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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

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Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Passover Lamb - Mid Week 3 - March 19, 2014 - Text: Exodus 12:5-7 (1-28)

Our text is Exodus 12:5-7 but I will read the whole in context, verses 1-28: 1The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2“This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. 7“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. 14“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. 18In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. 20You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.” 21Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 24You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ ” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

Our theme for this year focuses our attention on the main character of the Passion, even the main character throughout the history of Israel and the Christian Church, the Lamb. We began two weeks ago talking about the promise of a Savior and the first sacrifice made to clothe Adam and Eve. Last week we followed along as the Lord tested Abram and told him to sacrifice his son, his only son Isaac and how God provided a substitute in the ram caught in the thicket. We were reminded that this sacrifice as was the case with all the Old Testament sacrifices did nothing except point to the one ultimate sacrifice of Jesus as our substitute on the cross. This evening we continue seeing this pointing as we recount the first Passover and connect that Passover with Jesus celebration of the Passover with His disciples and the giving of the Lord’s Supper from that Passover celebration.
 
Abraham had a son, Isaac. Isaac had a son Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons. One son, Joseph was hated by his brothers because of their jealousy that he was their father’s favorite. The brothers sold their brother who eventually ended up in Egypt as second in command only to Pharaoh. During the famine, the sons of Jacob discovered their brother Joseph and afterward, in order to take care of his family, Jacob took his family to Egypt where there was food. The children of Israel spent almost five hundred years in Egypt. Toward the end of their time in Egypt one of the new Pharaoh’s came into power who did not know the history of the Israelites and because of the fear of the children of Israel, the Egyptians began to place the Israelites into bondage, into slavery.
 
After a number of years, the Lord heard the cry of His people Israel and so the Lord called Moses to lead the people out of their slavery in Egypt. Now the life of Moses was such that as a baby, because of the command of Pharaoh to kill the infant boys, he was hidden until he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who gave him to his biological mother to be raise until weaned. Moses was raised and educated in the schools of Egypt until he was forty years old. After he discovered his Israelite heritage and after defending a fellow Israelite and killing an Egyptian, Moses fled into the desert. Moses married a daughter of a priest of Midian, Jethro and lived and learned in the wilderness for forty years. After forty years the Lord came to Moses and spoke to him and called to him from a burning bush. The Lord called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.
 
The Lord’s plan was the annihilation and pillaging of Egypt by His people. In order to accomplish His plan and purpose, the Lord first sent nine plagues each plague attacking and defeating one of the false gods of the Egyptians, indeed showing that the Lord God of Israel is the one and only true God. After the first nine plagues had already happened the Lord sent one final plague which brings us to the Passover celebration.
 
The tenth and last plague on Egypt was the sending of the Angel of Death who would pass over all of Egypt, killing the firstborn sons of all the families as well as all livestock. However, the angel of death would pass over those houses that were marked with the blood of a lamb, thus important and specific instructions were given to the children of Israel in order to protect and redeem the firstborn in every house in Israel. And these instructions not only saved the firstborn in Israel, but also pointed to the one ultimate lamb that would be sacrificed for the sins of all people, of all nations, of all times.
 
First the lamb that was chosen for the sacrifice, in order to have its blood put on the door post and lintel of the house had to be a spotless lamb. The lamb had to be without defect. The lamb had to be a year old and after it was selected on the tenth day, it was not slaughtered until the fourteenth day. The lamb needed to be of such a size that it could all be consumed by the family or by more than one family sharing a lamb.
 
When the lamb was slaughtered its blood was caught in a bowl. Using a bunch of hyssop, the blood put on the doorpost and lintel, the sides and tops of the doors making the sign of the cross. It was this blood that the angel of death would see and thus pass over that house.
 
The lamb was cooked, roasted on the fire and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The lamb was to be complete consumed. Any left over lamb was to be burned in the fire in the morning. The lamb was eaten with unleavened bread and they were eaten in haste. They were eaten with their belts fastened, their sandals on their feet and their staff in their hand. They were to eat and be ready to flee from Egypt.
 
The Lord sent the angel of death to strike all the firstborn in Egypt from both man and animal, from the lowest servant to the highest even Pharaoh. In so sending the angel of death the Lord executed His judgment on the Egyptians. However, the angel of death passed over those houses marked with the blood. It was the blood of the lamb that was a substitute for the firstborn in Israel.
 
After this first Passover and when the children of Israel went into the desert and even the promised land, this meal was to be a memorial meal, a meal to remind Israel of all that God had done for them and continued to do for them.
 
What does this mean and what is the significance of this Passover meal? When we remember that the first Passover was a foreshadowing of the things to come, we get a better understanding of the things to come. It was the Passover lamb that pointed to the Lamb of God, Jesus.
 
The Passover lamb was to be a spotless lamb. The lamb had to be spotless otherwise it would not be worthy of giving its life, of shedding its blood for those for whom it was to be sacrificed. Jesus is the lamb of God. Jesus is spotless, sinless, perfect and holy. Jesus had to be spotless, perfect and holy because God’s demand is holiness, “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Jesus had to be perfect in order to be able to trade our imperfect life for His perfect life.
 
The Passover lamb was selected and slaughtered. Its blood was collected and with a hyssop branch it was painted on the doorpost and the lentil of the house, that is the sides of the door, and up and down motion, and the lintel, the top of the door, a sideways motion, thus indeed making the sign of the cross. Jesus shed His blood for us for us on the cross. At the Lord’s Supper we drink His blood, in, with, and under the wine, thus participating in His death on the cross. The Passover lamb was roasted and the people ate of the meat of the lamb. Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice, the once and for all sacrifice for our sins. At the Lord’s Supper, in, with and under the bread we eat of the Lord’s body, thus participating in His sacrifice.
 
When the angel of death came through Egypt, it passed over the houses that were marked with the blood of the sacrificed lamb. When the angel of eternal spiritual death passes through this world and even more so on the day of judgement, he will pass over us who have been marked with the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
 
When Jesus celebrated the Passover Seder with His disciples, at the point of the finding and redeeming of the middle matzah, the matzah that had been broken and hidden, He blessed this matzah, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, Take and eat this is my body. Then, at the point of drinking the third cup of wine, the cup of redemption, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to His disciples saying, Drink of it all of you this cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you show the Lord’s death until He comes. In other words, for us to do this in remembrance of our Lord is to do this in participation of His Sacrifice so that His life becomes our life, His death becomes our death, His resurrection becomes our resurrection and His eternal life becomes our eternal life.
 
The Lord’s Supper is His Supper in which He gives to us His very body and blood to eat and drink and through which He gives us all the gifts and blessings He has to give, faith, forgiveness, life and salvation. And we respond and say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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