“Why is this night different from all other nights?” Because even God counts to ten when he gets angry! After nine plagues of warning upon Egypt and its hard-hearted Pharaoh—whose ruling class has kept Israel in enslaved for more than 400 years—God finally puts an end to the oppression. He was reluctant to get to this point of judgment because he is “slow to anger, abounding in love,” not wanting any to perish. But after four centuries of bondage, things needed to change in a dramatic way.
In Exodus 12 God reveals his plan to spare the Israelites from the midnight massacre of the firstborn. Graciously, he would protect his people using the blood of an unblemished lamb. When the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts of each Jewish home, God would see the blood and would literally “pass over” that house. But if he didn’t see the blood, he would take the life of the firstborn in judgment.
It was the blood of the lamb that saved God’s people that night. And every year since then, for 35 centuries, and continuing to this very day, the Jews have observed Passover to commemorate their miraculous deliverance from Egypt. It was an act that pointed beyond itself to a greater salvation from a greater bondage. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Paul said, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” And Peter said we have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Quite significantly, on the night before his death Jesus said, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” So it was out of the Passover table that our Savior instituted the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion. Why did Jesus do this? What is the connection? What does it mean for us today? Find out in “Shadows of the Cross, Part 3: The Passover Lamb.”