ROAST LAMB SAVES THE DAY
Father, You inspired Your Word by Your Spirit. By that same Spirit, illuminate it now to my understanding.
Read Exodus 12:1–20
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. 4 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. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 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. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 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.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 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.
14 “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. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
- Exodus 12:3 The Hebrew word can mean lamb or kid; also in verse 4.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectGive thanks that in Jesus there is complete forgiveness.
Passover recalls the time when God’s judgment ‘passed over’ his people and they were set free from Egyptian oppression. The meal would become a central part of the faith story both for Jews and for Christians (e.g. 1 Corinthians 5:7). Our reading today describes and prescribes what the people of Israel need to do for this first Passover.
They are to take a lamb on the tenth day of Nisan, the first month of their year, March to April in our calendar (vs 2,3). There is a community aspect to the meal, where a family may share their lamb with a neighbor who has a small household (v 4). The lamb must be perfect (v 5). Its blood is to be painted on the doorframe of each house, and the lamb roasted on a fire (vs 7–9). The blood is key to the household being saved – given as a sign of salvation (v 13). Then, God’s rescue of his people would be so rapid that there would be no time for the baking of ‘leavened’ bread – hence the Festival of Unleavened Bread (vs 8,17–20; see v 39). And for us today, in ‘the Lord’s Supper’, we remember Jesus who is our atoning sacrifice, his blood shed on a wooden cross. God looks at those who believe in him, and through Jesus, saves us (v 13).
‘What can wash away my sin? / … / What can make me whole again? / Nothing but the blood of Jesus’ (Robert Lowry, 1826–1899).
Dear Lord, Your body was broken that I may be made whole, Your blood was shed that I might be cleansed from my sin. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
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