Exodus – Pass Over Us
“Pass Over” – sermon by Caleb Campbell July 31, 2022
Today as we celebrate Christmas in July, we’re going to be continuing in our study in the Book of Exodus, and I already know what you’re asking. You’re asking, what does Exodus have to do with Christmas? Yeah, right. OK, that’s a great question. I’m so glad you asked.
One of the ways that I want to answer this question before we get into Exodus Chapter 12 this morning is talk to you a little bit about like the whole Bible, how the Bible works, how it works on us, and how to approach it. So check this out. The Bible is — and actually that word Bible — is kind of tricky. We think of it as one book, but it’s actually more complex than that. The Bible is a collection of 66 different pieces of literature. It’s a collection of scriptures.
In my own life, I’ve actually tried to refer to it as the scriptures as opposed to the Bible, because I want to remember that. This is actually something that has been collected and produced over time in different ways by different people, and it’s been collected into what we call the Bible.
And here’s why It’s important that the scriptures were produced over many, many years by many different people — and what’s really cool about the Bible. You didn’t think there was anything cool about the Bible, did you? OK. I’m going to prove to you that there’s stuff cool about the Bible. Check this out. You guys are rolling your eyes thinking I’m a nerd. I am. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not cool.
So check this out. The biblical authors riff on each other’s material. Here’s what I mean. If you were kicking around in Jesus’s day, those biblical authors who were writing some of those scripts, they were looking back at previously written scripture. And they were using the themes of the text and bringing them to life in their new space in a new and fresh way. They were sampling each other’s material, kind of like how musicians will use other musicians’ material and bring it into maybe their album or their concert. So the biblical authors, are riffing on each other’s material, and we’re talking about what does Exodus have to do with Christmas. And I just want you to note that that the authors that tell us about Christmas are deeply immersed in the Exodus story.
So watch this. I think this is super cool. (Shows a graphic of old and new testaments’ references to each other, with lots of lines!) So what you have here? Somebody took the time to look up what they believe are references of biblical authors referencing other biblical authors. Can you guys see this? What you have here are the chapters of the Bible. OK, so if you just start with Genesis and go all the way to Revelation, you’ve got all the chapters of the Bible, and what this designer has done is show you the ways that the different authors will refer to or riff on each other’s material in the Bible. You guys catching what I’m throwing down here. In the New Testament you can see that there are references all the way back to Genesis and Exodus. In fact, the first five books of the Bible are some of the most frequently cited or referred to texts in your New Testament.
In fact, if you ever read the New Testament — which I think you should totally do later today – the majority of what you’re reading is actually the older testament recapitulated and refreshed.
So the biblical authors writing in the New Testament are riffing on themes. They’re creating very little original material. They’re taking the older material of books like Exodus, and they’re bringing them into the modern context. They’re viewing it through the lens now of Jesus. So they’re taking older texts and viewing them now through the lens of Jesus. That’s kind of what your New Testament is.
And so, when you get a Christmas account, like in Matthew, Luke, and John — he has a cosmic Christmas account — when you’re reading a Christmas account, you’re reading authors who have meditated very deeply on books like Exodus. So when we read the Christmas account, we might expect that these authors are riffing on older material like the Book of Exodus.
OK, so check this out. (A graphic is shown). This is a really rough Bible timeline. Any condensing of the Bible is just kind of a fool’s errand. If you just want a really rough birdseye timeline of the Bible going from Genesis to Revelation, you get Creation, then you get Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then you get the Exodus, which is what we’re going to be studying today.
Then you get so that people are freed from slavery. Then they go into conquest. They take a land, then you get a Kingdom like King David and Solomon. Then, because of the people’s rebellion, you get an exile, so they’re like in Babylonian captivity, captivity from other empires. This is where you would get like Daniel and Esther. And then you get, all of a sudden, the Gospels. Jesus shows up. And then you get church and the future, So like the book of Acts and things like that.
So the biblical authors that are writing at this time they’re thinking about, meditating on and bringing to bear material that was written here to their current context. You guys tracking with me so far?
OK, So what does Christmas have to do with Exodus? This is an excellent question. What I would like to do is just spend a brief moment and share with you something that’s very critical and core to our church, family and our values. I want to invite you, and this is something very important to me personally.
It’s something very important to our church leadership, something that that Desert Springs is built upon. One of our core values is this: We are not asking you or leading you to borrow my convictions. Our goal as leadership — our elders, our ministers — is to equip you to discern your own convictions by the power of the spirit. We’re not inviting you in to just take my word for it or borrow my convictions. Here’s the problem with my convictions. The more I study the Bible, the more my convictions change. So, you might borrow like 40-year-old Pastor Caleb’s convictions. What happens when Pastor Caleb turns 50? He might change his convictions, right?
Our goal or our core value is to equip you to discern your own convictions by the power of the spirit. And then part of how that’s going to work is that we’re going to share our perspectives and our convictions with one another as a bunch of misfits. That process might actually reshape some of our convictions. We might listen to one another and say, “You know, I’ve never thought of it that way before.” I would invite you to enjoy that phrase – “I’ve never thought of it that way before.” In fact, if you’re not thinking that or saying that frequently, it may be that you’re not growing.
“I’ve never thought about that way before.”
Right, the Bible talks about renewing our minds as a process of God’s redeeming power in our life — to renew our minds constantly, to be renewing our minds. “I’ve never thought of it that way before.”
Have you guys noticed that the Bible is sometimes quite strange? Some of you haven’t read the Bible. OK, so I get you, I get you if you’ve never read the Bible. I’m so glad you’re here.
Some of the stuff you’ve heard is super cool. Some of the stuff in the Bible is weird, right? I’ll prove it to you. Go read Leviticus. Go and just open up your Bible at the kitchen table. All the weird stuff is an invitation to meditation. What I mean is this is: the Bible doesn’t work like your car manual. You guys ever read your car manual? Why do you read your car manual? You read your car manual when you’ve got a problem, something wrong. You’re driving down the road, and bing, a little light pops up, right? And then you don’t know what that light means. So what do you do? You go to your car manual. And do you read the whole thing? No. What do you do? You only go to the one spot that has the little icon of the thing you’re seeing. You go to problem solve, right?
I actually I resent this statement. I hear people say things like the Bible is like a manual for life. No it’s not. Go read Leviticus. Does it read like your car manual? If you treat the Bible like a car manual, you’re going to be praying one day, “Lord, give me guidance and direction on like what I should do with my life.” And then you go to the Bible you read, “Slay the Amalekites.” Right, it doesn’t work that way because the Bible is not a manual.
The Bible is ancient, meditative, wisdom literature that points you to Jesus. The Bible is ancient. There are a lot of strange things because we’re time-traveling tourists when we read the Bible. We’re entering into another culture when we read the Bible, where it’s ancient.
It’s meditative, which means your scriptures are an invitation to do this. You read something in the text and you’re not sure how it works together in your life. You’re not sure how this whole process works, and it’s an invitation to do what? To wonder, to meditate, to ponder the Psalms, which is a bunch of songs and poetry. David, who wrote a lot of the Psalms, would frequently say, “Lord, I delight to meditate on your word, day and night.” What that’s saying is I’m hearing from you through your texts and I’m going like this – “hmmm.” (Makes a gesture of putting his hand on his chin and thinking.) It’s ancient, meditative, wisdom literature.
The apostle Paul said to one of his proteges, Timothy, he said that the scriptures are designed to make you wise in faith unto salvation through faith in Jesus. It’s ancient, meditative, wisdom literature that points you to Jesus.
So what does Exodus have to do with Christmas? It’s a great question. Now, one of our core values again is to equip you to discern your own convictions, and here’s the final part of it if. If you’re a Jesus follower and you just borrow the convictions of a leader, you’re short-circuiting the wisdom process. Here’s what I mean. If you say, “Caleb, what should I believe about this?” and I say, “Here’s the answer” — what have you failed to do?
Did you guys ever cheat on a test in high school? Show of hands. Ed did. OK, I did. Ed, one of our board members — yeah, you did. OK. Anybody else cheat on a test in high school? How many of you were the kid who other people cheated from? OK yeah smarty pants. Thank you for your service. We just say thank you so much for studying and for writing in big, legible letters.
OK, so if we borrow another leaders’ convictions, what we’re doing is we’re looking on their test and writing the answer down on our page. We’re failing to engage in the wisdom-forming process of meditating deeply on the scripture. Scripture is an invitation to meditate deeply, and through that process, be made wise.
Have you guys ever heard me say? “I think that you should read your Bible and argue about it with a bunch of people who aren’t like you for the next 100 years and then one day you might be wise.” Because that’s the wisdom process — to engage in the text, to meditate deeply, to discuss it with a bunch of misfits who aren’t like you — and through that process to find maybe that you’re becoming wise to salvation through faith in Jesus.
OK, this is such a big deal to us that we’re actually going to make a a bit of a shift in our Sunday programming. This will be rolled out in August starting on August 14th. Here’s what we’re going to be doing. We so fundamentally believe that the best way to discern our own convictions — to connect our faith to real life — is not in listening to a monologue, as much as I love preaching. And I love preaching. I find that dialogue is actually where most of the growth happens.
Right, so listening, passive listening or even active listening is one way to gain understanding. But really active dialogue with a bunch of different people is actually the best way. That’s my understanding. That’s how Scripture was designed to work — to be meditated on, and then to be discussed in dialogue. Maybe even debated in the context of a bunch of different people from a bunch of different views.
And so, here’s the shift. Starting on August 14th, we’re going to continue to host our worship gathering like this at 9:30. And then at about 10:40 we’ll dismiss, and we’ll invite you guys to hang out on the patio, grab some coffee and some refreshments. And then at 11:00 o’clock all over our campus, we’re going to host pretty much every square inch of our campus. We’re going to be hosting smaller gatherings where you can engage in dialogue, connecting your faith to real life, meeting with one another in community. The way this will look is our adventure kids are going to be hosting a different programming at 9:30 and 11:00. They’ll have a snack time at 10:40. Our students will be joining us here at 9:30 for worship and then they will visit with one another in the student Center for a team-based study. And then in this room all over the rest of our campus we’re going to invite you to participate in a study or a group to connect faith to real life and connect with one another.
We’ll have different opportunities throughout the year. We’ll have things like the Rooted group, which will kick off in September. We’ll have things like the financial peace university.
I’ll actually be hosting a study here in this room based directly on the sermon. So, if you’ve ever wanted to ask questions about the sermon or study it more deeply or argue with me about the text, which I love, which is part of the joy of it. We’ll actually do that in here. And so we’re going to ask that everyone would make an intentional decision to join us for worship at 9:30, connect with one another on the patio or in the lobby at 10:40, then at 11:00 o’clock to participate in a study, a smaller group gathering to connect faith to real life, and to connect with one another.
We’ll have the different opportunities published for you in the handout. Again, we’re going to roll this out in the month of August on into September, and we want to invite you to make an intentional decision to be here at 9:30 and 11:00 to connect with one another. Let’s connect your faith in real life.
So you can practice that schedule today if you want, I’m actually going to be hosting a class on what the Bible teaches about social justice over in the student center at 11:00 o’clock. I’d love to have you join me at 11:00 o’clock again over in the student Center for that class.
Now back to your question, what was the question you guys were asking me? I forget what it was. What was it? What does Exodus have to do with Christmas? OK, that’s great.
OK, so check this out. Are you guys familiar with Christmas? Like the little “away in a manger” situation? In your Bible — in your Christmas account — you know the scene of those Magi coming from the east? They go to this dude named Herod, who is like the governor or king of the region, and they ask Herod “Where’s the newborn king?” Right? And Herod, who wants to maintain power, feels threatened. What does Herod do? You guys remember? It’s a really gory story. What does Herod do? He orders that all of the boys less than two years old be what? Killed. OK, so can you think of any time in the Book of Exodus where a leader who wants to maintain power, who’s afraid of a small minority group might try to maintain that power by ordering the death of the children? Yeah, Pharaoh straight up does that.
In fact, the biblical authors created explicit links to link Herod to Pharaoh. What does Exodus have to do with Christmas? In fact, you have the faithfulness of a mom — both in Moses, his mom, and in Jesus, his mom being one of the crucial elements of the salvation story. Mary is very is almost modeled after Moses’s mom in the in the Gospel of John. He says that God came down and tabernacled among us. The Tabernacle is in the Book of Exodus, and Christmas is when the very presence of God came in the flesh and lived among us.
Oh, did you know that Moses was a shepherd for 40 years? Yeah, do you know anyone who’s called the Good Shepherd? Yeah, do you see these connections? The biblical authors who are writing about Christmas, they are looking back on that ancient text and they’re bringing it forth to their current date.
They’re understanding the Christmas story through the Exodus story. In fact, language like redemption — to be redeemed. There’s a song we sing called “No Longer Slaves.” Have you guys ever heard that song before? Yeah, so the biblical authors are looking at Exodus, looking at the story of Jesus, and they’re seeing all of the themes of the Exodus coming to fruition in Jesus.
In fact, when Jesus family learned that Herod was trying to kill their boy, do you know where they fled to? They fled to Egypt. And then when they came out of Egypt, you get this riff “out of Egypt I have called my son,” which was specifically about Israel coming out of Egypt, but then was applied to Jesus.
Now we not only see these connections to Christmas, but also to Easter and we’re going to get into the text real quick and spend the remaining remainder of our time looking at.
Exodus Chapter 12 which I want to warn you, warn you, is hard. And you’re going to see why here in just a minute. Check this out. You guys excited? OK, I’m excited. It doesn’t feel like you’re excited, I’ll just say it. We need to get a little flag that says, “Yay, Bible time” for you to wave.
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: ‘This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year.” (12: 1-2)
This is interesting. This is such a crucial moment for the people of Israel that they will literally define their first day of their calendar by this date. This date is the beginning of your new calendar. Your whole calendar from here on out will be centered on this important moment — the moment of the Exodus. You guys tracking with me? Exodus is the formation story of this people.
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the 10th day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ families, one animal per family. Only if the household is too small for a whole animal, that person and their neighbor nearest his house, or to select one based on the combined number of people.” (Verse 3-4)
Notice again you’ve got this sharing, this aiming towards justice within the community. You should apportion the animal according to what each will eat.
“You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight.” (Verse 5-6)
OK, now TV timeout. *** Does this seem strange to you? Yeah, let’s just remember for a moment that we are time-traveling tourists. Let us just remember for a moment that we ascribe this duty to warehouses, so we don’t have to look at it. Y’all ever been in the grocery store? You know that deli section? You know where all that stuff comes from? A slaughterhouse, right. We have tried to hide from this reality that we’re constantly putting animals to death to eat them. But here we’ve got an agrarian, a rural community that’s used to doing this out in the open. ***
“They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat.” (Verse 8)
This strange to you? You guys ever done this before? OK, so remember we’re time-traveling tourists. You take the blood of that unblemished animal. What do you do with it? You paint it. Over what? Around your door. So you’re going to take some blood, and maybe you’ve done this at Halloween, but otherwise we don’t generally do this now. I want to just notice something in the biblical mind. There’s something about blood that they think differently than we do. Have you guys ever heard the phrase “life blood?” The ancient mind — in their imagination, their understanding — they believed that blood was where the life was. Because if you have something where the blood isn’t flowing, what do you call that thing? Dead.
You guys got me so far? There were certain rituals that they would occasionally do, where they would utilize blood because the blood is life. And when you use the life blood, it repels the death. Now I’m not trying to make sense of it, I just want to invite you as a time-traveling tourist to get in the ancient mind that they understood life to be in the blood.
And so, when you get things like the blood over the doorposts or the blood sprinkled on the people, or the blood sprinkled on the Tabernacle, or the blood sprinkled in the temple — what they understood that to be was the presence of life-repelling what? The presence of life-repelling what? Death. It is coming at them, and what do they need? They need life to push that death, that evil, back. And by taking the lifeblood and putting it over the door, what do you think is going on in their minds? What do you think they’re repelling?
“They are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or cooked in boiling water, but only roasted over the fire – its head as well as its legs and inner organs.” (Verse 8-10)
They should eat it roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. What kind of bread? Unleavened bread. What does that mean? No yeast? And so, what happens? Any bakers among us? If you’ve ever baked something, and if you don’t put yeast in it, what happens to the bread? It’s called flatbread, right? You put yeast in it and let it do its magic, and poof, it rises. But if you have no yeast, what do you have? Flatbread.
This is really interesting. Why unleavened bread? The first you’re going to see is when they’re preparing to leave to leave Egypt after being enslaved. God is going to do a redemptive work to redeem, to free his people. And they’re about to leave. They’re eating a meal. But the meal isn’t just for sustenance, it’s also for symbol. And part of the symbol that we find here is this unleavened bread.
What else are they eating? OK, so there’s a lamb roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
“Do not eat any of it raw or cooked in boiling water, but only roasted on the fire. Its head as well as its legs and its inner organs.” Now is this weird? This might be something I want to invite you to do. A divine command to eat an animal head? Legs and organs.
By the way, does anyone have this embroidered on their Bible cover? Right, I see a lot of you guys taking verses out of context and slapping them on things. I just wondered if you had Exodus 12:9 anywhere.
“You must not leave any of it until morning; any part of it left until morning must burn. Here is how you must eat it: You must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.” (Verse 9-11)
Why are we getting all this command? Perhaps this is the original story of McDonald’s fast food? I don’t know if you guys knew that. Yep, fast food is actually in the Bible.
Now, this requires, I think, some deep meditation. This is whose Passover? You have the English equivalent of Yahweh. The proper name of God, given to us in the book.
So far we’ve got this whole ritual we saw back in Chapter 11 — that there’s this death that’s going to come into the community and kill the first-born son of every house. And then we get this very interesting command to take a lamb to slaughter it in a certain way, to eat it in a certain way, and then to take the blood and put it over the lentil all around the door. Remember that blood is symbolic of life and repels what? Death, you’re right.
The destroyer is going to come and kill the first-born son in every house. You do this this thing with the blood over the door post, and so when the Angel of death or the destroyer comes into Egypt, if it sees the blood over your door, what will it do? It will pass over your house.
OK, so this whole meal ritual was first seen at the time that this enslaved group of people are just about to be what? Freed, redeemed. Right at the moment of their redemption, God institutes a ceremony. A symbolic series of events, don’t you think? This is not an opportune time for ceremonial instruction. I got my sandals on. I got my loins girded up. I’m ready to go.
Oh, wait, no. Now you’ve got to go find that lamb, you’ve got to cook it up a certain way, you’ve got to, you’ve got to slow down before you hurry up. And you’ve got to eat in a certain way. Why did God institute this ritual? Remember, when did their calendar start? On this day, right, the day that we’re reading about, the whole formation of all of their community, their culture, their whole life is being reformed in the midst of this redemptive moment. And God institutes a ceremony so that they don’t what? So they don’t forget.
And what is the Lord’s Passover? It’s where a substitute was slain, whose blood was put over your home, so that anyone who’s under the blood of the lamb would be saved. The angel of death would pass over. You see it. This is so formative in Yahweh’s mind that he commands a high holy day and a week-long feast of unleavened bread. He commands it as a natural annual rhythm so that the people do what? So they remember what? The Lord’s salvation. Here’s what’s interesting. This unleavened bread thing you guys remember we were talking about that a minute ago — you guys remember? OK, good yeah. If you don’t remember, you need to take some ginkgo biloba.
OK, so with the unleavened bread, there are two ideas here. One is that the idea is that it could be baked quickly. Here’s the other, and this is really interesting. Do you see how God is using this Passover concept to form his people? Remember, they’ve been enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years. Do you think they took on any of those cultural expectations and norms from Egypt onto themselves? Do you think they did that? Yes, they did. And so, God here is forming a people, forming them around the very center of their identity as God’s deliverance from certain death.
And this unleavened bread. What’s interesting, one of the lines of reasoning that you see is some of the ancients were meditating on this and wrestling, as they understood leaven to be a luxury of the Egyptians. That it was a luxury of the Egyptians, and we’re not going to bring their yeast into our bread. We’re not going to bring their yeast. We’re not going to bring those influences that worship other gods into what we consume. We’re going to be the type of people who focus on the provision of God’s bread.
This is really fascinating stuff. In fact, I would invite you to spend 100 years meditating on when Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Do you think it had yeast in it or not? OK, watch this.
“I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every first-born male in the land of Egypt, both people and animals. I am the Lord; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt.” (Verse12)
Is this hard? Yeah, and what do we do when we come across hard stuff in the Bible? I just want to notice something here. This is exactly what Pharaoh ordered to happen to God’s people. What’s different is Pharaoh provided no means of salvation from certain death. Here, Yahweh does. One of the interesting things here — I think it’s debatable — but one of the interesting lines of reasoning is it could well be that the Egyptians were also invited to take the blood of the lamb. They just failed to do it. So, God provides a means of salvation, where Pharaoh doesn’t.
I am Yahweh. I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. Notice here that the death of the first-born is a judgment primarily, against whom? The gods of Egypt.
“The blood on the house where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a memorial for you, and you must celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. You are to celebrate it throughout your generations as a permanent statute. You must eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day, you must remove yeast from your houses. Whoever eats what is leavened from the first day through the seventh day must be cut off from Israel.” (Verse 13-15)
Again, yeast here is being symbolic of all the stuff that they might have been taken from the Egyptians. Is that harsh? Sorry.
“You are to hold a sacred assembly on the seventh day. No work may be done on those days except for preparing what people need to eat – you may do that. You are to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread because on this very day I brought your military divisions out of Egypt. You will observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent statute.” (Verse 16-18)
Interesting language. What was their status before being redeemed? Slaves, and now he says, I bring out your military divisions. This could be a description that they did have military divisions. It could be. I don’t think it is. I think that what God is saying is I’m going to bring you out as a strong people, not a weak people, not a slavish people, but a strong people out of the land of Egypt.
“You must observe this day throughout their generations as a permanent statute.” So what does Christmas have to do with Exodus? It is the redemption story, and it’s also connected to Easter, isn’t it? You know the name of the lamb when translated is referred to as the Passion Lamb. Do you know that we’re weird the way that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection? What do we call it? In most English-speaking western places, we call it Easter. That’s very strange. The majority of Christians throughout history have just called it Passion, the same word for that lamb or that Passover. The Paschal lamb is the same thing that Christians for human history have been calling Easter because Easter is interwoven with the Passover. What is Easter? It’s the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection. And Jesus’s death, his shed blood is what brings us redemption and salvation.
The biblical authors saw in Jesus the ultimate Moses. Just as we are redeemed from slavery to sin and death through the shed blood of Jesus, we find ultimate redemption.
And I know that there are many of us who are here, we’re not Christians. We’re still trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus. Man, I’m so glad you’re here and I’m going to say something to you. I already know this to be true Christians a lot of times. I pastor many of them. And they know I’m weird, too. One of the weird things that seems quite weird to many Christians and people looking in is that we’re constantly singing about and talking about blood. There’s an old song, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Why are we singing about blood so much? This is why. Because we see in Jesus, through his sacrifice on the cross, that he was the lamb that was slain.
It’s interesting. You know your Christmas. You guys have nativity sets. Pull them out every Christmas time. Where’s Jesus? In a manger. Who lives in mangers? Yeah, the Christmas story and the Easter story are Exodus recapitulated through the lens of Jesus. Because your Bible is ancient, meditative wisdom literature that’s pointing you to Jesus.
Here’s what we’re going to do now. We are going to participate in this ancient practice of remembering. In just a few moments, we’re going to take communion together. In fact, I would invite you to grab the elements there. They’re available in the back of the seat in front of you, or on the tables in the back. For those of you joining us online, I invite you to grab some elements that reflect the body and blood of Jesus.
When Jesus sat with his disciples on the night that he was betrayed, do you know what meal he was eating with them? He was eating the Passover. But what’s really interesting about the gospel narratives’ description of that Passover meal is that there’s one element that is noticeable by its absence. Do you know what is absent in those descriptions of that Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples?
There was bread, there was wine, but what wasn’t there? There was no lamb mentioned, and I believe and understand that the biblical authors were actually showing you that the lamb was there — that the lamb was actually the one convening the meal when we take of communion.
We tether ourselves to this ancient practice of celebrating the Passover redemption from certain death. Freedom from slavery to sin. Have you ever wondered why we eat unleavened bread when we take of communion? It is because of this text, when we celebrate Communion, we’re celebrating the Exodus. The redemption story of God’s redeeming purpose is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus.