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Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland
The Lord's Supper Series Index

#1.  The Passover-Calvary Connection
Never Forget!
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During this season of Lent we will study the Bible's teaching about the Lord's Supper.  This sacrament has various names.  Holy Communion, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of the Altar all refer to the same the thing -- the Lord's Supper, which Jesus established for us on that dark night before His crucifixion.  In our first lesson today we will look at amazing connection between the Lord's Supper and the first Passover.

Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 12:1-14, 50-51
    The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:  "This month will be the beginning of months, the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man must get one lamb for the people in his house.  If there are not enough people in his house to eat a whole lamb, he must share it with his closest neighbor, considering the number of people. There must be enough lamb for everyone to eat.  The lamb must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. This animal can be either a young sheep or a young goat.  Take care of the animals until the fourteenth day of the month. On that day all the people of the community of Israel will kill them in the evening before dark. The people must take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.  On this night they must roast the lamb over a fire. They must eat it with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast.  Do not eat the lamb raw or boiled in water. Roast the whole lamb over a fire—with its head, legs, and inner organs.  You must not leave any of it until morning, but if any of it is left over until morning, you must burn it with fire.
    "This is the way you must eat it: You must be fully dressed as if you were going on a trip. You must have your sandals on and your walking stick in your hand. You must eat it in a hurry; this is the LORD's Passover.
    "That night I will go through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn animals and people in the land of Egypt. I will also punish all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.  But the blood will be a sign on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. Nothing terrible will hurt you when I punish the land of Egypt.
    "You are always to remember this day and celebrate it with a feast to the LORD. Your descendants are to honor the LORD with this feast from now on."
    So all the Israelites did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.  On that same day the LORD led the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.  (New Century Version)

Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
You know the saying, "Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise."  Take out all the old yeast [i.e. sin] so that you will be a new batch of dough without yeast, which you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  So let us celebrate this feast, but not with the bread that has the old yeast—the yeast of sin and wickedness. Let us celebrate this feast with the bread that has no yeast—the bread of goodness and truth.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 26:17-20, 26-30
    On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the followers came to Jesus. They said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?"
    Jesus answered, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: The chosen time is near. I will have the Passover with my followers at your house.' "  The followers did what Jesus told them to do, and they prepared the Passover meal.
    In the evening Jesus was sitting at the table with his twelve followers...
    While they were eating, Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it and broke it. Then he gave it to his followers and said, "Take this bread and eat it; this is my body."
    Then Jesus took a cup and thanked God for it and gave it to the followers. He said, "Every one of you drink this.  This is my blood which is the new agreement that God makes with his people. This blood is poured out for many to forgive their sins.     I tell you this: I will not drink of this fruit of the vine again until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
    After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.



The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:  "This month will be the beginning of months, the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man must get one lamb for the people in his house.  If there are not enough people in his house to eat a whole lamb, he must share it with his closest neighbor, considering the number of people. There must be enough lamb for everyone to eat.  The lamb must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. This animal can be either a young sheep or a young goat.  Take care of the animals until the fourteenth day of the month. On that day all the people of the community of Israel will kill them in the evening before dark.  The people must take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.  (Exodus 12:1-7 )

That's sick!!

Imagine what would happen if you tried that -- painting blood on the front of your house around your door. How would your neighbors react?  They would suspect that you part of some evil cult.  They would report you to the police, and the police would charge you for violating city zoning laws.

Yes, what the Israelites was ugly. But so is our sin, which is exactly what God sees in us... unless we are covered by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

Now picture not only that door, arched in blood, but picture what is behind that door -- a family of Jewish slaves.  And the only thing that is protecting any firstborn person from certain death was that lamb's blood over the door.

God said:
"That night I will go through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn animals and people in the land of Egypt. I will also punish all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. But the blood will be a sign on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. Nothing terrible will hurt you when I punish the land of Egypt."   
(Exodus 12:12-13 )*

While the Israelites are eating their evening meal -- the cooked meat of the lamb whose blood is painted around the door -- the call comes.  Everyone in that house immediately leaves through that door.  Every man, woman, and child, forever leaves their slave house, going through the lamb's blood into freedom, into a covenant relationship with the Living God, into new fertile homeland of their own, a land "flowing with milk and honey."

Christian, your life also has been preserved from death, an eternal death in hell.
And what saves your life is also the death of a lamb, the very of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Your exit to freedom is also through the blood, the blood of Jesus.
And you have freedom, freedom from the consequences of sin, yes,
but you also have
    freedom from your former slavery and bondage to sin,
    freedom from your obligation to succumb to the power of sin.

Through the blood of Jesus you enter into a New Covenant with the Living God,
not a covenant based on the Law,
    but a covenant based on forgiveness
    and the power of the Holy Spirit
(Jeremiah 31:31-35).
 And through the blood of Jesus
    one day you will be able to enter into a new home land.... called Heaven.

After God led Israel out from their slavery into freedom, every year they remembered what happened on that night by reenacting the Passover meal.  Every year they ate roasted lamb and unleavened bread as they recited the story of their salvation.  But never again did they paint the lamb's blood over the door of the house, because purpose of the lamb's blood was fulfilled.  They were home.

God established this annual meal to help them remember, so they will never, never, never forget what He did for them, and how He saved them.

So it happened during that Passover celebration that our Lord offered Himself on the cross for our sins. 

And again He established a meal for us -- the Lord's Supper -- to help us remember, so we never, never, never forget what He did for us, and how He saved us.

The Bible says:

"Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup we announce the Lord's death until He comes again." 
1 Corinthians 11:26

The Old Testament Passover meal commemorates Israel's freedom from temporal bondage.
The Lord's Supper commemorates freedom from eternal bondage to sin death & the devil.

The lamb sacrificed in the first Passover was Israel's passage into a covenant of Law.
Our Lord's sacrifice on the cross is our passage into a covenant of Grace.

The lamb sacrificed in the first Passover protected the firstborn of the family from death.
The Lord's Supper commemorates the death of The Firstborn Son of God.

Israel's annual Passover meal carries them back to Egypt, where they stand with their ancestors on the banks of the Red Sea.
The Lord's Supper carries us back to the Cross, where we watch Him suffer and die while He says, "Father forgive them..."



Jesus said:
"This bread -- take and eat.  This is My body."
"This cup -- take and drink.  This is My blood, that I pour out for you
    to forgive your sins."



Notes:
Exodus 12:12-13  
Often when we tell the Passover story, we misquote Scripture by saying that God sent the "Angel of Death" through the land of Egypt... Notice the Lord says,

"That night I will go through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn animals and people in the land of Egypt. I will also punish all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. But the blood will be a sign on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. Nothing terrible will hurt you when I punish the land of Egypt."

The Scripture never mentions any angel in this context. 

The only angels cited in the Exodus story are (1) the "angel of the Lord" that appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2), and (2) the "angel of God" associated with the pillar of cloud who protected Israel during the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex 14:19-20; also see Ex. 23:20-23).

Read about more connections between the Passover and the life of Jesus in our study about Christ and the Passover.