and look around. Go ahead. Look at the nice people next to you. Go ahead and turn around, you in the front. See these people? Yep, there’s a lot of folks—a pretty good crowd this morning. You know some of them.
I can see all of you, and I can tell that a whole lot of you have almost nothing in common. Some of you do. Some of us would be friends even if we weren’t Christians. We’d see each other at a sporting event, or we’d work in the same sort of area and live in the same part of town. Or you’d school your kids in the same sort of way, and you’d get to know each other. You’d be friends or acquaintances.
But there’s a whole lot of the rest of us in this church, and you know it. We didn’t grow up the same. We don’t eat the same. We’re not raising our kids exactly the same, though there’s hopefully some resonance there. We do different things for fun. We watch different things, and root for different teams. Maybe we see some political things differently. We have very different kinds of jobs and different levels of education. Some people have spent most of their whole life within a ten-mile radius of right here, but some of your homes are literally on the other side of the world. And yet, if we believe in Jesus Christ, we come together and (in a few moments) we partake of one loaf as one body. It’s amazing to think how much we wouldn’t have in common, but here we are.
In our world, we talk a lot about diversity. There’s a good way to want diversity, and there’s a way that just gets sort of clumsy or actually becomes intolerant. But here in the church, we have a wonderful diversity: under one roof eating one bread. It’s not just a diversity for the sake of saying, “Look how different we are.” It’s a diversity that shares one faith, one Lord, one hope, one baptism, one God and Father of all, with people whom you would otherwise never know.
It’s wonderful to see students who are just starting out in college and a man or woman who is at the top of their profession, a chair of their department. Here they are. They are not coming on unequal terms. They are all coming. Someone who is 15 years old and has professed faith in Christ comes on the same terms as someone who is 70 years old and has been walking with Christ for 60 years. All the congregation of Israel was to partake in this family meal.
Every Sunday is a great, glorious, and messy family reunion. When you get together with your family you think, “I’m so looking forward to this/dreading it.” Hopefully it’s a little bit better on Sunday, but that’s what it is like. It’s a family. “These are my people. I love to be with them. I’m so glad to see them. Some of them do drive me crazy. There’s some tension here and a weird family dynamic over there.” It’s amazing that we can get along as well as we do. What if you had an actual family reunion every single week? It’d be terrible. You’d move to Hawaii. But here what happens? One Lord, one faith, one baptism. We share this family meal.
Someone may ask the question: “This is the family. What about children coming to the Lord’s Supper? Were children participating here in the Passover?” Well, it seems that they were. At the beginning of Exodus 12, it speaks of a whole household coming together. Presumably, nursing children (who could have been 3 or 4 years old in that culture) were not choking down a piece of lamb, so not all children. There also seems to be, you notice, the implicit understanding that there’s instruction going on. The children participating are at such an age that they are asking some questions: “Why are we doing this? Why is this happening this way?” The father is explaining to the children what this means. So perhaps there is some age distinction going on.
Or it may simply be one possible point of discontinuity between the Passover and the Lord’s Supper. In the New Testament (1 Corinthians 11, in particular) we are told that we must discern the body in partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We must consider if we are eating in an unworthy manner. We must be able to discern something about the body of Christ that we are partaking of in this bread, which is why it is our practice at this church to not have children indiscriminately come and partake of the elements. But if you feel like your child is ready to make a public profession of faith in Christ, can discern in some way the body of Christ, understand what is going, and embraces this faith as his or her own, we encourage those children to come. There’s a process to join the church and come before the elders. So there may be some discontinuity here between the old and the new. Not everything is identical. But the larger point is that this Passover was a wonderful family meal for the household of God.
An Exclusive Meal
We saw last week (in Exodus 12:38) that when the people went up out of Egypt, a mixed multitude went with them. They had a group of people—not only Israelites, but maybe people from some of the surrounding Canaanite regions; from Egypt, in the north; or from Cush, in the south. Who got to partake of this Passover? Was it just for the Israelites? What about this mixed multitude?
We see here that this meal is set apart. We might call it sacred. To say that something is sacred doesn’t mean that it has magical powers or that ghosts somehow inhabit it. Sacred simply means it’s set apart, consecrated, not common, not ordinary. This Passover meal, once a year, was not the ordinary meal you had everyday. There are rules, like in verse 46: don’t take the flesh of the lamb outside. Don’t give it to others. This lamb’s bones are not to be broken, which we find fulfillment of in John 19:36. Christ on the cross is our Passover Lamb. Not one of his bones were broken.
It’s an exclusive meal, but as one commentator says, “The exclusion is not a matter of race, but of grace.” It had to do with who belonged to the people of God. I want you to notice, in verses 43 and following, that there are five different types of people in view. First you have the ‘foreigner’ (that’s how it’s translated in the ESV)—the Hebrew word ‘nekar’. You can think of this person as an outsider. The rule is that this person was not to partake of the Passover. Why? Because this person doesn’t belong to the household and people of God. This is someone who is completely outside of the life of Israel.
Then you have the second category: the ‘slave’—the Hebrew word: ‘ebed’. The rule here is that if the slave in your household is circumcised—that is, if the slave is willing and eager to be marked out as belonging to your household and the people of Israel—they can partake of the Passover.
The third category (in verse 45) is a little obscured in the ESV translation. It says “no foreigner”, which is the same English word as verse 43, but it’s a different Hebrew word. In verse 43, the Hebrew word is ‘nekar’. Here the Hebrew word is ‘towosab’, which is translated in some other translations as “temporary resident”. This is a little closer. It’s not just a foreigner who has nothing to do with the people of Israel, but someone who is a temporary resident. They’re not really establishing their roots there, but visiting for a time. That person also is not to partake of the Passover.
We have a fourth category in verse 45: the “hired worker”—the Hebrew word ‘wəsakir’. Each of these are a different Hebrew designation. This person is a day laborer. Think of the parable in Matthew 20 of the laborers in the vineyard. They received a day’s wage to come in and plant, reap, or harvest. This is the same sort of idea: somebody who comes, is not a part of the Israelites, but comes for the day or for a season and works. This hired worker, since they are not a part of the people of God, is not to partake of the Passover.
But then we have a fifth category in verse 48: “If a stranger”—the Hebrew word ‘ger’—“shall sojourn with you…” This is what we might call in our language a “resident alien”—somebody who is not an Israelite, but has made their home with the Israelites—who is not just hired for a few days or a season, is not just a temporary person who is passing through, but has said, “These are my people. This is my home. These are the ones to whom I belong.” The instruction for the resident alien is, if he is circumcised—that is, if he says “I want to partake of the Passover. I want to be a part of this community”—then he is able.
So we see that the Passover both allows for new people to come in and is, at the same time, fundamentally exclusive. Exclusive is a bad word in our day, but it simply means that this is not a table of common grace, but special grace. This is for those who know YHWH, who belong to him, who are willing to be marked out as his people. It is not enough to simply be living among God’s people—to simply be in the area.
We see the same thing with the Lord’s Supper. You know the saying,: “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”—which is a funny saying, because most of us are not adept at either of those. We don’t spend much time with horseshoes or hand grenades. But I suppose it’s true. If you are playing a game of horseshoes, you’ve got to throw that metal horseshoe against the stake. Whoever’s closest counts. Hand grenades…I’ll just have to take someone’s word for it that close counts.
Not so with the kingdom. Think of Jesus when the man came who had done all of these great things and kept all of these commandments. Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth. You are not far from the kingdom of Heaven. You’re a good person. That’s very nice. I see that you understand a lot of good things, you like me, and you’re pro-Jesus. You’re not far. But you’re not in.” Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. You can’t get into this meal because your son is a good person or because your wife has always been interested in church. You don’t inherit the kingdom because you have a background with church. There is no halfway covenant. That was a great mistake that the New England Puritans made in the 17th and 18th century: they allowed for a halfway covenant. “You can be a member of the church if you had a parent who was a member of the church. We’ll get you halfway in.” That’s not how it works.
This is a table for those who are willing to say, “I follow YHWH. I belong to YHWH. I’m his child.” You don’t get in because your momma did, or your grandpa did, or you have some kids who are really spiritual, or you’re trying to do your best.
It’s the same idea that we come across in 1 Corinthians 11. Whoever eats or drinks in an unworthy manner can eat or drink judgment upon himself. This is not what some people call a “converting ordinance”. You’ll find some churches that say, “Well, this is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to unbelievers. If you don’t know Christ, we are very glad that you’re here.” When we come to this, we’ll ask that you refrain from taking these elements. While there are many things to welcome and invite each other to, this is not one where we say, “Hey! Come one, come all! No matter what you think or believe, just come. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about Jesus.” No, this is a table for the family of God. It is an exclusive table.
An Open Invitation
But at the same time, we see Passover was an open table. How does that work? How can it be exclusive and open at the same time? Well, it was exclusive, but there was an open invitation. You can enter in if you are willing to join God’s people. Sometimes we think the Old Testament was just ethnic Israel, and that it wasn’t until the New Testament that you really could belong to God and not be an Israelite. Well, in the main, that is true. But we see here—as we have seen, if you know Genesis 17—that you could join yourself to the Israel of God, even if you were not a native Israelite. Way back in Genesis 17, with the institution of the Abrahamic covenant, we saw that a slave who belongs to your house is to be circumcised, because he too is to be reckoned as belonging to the people of God. This is a family meal, an international meal, even from the beginning of the Passover. It was never a meal that was supposed to be recognized for just one kind of ethnic group, one sort of cultural-linguistic people. Even here in the Old Testament, it was for Israelites and maybe Cushites and Egyptians—a whole mixed multitude! If you are willing to be circumcised and say, “These are my people. This is now my home”, then the meal is open!
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
Do you understand, friends? That’s the invitation for all of you. You don’t have to be on the outside looking in. Just a moment ago, I was speaking about this being an exclusive table for those who belong to Christ and know Christ. Let me just say to any of you that if you are not sure about Christ, or you don’t know Christ, or you are wondering if you can invite your non-Christian friends to this church—yes! Please know there is an open invitation, not to come up willy-nilly on any day, but on any single day to come to Christ, to talk to a friend, to hear this invitation from God. Please know that this table is not an American table, a Presbyterian table, or even a Michigan State table. It’s not a table for white or middle-class people. It’s not a table for the educated or un-educated. It is a table for saved sinners.
Every single one of you has one of those categories already: sinner. If you would be a saved sinner, then this table is for you. It’s an exclusive table, but it comes with an open invitation.
A Reminder of Redemption
Have you noticed how much theology there is in these Passover accounts? We’ve had occasion to talk about atonement, substitution, expiation (the removal of guilt), and propitiation (the turning away of wrath). We’ve even talked about adoption, where people who are not the people of God are included as the people of God. We’ve talked about sanctification, cleansing out the old leaven, living as a new people, getting out of Egypt and getting the Egypt out of you.
Now we come to another theological category: redemption. Redemption means to purchase, or to buy back. If you grew up around the church, it has such a Christian veneer to it that we forget what the word means. Here we have instruction for the redemption of the firstborn. The firstborn males were to be set apart, given unto the Lord, both of animal and of human. You can immediately see the connection with the Passover event, where God sent the destroyer, the angel of the Lord, to strike down the firstborn males among the people and the beasts.
The firstborn belonged to God. The firstborn in that culture had special rights, responsibilities, and privileges. The firstborn was to represent the rest of the family. So the firstborn is the symbolism for saying, “This family belongs to God. God has redeemed these ones.”
If you had an animal that would normally be sacrificed, like a lamb, goat, or bull, the firstborn of each of those was sacrificed unto the Lord. If you had an animal (such as a donkey) that you don’t eat and isn’t sacrificed, then you can substitute a lamb in its place or just break its neck and kill it. There are five other times in the Pentateuch—twice in Exodus, and then in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—where we have further instructions about this law regarding the firstborn. It’s very complicated in how they all fits together, but the basic idea is clear: the firstborn is the Lord’s. For clean animals, you sacrifice those. Later, Numbers says unclean animals must be redeemed. You must substitute something in their place.
I don’t know if we are supposed to make much of this theologically, but it is interesting to think that human beings, at least in this classification, are put in the category of unclean animals. Clean animals can be sacrificed. Unclean need a substitute. That’s where we are. Humans are in the same category here as donkeys, so work it out.
In Numbers 18, the redemption price is set at 5 shekels of silver. Remember Jesus. After his birth, they went to the Temple to present the redemption price for the firstborn son. Life restored must first be brought back. That’s the principle. You have a firstborn son? He belongs to the Lord. If you want him, five shekels or a lamb. You need to purchase him back. You need to be bought back.
Doesn’t that add something to the language in 1 Corinthians where Paul says, “You have been bought with a price. You are not your own. Somebody bought you. Somebody redeemed you. Somebody came forward and gave the purchase price because you are not your own.” What we see here in the law of the consecration of the firstborn is that God’s ownership extends to what is first and best. That’s not to say that God doesn’t own everything, but, in particular, with the firstborn, it’s saying, “What is most precious to you, what is first and best, belongs to me.”
Can you see, parents, how with some sadness (but it should ultimately be with joy) this ritual reinforces that our children don’t really belong to us? Of course they are ours, and we love them. God lets us have them for a time, however he sees fit. But we see here, in the law of the firstborn, that the Lord is saying, “They are really mine.” What is more precious to you than your children? What would you give anything and everything for except for your children? Even here, God says, “They’re mine.” Your firstborn. Your very own firstborn. All that excitement, energy, and nervousness. What’s going to happen? And God says, “You know, that one’s mine. He’s symbolic of all the others, of course, but that one is mine.” He needs a substitute. You need to buy back and redeem.
Parents, that’s a hard word, but do you know what a good word it is? You do not have a better parent than your Heavenly Father. You say, “God takes my kids.” No. Your kids get the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God who promises to be a God to us and our children after us. Even what is most beloved and prized to us belongs to God. Who better to own them than him?
As we go to the New Testament, we often see this first-born language applied to Christ. He is the first-born from among the dead. He is the first-born of many brethren. He is the first-born over all creation, so that Hebrews 12:23 can call us the church of the first-born. Some of you are sitting here saying, “Oh man, I’m not the first-born. That’s me, second-born. First is worst. Second is best. Third is the one with the hairy chest!” I’m second. Most of you aren’t first. First was so special. Christ was the first-born among the dead, the preeminent one—the Son that our Heavenly Father did not hold onto. We have a Father who gave up his Son. How much more can we be called, then, the church of the first-born? All those rights and privileges as a people who are purchased, bought, and redeemed. Passover reminds us of our need for redemption.
A Call to Remember
The point of Passover is that memory preserved would lead to the covenant kept. In verse 9, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is called a sign and memorial. The consecration of the first-born in verse 16 is called a mark. Did you notice this familiar refrain of what we are to remember?
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Exodus 13:3
For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. Exodus 13:9b
And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. Exodus 13:14
It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:16
Four times. Why? Because, as you notice in verse 5 and verse 11, these instructions are anticipating them entering the Promised Land. There are going to be Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites, Perezites, mosquito bites, and all the rest. There are going to be all sorts of fearful things, like giants in the land. God says, “I want you to remember.” They don’t even know what’s coming. They don’t know that they have 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before they get there. He wants them to remember. “It’s a strong hand, not a weak God. Whatever you face, whatever you have coming, whatever tomorrow brings, whatever you wish you knew that you don’t know, remember that I’ve been with you with a strong hand, to bring you out of Egypt and to save you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Will you remember that this God who gave his Son for you has saved you, and leads and guides you with a strong hand?
When we come to the table, we remember what he has forgiven and we remember how he loves us. Christ in Heaven still stoops down to wash our feet. The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. The roles have not been reversed, though he is in Heaven and we are here on Earth. Such is the measure of his love for us. That’s why I often say with the Lord’s Supper that we come here, where Christ is both the meal and our host. We feast upon him spiritually, in the bread and in the cup, and he sets the table for us. He is the one who has invited us here. He is the one who gathered us. We come in his name. He is the host.
Isn’t that an amazing thing? Wouldn’t you feel special if Tom Izzo texted you and said, “Hey, I’m having a get together. You want to come?” Or the president or whomever? You’d say, “That’s pretty amazing.” The God of the universe, Christ sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, says, “I’m having a party. I’m having a supper. It’s a great supper. I’m making all the preparations. Would you like to come? Would you like to feast on me? Believe in me? Have your sins forgiven by me? Have your feet washed by me?” The Passover and the table call us to remember.
An Expectation to Speak
You see the opportunities here to instruct the families. Verse 8: “You shall tell your son on that day,” or verse 14: “And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’” It’s about the Passover and the pass-down.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4
The Passover was an opportunity for instruction—not just quiet remembrance, but constant speech. So, when we come to the table now, we see and say something. Even though I’ll be the one saying and you’ll be listening, by our action we are all saying something—to your children and to the world. When I will, in just a moment, say those words of institution, at the end I will say, “As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again.” We see something and we say something.
We’re telling anyone here who cares to listen that Jesus died and he’s coming again. That’s what we have to say every Sunday. Among all the other things we might say, we say that. “What’s church about this Sunday?” “Well, Jesus died for sinners and he’s coming again.” “You sure? What about next week?” “Well, Jesus died for sinners and he’s coming again.” We proclaim his death. If they commemorated the Exodus from Egypt, how much more should we celebrate our deliverance from the Devil? They were saved from the destroyer. We are saved from the wrath of God. They were set free from Pharaoh. We are set free from sin. If they ate the unleavened bread underneath the blood of the lamb, so shall we partake of the bread and the cup and remember, celebrate, and speak of the cross and the empty tomb.
Let’s pray. Father in Heaven, we thank you for this meal. We thank you for the grace that we have here at the table. We pray now that you would strengthen, nourish, and feed us for your name’s sake. Amen. Exodus 12.43-13.16 on 04-17-16.md.txt Displaying Exodus 12.43-13.16 on 04-17-16.md.txt.