In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The Passover. It was so significant to the Israelites, so life altering to their destiny as a people that the Lord ordered them to shape their whole year around it. (Exod. 12:1-6) The Lord rewrote their calendar. That month became the beginning of their year. Throughout their generations they would remember it. The First Month. Passover Month. Just like in our culture how even though few believe in what happened on that day, Christmas is fixed date, a festival that always reminds people of Jesus’ birth, His coming in the flesh to pass over our sin. So their calendar would always remind them of this event. Just as Jesus’ death and resurrection changed the day of rest and worship for Christians from Saturday, Sabbath day, to Sunday. Our Lord’s Day. (Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2) The day He rose in victory. (John 20:1) His innocent suffering and death on a Friday and perfect rest in the tomb on the Sabbath day has set aside the ceremonial command to rest on Saturday (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 4:9-10), and given us instead Sunday, the Lord’s Day. It has reoriented our week. It rewrites cultures wherever Christianity takes hold, rewriting the very calendar. As our culture turns from Christianity we are seeing another rewriting of our calendar, and not for the better. A rewriting of the meaning of the days of the week, and of the weekend. A return, you might say to a slavery to work, as no day is set aside to hear God’s Word and have your soul set at rest (Matt. 11:28). But for you and for me, and for all who will hear, salvation has a way of changing things just as it did for the Israelites.
So for the Christian not just our yearly calendar, but our weekly calendar has been rewritten. No, under the New Covenant there is no requirement to keep the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, or only on Sunday, or even on Sunday. But from the very first (John 20:19, 26) the Church met every Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2) – to receive Christ’s body and hear Christ’s word (Acts 2:42); to be served by their Lord with His forgiving word and lifesaving blood. For there is power in His blood. And where do you get His blood? Here. At His table. And as oft as you eat of it you declare that He died for your sins (1 Cor. 11:25-26), that He will come again, and your feet are fitted with the readiness of the Gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15) to jump up and go with Him at a moment’s notice. (Exod. 12:11)
Which brings us back to Moses and the Israelites. They were commanded to eat this meal with their belts tied, holding your robes in and ready for action, their sandals ready, and their staff in hand. (Exod. 12:11) Basically, were ready and set to go as they ate the meal. By the time they were done eating they would be going. But only those would go who believed the Lord’s Word and therefore selected lamb on the 10th day – 10 for the final plague – sacrificed that Lamb at twilight on the 14th day, and put the lamb’s blood on the two doorposts and the lintel of their houses. Three strokes of blood, for three is the number of God’s saving action. They killed the lamb at twilight, not the technical definition of twilight which is from the moment the sun goes down till all the light is gone – that’s twilight – the English word is more technical than the Hebrew or Greek expressions. Instead, we’re talking just before sundown. For at sundown – 6pm in that part of world – the new day starts. For when God created the days He counted them from evening – there was evening and there was morning, the first day, etc. (Gen. 1:5) So Jews counted the beginning of the day from sundown. This sacrifice was done before sundown on the 14th day at the end of the day. The eating of the meal happened on a new day, on the 15th day. The decree, the begging by pharaoh’s officials to get out (Exod. 11:8) happened that night after the final plague hit.
But there are so many fascinating fulfillments going on here. They could not break any bones of the lamb (Exod. 12:46) and so not a single bone of the Lord, the Lamb, was broken. (John 19:33; Ps. 34:20) They had to roast the lamb. They could not boil it. (Exod. 12:9) For Christ the Lamb of God would be roasted in the fire of Father’s wrath against sin on an upright spit. While He hung there suffering so that justice against human wickedness might be satisfied – for “vengeance is mine saith the Lord” (Rom 12:19; Deut. 32:35) – the Lord poured out His own vengeance against Himself on the cross. He took it into Himself that His eternal justice might be turned away from you and me so that instead we are given His mercy.
And now that the Triune name of God adorns the door posts and lintel of our hearts – for the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us by Holy Baptism, and the Son lives in you by own living blood put in your mouth in His Supper – it is an undeniable fact that the Triune God lives in you. By this the Father’s love is secured, His wrath is turned away. His gracious leading, guiding, unto the heaven of heaven is yours eternally.
So though almost 3500 years ago Moses and the Israelites were freed by our Lord Jesus passing over their houses by the blood of a lamb and judging hardhearted Pharaoh who would not believe, you and I today have been freed by the very blood of the Lamb of God who passes over sin and death giving you life everlasting and securing for you eternal blessing.
So let us keep the new Passover in sincerity and truth, repenting of our sins (1 Cor. 5:8) for they have been graciously passed over. And by this weekly meal we are renewed, refreshed, re-invigorated, re-forgiven, resurrected, and restored to the innocence and purity of our first parents in the Garden. All for the sake of the holy, precious blood and innocent suffering and death of the Lamb of God whose blood passes over death by dying in our place and gives us His life coursing through our veins (arteries).
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
— Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON