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Download Text of "Christ our Passover"

God had already visited nine plagues on Egypt—judgements for the opression of His people, Israel. As He told Moses at the burning bush, Pharaoh's heart was hardened and the God of Abraham. Issac, Jacob faithfully rendered retribution for years of slavery and disobedience to Him. Still, Pharaoh refused to yield. One final plague was necessary: makos b'choros—slaying of the first born.

With this plague, God intended to cover the entire land of Egypt, including Goshen where the Hebrews lived. In Exodus 11:4-6, God says:

...At midnight I will enter into Egypt: And every firstborn in the land of the Egyptians shall die, from the firstborn of Pharao who sitteth on his throne, even to the firstborn of the handmaid that is at the mill, and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as neither hath been before, nor shall be hereafter.

Emphasis mine

The Almighty's decision to include the entire land of Egypt meant that Israel had to be saved. So He designed a method that would stand as throughout the ages as an example of His mercy.

Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year; according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the side posts, and on the upper door posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it... And I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast: and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments; I am the Lord. And the blood shall be unto you for a sign in the houses where you shall be; and I shall see the blood, and shall pass over you; and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I shall strike the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:3-7; 12-13
Emphasis mine

Why did God condemn a lamb to death? God was punishing sin. In doing so, He had to include His own people, Israel, for they, too, were sinners. Since sin requires death (Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death...."), He allowed a substitute—the lamb. The lamb died so the first born of Israel would not have to die.

Later at Mount Sinai, while instituting the sacrificial system, God explained, " Because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul." (Leviticus 17:11) God was willing to allow Israel to cover their sins with the blood of animals so He would not have to destroy them in their sins. Still, the blood of animals was not so effective that it covered all sins. The sacrifices had to be repeated daily and as often as sin was committed. Until...

One day, about the year 27 AD, St. John the Baptist stood in the Jordon River. He was baptizing. "...John saw Jesus coming to him; and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who taketh away the sin of the world.". (John 1:29)

Why did St. John the Baptist refer to his own cousin as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world? He knew Who Jesus was...and is. He knew Jesus' mission. Jesus had come to clear the way between God and man that had been blocked by sin. He had come to fill the great chasm between God and man with His infinite mercy. He had come to die.

Here stands before us the Almighty God, through Whom the Father made all things (John 1:3). According to Hebrews 1:3, He upholds "... all things by the word of his power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high:" Yet, here He is—God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel—and He is a human being! Jesus, fully God and fully man, came to our planet and lived as one of us so that we could live with Him!

Even the time of Jesus' crucifixion is significant to Passover. According to Talmud, the Sanhedrin dispatched a cryer to go before Jesus saying, "'This man stands accused of sorcery and leading Israel astray! If anyone wishes to testify on his behalf, approach the Sanhedrin!' But no one was found to testify for him and so he was hanged on erev Pesach."

That Jesus was crucified on erev Pesach (the day before Passover) points to Him being our Passover. This was the day the Passover lamb was sacrificed. As Jesus died and the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom, the Passover lambs were being slain in the Temple.

This paschal sacrifice is renewed for us in the non-bloody re-presentation of His sacrifice in the Holy Eucharist. Upon the consecration of the host and cup, the Holy Spirit causes the transubstantiation of the elements and they become come the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. The Host is His body. The cup contains His blood. Rather than celebrate Passover only once per year, we are able to celebrate Jesus' paschal sacrifice daily. Instead of consuming a baby sheep to receive physical strength, we are able to comsume the flesh of the Lamb of God to receive spiritual strength. Passover is fulfilled and exceeded by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.

How, then, should we live when Jesus loved us enough to live with us? How should we love when we have been purchased by such precious blood? With great fear and reverence. We have been spared by divine love. We have been purchased by holy blood. We have been passed over from judgement to life. We are the redeemed. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, "I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life"—John 8:12

Jerusalem Time
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