Preparing for Passover

Preparing for Passover

Let’s forget the world’s news for now. Something more important took place two thousand years ago. Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass with a crowd of people shouting “Hosanna” and laying down palm branches and their cloaks in His pathway. It was the week of the annual Passover celebration, which begins this Wednesday. It is a celebration instituted by God centuries earlier.

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.

A few minutes ago we partook of the elements of Communion, which signifies the Blood and Body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Do you realize its connection to the Passover we just read about?

Luke 22:7-20 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 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.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Jesus changed how Passover was to be celebrated. In fact, He changed the whole world forever during Passover week. He told His disciples that whenever they did this from now on, it was to be in remembrance of Him. He is the fulfillment of everything the Passover represents.

The Passover was 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 PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THE PASSOVER. On the 10th day of the new year, each family was to choose a lamb to be slaughtered at twilight on the 14th. (This was referring to the Jewish calendar, which is why the Passover falls on different weeks of the year on the Roman calendar.) For 4 days they were to prepare themselves mentally and physically for what was about to happen. Judgment was going to fall. And only those, abiding where the blood of a lamb was applied, would escape.

Likewise, we are to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually before we partake of the blood and body of the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:28-29 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

2. THEY WERE TO KILL THE LAMB. This was prophetic of the death of Christ, which took place on what is commonly called “Good Friday” of the Passover week. On that day, the Lamb of God was slain, and His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin.

Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

3. 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. Seeing the blood, God would pass over that household and deliver His people from bondage.

This relates to us under the New Covenant. When we truly repent and ask forgiveness of our sins, the blood of Jesus Christ is applied to our soul, 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.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

4. 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 door 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. They had to have faith in the blood of the Lamb. They had to trust God and believe that if they obeyed His instructions, their family would be protected.

It is the same today. Obedience to God’s instructions provides us with His protection. 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. That is where we are to stay.

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.

5. THEY WERE TO EAT ALL OF THE LAMB. This is extremely important, especially as it relates to Christ and the Church. We are not only to confess our sin, repent, and be baptized, but we are to continue to partake of the Lamb. We, must consume Christ, eat and partake of His substance (which is the Word) daily, consuming all of it instead of wasting the parts we don’t like! We should desire more of Jesus! We should want ALL of Him! We must continually feast upon the Word and Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

6. IF THE LAMB WAS TOO MUCH FOR ONE HOUSE TO CONSUME, THEY WERE TO CALL THEIR NEIGHBOR INTO THE HOUSE AND SHARE THE LAMB. That’s the call for us, as well. We are to call our neighbors and share the slain Lamb, the atoning sacrifice—Jesus Christ!

Jesus, the Lamb and Son of God, is so superior, that God called together all the nations of the world to come to His Table of Grace, and partake of the Lamb that was chosen from the foundation of the world! Whosoever will believe, they can come and feast on the Lamb of God. And more and more people will believe, if we obey the command to call our neighbors into the house of God!

To the Israelite, the Passover meant deliverance, peace, and freedom. It was a reminder of the place that God was to have in their lives, of all that God had done for them, and that their trust had to be in Him.

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

In Egypt, God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of the Egyptians, but through Jesus’ death on the Cross, God delivered all people from the bondage of sin through faith in the blood of His Son.

In Egypt, God saved the first born from physical death if they were covered by the blood of a lamb. Through Jesus’ death, God saves everyone from eternal death and hell who trusts and believes in His Son, Jesus—the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

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

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.

This salvation is free by the grace of God. But there is something that we have to do, and it is basically the same thing that the Israelites had to do during the Passover. We must have faith that the Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, is enough to save us from the wrath of 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 atoned for all our sin. But for it to do us any good, we must be convinced we need His Blood applied to our soul. 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.

Our trusting in what Jesus did on the Cross makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you have done. God loves you so much that Christ died for you, taking the punishment we deserve for our sin.

Romans 5:6-8 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.

This is why Palm Sunday and this Passover Week are important. We are reminded that Jesus is our Passover Lamb!

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

1 Peter 1:18-20 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. He was chosen before the creation of the world [not 4 days before], but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. He is our perfect lamb, and He died in our place as an atonement for our sin. We must have faith in His Blood to save us from the wrath of God and not in anything else.

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 tells us to pick up our own Cross and follow Him. Jesus’ first 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. This is the path we must take to begin following Jesus.

Acts 2:36-39 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 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."

If God is calling you, I hope you will respond to Him today and obey His Word.