Text: Exodus 12:1-28, John 1:29, 1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
A couple of years ago, I visited Israel. It was April and by the time my group arrived in Jerusalem, preparation for Passover was in full swing. You couldn’t find a loaf of leavened bread anywhere. Hotels were hustling to get things just right for the guests who would soon arrive, and locals were taking off to resorts. (Apparently Passover is also a popular week to vacation in Israel.)
It was pretty incredible to be in the Holy City at around the same time of year that Jesus would have arrived in Jerusalem for His final Passover, for the final Passover.
On the way there, I sat by a guy on the plane who had been born and raised in Jerusalem. He told me that his parents liked to host visitors in their home to serve religious meals on Sabbath and Passover and teach them the history of the rituals.
I imagine for the seder, the meal eaten on the first night of Passover, they would explain the passage in Exodus 12 we read today. The unleavened bread. The slaughter of the lamb. They would explain what the blood meant and how their ancestors, so many years ago, were saved by that blood painted over their doors. By God’s grace, the angel of death passed over them (Exodus 12:13).
Because so many Christians make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, my friend on the plane said most of the guests his parents host are believers. I thought that was interesting. How differently a Christian must experience a Passover meal compared to an Orthodox Jew. The two may be eating and drinking the very same thing, but they are likely thinking and feeling something completely different. One celebrates the night of the first Passover when the blood of the lamb saved the lives of Israel’s firstborn sons. The other celebrates the night of the last Passover when the blood of the Lamb made the final atonement for our sin so we can be saved, eternally (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Although Christ’s sacrifice is the event of Christianity—the foundational truth that establishes it as a faith and sets us apart as Christ followers—I almost daily lose sight of its significance. I rarely follow the instruction Paul gives to the Corinthians, to live a life that “observes the feast” (1 Corinthians 5:8).
More often than not, I live under the weight of my own sin, as if Christ’s sacrifice isn’t enough to cover my own transgressions. I look around frantically for solutions to fix what I have broken, but overcorrecting only leads me to legalism—the opposite of freedom in Christ. This is why I love the reminder Peter gives about the assurance of our salvation:
For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
-1 Peter 1:18-19
The blood of the Lamb is not perishable. What a promise! Our salvation in Christ does not have an expiration date. It was a one-time-deal, a forever-atoned exchange that means we are forever accepted. Because of Jesus, the true and better Passover Lamb, we now live free, the chains of sin eternally broken.
I wish we could all sit at a table together and partake of the seder meal. But since we can’t, let’s imagine it. Let’s virtually raise our glasses and promise each other that today we will keep the feast, even as we anticipate the wedding supper of the Lamb that is yet to come (Revelation 19:9).