A Meal for All Time
“Here, O my Lord, I see You face to face…here I will grasp with firmer hands Your grace” (Horatius Bonar, 1808-89).
Read Exodus 12:1-30
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“We come to the Lord’s Table to affirm the new covenant in his blood and claim our forgiveness and new life” (Lloyd John Ogilvie).
The final confrontation with Pharaoh has taken place (ch. 11), and freedom is imminent. The people of Israel have to prepare in expectant faith. Details for that first Passover night are combined with instructions for later annual commemoration: killing the lamb (3-6,21), spreading its blood on doorposts (7,22), roasting (not the slower boiling), quick eating while dressed for a speedy departure (8-11), with no time for bread made with yeast (8,17-20,39). Future generations were to remember the deliverance that led to entry into the land (25). In re-enactment, the past is brought into the present: the God of the Exodus still delivers his people as they obediently trust him. With communal activity involving all ages, the children ask: “What does this ceremony mean to you?” (26), which requires a personal response.
Jesus joined his disciples in such an annual meal of faith, and they heard of a new exodus as he pointed to his own coming death “for the forgiveness of sins” and a future “with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:26-29). Again, they and we eat looking to the past, living in the present and anticipating the future. Christians celebrate the Lord’s Supper in various ways, but for all there is eating and drinking. Our whole person is involved as Christ’s death and resurrection are brought into present experience with expectant hope, a reminder of what is central to our lives. For Christians, Paul takes the combined Jewish feast of Passover and unleavened bread, and adapts the imagery: “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7,8).
Reflect on your experience of partaking in the Lord’s Supper. How does it give you hope for both the present and for the future?
Loving Father, at Your table You meet me in Your Son, You are host to all my needs, reminding me of the promise of forgiveness and salvation. Thank You.
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