Peace be with you!
I love gathering around a meal with friends. Every January, I brave the cold to go to Convocation at Luther Seminary in St. Paul where I see many of my friends and colleagues. Each night, we pick a restaurant and gather as many people as possible. Our dinners usually last two or three hours as we catch up on the last year. We debate, cry, discuss, and laugh together. These dinners bring together friends and colleagues who do not get a chance to see each other during the year and give us a chance to be reenergized and refreshed.
The Lord instructs Moses to have the Israelites gather and roast a lamb together for the Passover. Each household is to take an unblemished, one-year-old male lamb (Exodus 12:5). Once the Israelites have the Passover, they are not turning back. The Passover begins the transition between being slaves in Egypt and being free in the Promised Land. The Lord has heard the Israelites’ cries and is ready to set them free. Now the Israelites have to commit themselves to the Lord and be his people.
The family is told to put some of the lamb’s blood on the doorposts (Exodus 12:7) and roast it over a fire with its head, legs, and organs (Exodus 12:9). The doorposts provide protection from the outsiders – those who do not follow the Lord. The doorposts also symbolize the Israelites’ exit as they prepare to leave Egypt. The lamb is to be roasted over a fire to remind the Israelites of the Lord’s presence in the world. The Lord spoke to Moses in a fiery brush (Exodus 3:2) to call him as the first prophet. As a pillar of fire, the Lord will lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Fire symbolizes the presence of the Lord.
The blood on the doorposts is a sign to the Lord to spare the household’s first-born child (Exodus 12:12). When Pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go, the Lord promises to kill the firstborn of the Egyptians who forced the Israelites into slavery. The blood on the doorposts symbolizes freedom for the Israelites, while the lack of blood on the Egyptians doorposts symbolizes judgment.
By celebrating the Passover, Jews are reminded how the Lord freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In the same way, Christians celebrate communion to remember how Jesus Christ walked, suffered, and died on earth to ensure our freedom from our past transgressions. In Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection, we receive forgiveness of our sins through his grace and love. We gather around the Lord’s Table to remember we are forgiven by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Help us to feel your presence as we go out into the world. Lead us to comfort those who are lost. Use us to share the good news with them. Thank you for forgiving us of our sins through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How are you slaves to the world, sin, or the devil?
- When and how has the Lord freed you from [whatever “it” is] that kept you from knowing him?