Don't Pass Over Passover

Don’t Pass Over Passover

The pagan festival, called Easter, is approaching and people are buying chocolate covered rabbits, new clothes, and coloring eggs in preparation for that celebration. It causes great confusion that the Church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the same day. Therefore, I call it Resurrection Day to leave no doubt about what we are celebrating.

Also during this time of year, Jewish people celebrate the Passover, a 7-10 day festival to commemorate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It was during this celebration that Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, instituted the New Covenant, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Therefore, Jesus gave this festival a new meaning.

However, most people, including Christians, pass over Passover in their excitement over Easter baskets and egg hunts. Instead of trying to falsely explain how pagan symbols of rabbits and eggs relate to Jesus, let’s prepare ourselves for celebrating the Resurrection by considering the significance of what Jesus did during Passover, how Passover relates to Him, and what it actually means to us. We begin by looking how Passover started.

Exodus 12:1-14 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 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. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 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. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire--head, legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 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. "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 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. "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.

There are some very relevant truths from this passage for Christians today. First, it reveals that for 10 days God’s people were to prepare themselves mentally, and physically, for what was about to happen. Judgment was going to fall, and only those staying where the blood of a lamb was applied, would escape. Likewise, Jesus—the Lamb of God, prepared Himself and His disciples for a return to Jerusalem where He would become the ultimate Passover Lamb.

Matthew 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

The Passover is about deliverance and redemption. God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, and God was going to deliver them, but their deliverance required something from them. They had to follow God’s instructions and trust that what He told them was true.

1. THEY WERE TO KILL THE LAMB.  It had to be a male lamb without a blemish. Its blood would be their salvation. This is prophetic of the death of Christ. The perfect Lamb of God has been slain, crucified for the sins of the whole world. Christ’s shed blood is our salvation.

Hebrews 9:21-26 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

2. THEY WERE TO APPLY THE BLOOD TO THE DOORPOSTS. The blood was to be smeared on the doorposts and lintel of the house, which God would see, and thus spare the people in that house from the destruction that would come on firstborn of the Egyptians and anyone not covered by the blood.

This relates to us under the New Covenant. When we truly repent and ask forgiveness of our sins, the blood of Jesus Christ covers our sin by faith, and we are set free from the judgment and wrath of God, which is to come upon the world. The blood, therefore, must be on the door of our heart for us to escape, for it is our heart that God looks at and judges.

3. THEY WERE TO STAY IN THE HOUSE. Verse 22 says, "Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning.”

Imagine how much faith it took to sit still when you were told that God was coming to the place where you are, and that the first born child of every family is going to be killed. However, if you smeared the blood of a lamb on the door post and header of your house and followed specific instructions, including keeping your whole family inside the house where that blood was, your child would be spared. Those people had to have faith in God. They had to trust God and take Him at His word, to believe that if they obeyed His instructions that they would be protected. That is the definition of faith.

It is the same today. Obedience to God’s instructions provides us with His protection. We are to believe and do what He says. We are to stay in the house of God. We are to stay in fellowship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The house of God is a place of sustaining substance, of power and prayer, of exhortation and encouragement. However, Jesus did not limit us to this building. He opened the Most Holy Place to us to reside. That is where we are to stay—in the presence of God.

Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

4. THEY WERE TO EAT THE LAMB. This is extremely important, especially as it relates to Christ and the Church. Believers are not only to confess their sin, repent, and be baptized, but they are to continue to partake of the Lamb.

A few minutes ago we partook of the elements of Communion, which signifies the Blood and Body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. You see Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

The Passover was merely a type and shadow of this Communion, and also of the Crucifixion and death of Christ. Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples and told them that whenever they did this from now on, it was to be in remembrance of Him.

Luke 22:15 & 19 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer… And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

It is also very interesting that none of the lamb was to be wasted. Nothing was kept until morning. We then, must consume Christ, eat and partake of His substance (the Word) daily, and not pick and choose which parts we like! We should desire more of Him! We should want ALL of Him! Continually feast upon the Word and Spirit of Jesus Christ.

That’s the call for us, as well. Jesus Christ, Who is the Lamb of God, is so vast and great, so eternally enormous, that we are to call our neighbors, sharing the slain Lamb, the atoning and preserving sacrifice!

Jesus, the Lamb and Son of God, is so superior, that God did more than call all of Israel together. God called together all nations to come to His Table of Grace, and partake of the Lamb that was slain once and for all of the world! Whosoever will believe and be baptized, can come and eat, and partake, and feast on the Lamb of God. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done. And more and more people will come, if we will obey the command to call our neighbors into the house of God!

The night before Jesus was taken away by the soldiers and later crucified, He was celebrating the Passover with His disciples. To the Israelite, the Passover meant deliverance, peace, and freedom. But Jesus changed it forever!
What had been a reminder of the deliverance of God for the Israelite people would now be a reminder of the deliverance of God for all people, who will trust Him and follow the instructions that He gave for them to be saved from death.

Therefore, Jesus—the Passover Lamb of God, provides a greater salvation than what the Israelites got in Egypt. In Egypt, God delivered the people from the bondage and slavery of the Egyptians, but after Jesus’ death on the Cross, God delivered all people from the bondage and slavery of sin.

In Egypt, God saved the first born of all those who were covered by the blood of a lamb from physical death. After Jesus’ death, God saved everyone from eternal death and Hell, who would trust and believe in His Son, Jesus—the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Everybody sins, and that causes problems between us and God. Sin separates us from God. But, God did something to fix that. He came to earth as a man, and died for our sin on the Cross so we don’t have to die and spend Eternity forever separated from Him in Hell.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This salvation is free by the grace of God, but there is something that we have to do, and it’s basically the same thing that the Israelites had to do; that is, have faith and believe that the atoning blood of Jesus on the cross is enough to make things right between us and God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.

When Jesus died on the Cross, He paid the price for all our sin. But for it to do us any good, we must be convinced we need His Blood applied to our heart. All it takes to make us right with God is to trust in the Blood sacrifice of Jesus, just like the Israelites had to trust in the blood that was on the door posts.

If you believe that, there has to be a time when you actually confess your faith publicly, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who died on the Cross for your sin, and you put your trust Him as Christ, Savior, and Lord. You also follow Him through death, which is baptism, that you may be resurrected with Him unto a new life born of His Spirit.

Maybe that time is today. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you have done. God loves you so much that He died for you, taking the punishment you deserve for your sin. God knows what you have done, but He loves you and wants you to be saved.

Romans 5:6-7 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Christ, our perfect Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. We must have faith that His Blood is enough to atone for our sin and save us from the wrath of God. When we put our trust in Him and only Him, not in how good we are, not in whether we go to church or not, not in how well we treat others, but in the Blood that Jesus shed for us, then we can be forgiven and made right with God.

After we repent of our sin and accept Jesus’ Atonement, that Blood shed on the Cross, He asks us follow Him. Jesus’ first public act of obedience to the Father was to be baptized for the remission of sin. Jesus had no sin nor need for baptism, but He said it was proper to do it to fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3:15). After He was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon Him and the Father was well pleased. Baptism is the initial step we must take to follow Jesus.

Acts 2:38-39 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-- for all whom the Lord our God will call."