“Passed Over”

A message for Maundy Thursday

April 9, 2020

Today we celebrate the day Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper as he and his disciples celebrated their last Passover feast together. 

In the eleventh chapter of Exodus you read about the tenth and final plague that God was about to send in order to persuade Pharaoh to set the Israelites free from their bonds of slavery, and also what the Israelites were required to do in order for the Angel of Death that God would send to kill the firstborn male in every Egyptian household from doing the same in theirs - to pass over their house.  For if the angel saw the blood of the lamb on their doorposts he would not bring down God’s wrath on that family and their firstborn would be spared.  

For Christians, the Passover contains rich prophetic symbolism that points forward to Jesus Christ.  The New Testament teaches that the Jewish feasts are “a shadow of the things that were to come” (Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1-4). 

The purpose of the blood applied on the doorframes was to save the firstborn son of each family from death.  The sacrificed lamb functioned as his substitute, which the apostle Paul said explicitly shadowed Christ in 1 Corinthians 5:7 where He wrote, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”  Yes, Christ, the firstborn Son of God, was sacrificed as our substitute, that we might be spared from eternal death.  The blood of the Passover lamb points to Christ, the one and only Lamb of God (John 1:29), who shed his blood on the cross in order to save us from God’s wrath against sin and from our eternal separation from God, for God’s Word clearly states that without the shedding of blood there is no remission from sin  (Hebrews 9:22). 

But not just any lamb would do, nor would any mere human do as the final sacrifice.  The Passover lamb had very specific requirements.  It had to be perfect in every way - completely without defect - which prefigures the sinlessness of Christ, the perfect Son of God (John 8:46, Hebrews 4:15).  Christ came to earth and was born as a human so that he might offer himself in our place, as our substitute, as only Jesus, God himself in the flesh, lived a completely sinless life, and could completely cleanse us once and for all, not merely cover up our sin as did the blood of the Passover lamb that was slaughtered every year did, even though it was as pure and innocent as it possibly could be.

The heart and soul of the Passover event was God’s saving grace.  God brought the Israelites out of Egypt not because they were a worthy people but because he loved them and because he was faithful to his covenant (Deuteronomy 7:7-10).  Similarly, the salvation we receive from Christ comes to us through God’s amazing grace (Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:4-7).  We are freed not only from the ultimate consequence of sin, which is eternal separation from God in the place we call hell, but from its chains, its hold on our life, just as the bonds of slavery that trapped the Israelites in Egypt.

Now my question to you is this, when the Angel of Death approaches your door, as he inevitably will someday, will he see the blood of Christ?  If he does, you also will be passed over and saved from a fate even worse than death; and instead one of God’s holy angels will carry you to your eternal home in heaven, where you will see your Savior face to face and forever be free from death and the myriad of other horrors that sin has wrought on this earth – fear, hate, sorrow, pain and suffering.

So as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, whether it be today, or any other time we gather to do so, may you meditate upon all that is represents, and rejoice that you are marked to be ‘passed over’ because of what Jesus did for you.  Amen.

VIDEO:  "Creeping Death"  (Metallica)