Summary: The Passover is a red-letter day in Jewish history but for the Christian a wonderful type of Christ, the Passover Lamb - a Perfect Offering, a Scrificial Death, an Individual Protection and must be Applied Personally.
CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER
Some dates or events stick in the mind because of the historical association it has, to us or our community: like the day when the Second World War was declared. They are special because of their uniqueness and importance, whether good or otherwise. Festivals are celebrated in religion to remind their followers that something special happened. The institution of the Passover was, and still is, very important to the Jews as it reminded them of a Red Letter Day in the history of emerging nation of Israel. It was the starting point of their exodus from slavery in Egypt and a milestone in their learning journey in their knowledge of God. In fact the Passover is a self-disclosure of God at a crucial moment in their history.
For the Christian, the Passover isn’t a festival as such, but for what it represents as a symbol of redemption. Here we see a foreshadowing of Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Saviour of the world to as many as would believe in Him. We can be assured of the truth of this when we recall the encounter the two despondent disciples had with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. After the journey ‘They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us … and opened the scriptures to us?”’ What did the resurrected Christ do? Luke tells us, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."
The Founder Members of the human race had fallen to the devil’s temptation, receiving God’s condemnation which is carried forward to all born of them down the years. But God in His mercy and love for mankind wouldn’t leave them to their just deserts. The Bible’s description of ‘Sin’ is that which ‘misses the mark’; it ‘falls short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23). It’s a word which sums up all those things which are dishonouring to God; those things which defile mankind. This had been the problem ever since the Fall of mankind in Eden. There has never been a man or woman in the world who has been able to stand up to Satan, the arch-enemy of God. Generation after generation came and went proving that mankind was in bondage to sin and incapable of dealing with inbred sin, even though increasingly blessed with the resources of mind and matter. All humanity has inherited a sinful nature.
When I opened my computer I found emails sent to a friend but somehow also sent to me. I inquired as to the reason and was told that a hacker had got into his computer address book and was spewing out messages to all his correspondents. Fortunately it didn’t result in giving my computer a virus. But not so with mankind: the infection of sin, like a computer virus, has warped human nature so that it erupts in selfishness and greed. Pharaoh is a prime example of a dictator. He was so cruel and unjust to the Hebrew slaves. But all of us have to own up to being sinners: ‘There is no-one righteous, not even one’ (Rom 3:10). Religion of itself will only make us like the Pharisees, a contradiction of Christianity. No man can save himself. Nothing that we can offer can change a sinner to a saint! I remember seeing a carton showing a scholarly man sitting on top of a great pile of books, looking at himself in a mirror, and above his head a question mark. He has mastered every subject of learning, but couldn’t answer the problem of himself!
But thank God, the good news is that He had been working towards the ultimate solution of the plan of salvation, the climax of God’s revelation. But it was no afterthought to deal with sinful mankind. It had been conceived in the Eternal Council of Almighty God even before the foundation of the world to bring redemption to His lost creation. It’s what the writer to the Hebrews described as ‘so great salvation’ (2:1). And it’s all summed up in Jesus our Passover, so let’s discover what is revealed of Him and His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, whom John the Baptist announced as the One ‘who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Let me tell of:
THE BACKGROUND TO THE EXODUS AND THE PASSOVER
The story of the Exodus from the clutches of Pharaoh is well-known. Moses had been commissioned to lead the Israelites from Egypt but Pharaoh was loathe to leave them go as they were a valuable source of free labour in his building projects. They were held in slavery, and were forced to submit to hard labour, to suffer unrestrained beatings and to make bricks without straw (2:23,24; 3:7). Demonstrations of God’s power in inflicting successive plagues of increasing intensity and discomfort to Egypt’s infrastructure only served to harden Pharaoh’s heart. God had to move against him, in the words of the historian, with ‘an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment’ (Exodus 6:6).