NIGHT TO REMEMBER
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.
‘He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?’1
It was the month of Aviv2 when slavery was finally shaken off and the Israelites started their long walk to freedom. The Exodus (meaning ‘departure’) was historical: it really happened. It is also historic – making and shaping history. This ‘first month of your year’ (v 1) didn’t merely mark Israel’s independence from Egypt, but it was also the beginning of their life as a nation under God, a people living in humble, wholehearted dependence on their God. That historic night – on which God would ‘pass through Egypt and … bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt’ (v 12), while passing over and sparing the Israelites (v 13) – would forever change Israel’s story. This was the dividing point between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of their history. Truly, a moment worth marking, remembering, and celebrating for ever after (v 14).
Detailed instructions are given concerning preparations for the Lord’s Passover: criteria for selecting the lamb, the time and manner of slaughter, the involvement of the community, the menu and the dress code (vs 3–11). The details matter. Not only do they have present significance, but they foreshadow the future, when there is another Exodus event which is also historical and historic. This follows the coming of Christ, our Passover lamb, the lamb ‘without defect’ (v 5), whose sacrificial death, described as ‘his departure [Greek, exodos]’, took place around the time ‘the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed’.3
The coming of Christ stands as a marker that divides world history into two epochs – even though people disagree about whether to call this BCE and CE or BC and AD. AD stands for Anno Domini, ‘in the year of the Lord’. We are living in the age of our Lord
Our Lord is a very real presence, able and eager to make a real difference in our lives and in our world – if only we let Him.
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.
1 Rom 8:32 2 Exod 13:4 3 Luke 9:31; Luke 22:7; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pet 1:19