Exploring through the Passover how Christ’s sacrifice provides satisfaction for sin
The Passover Lamb
In Exodus 13 God tells Moses to instruct the people of Israel to celebrate this Passover meal every year. As part of that instruction God makes it clear that all first born males, human or animal belong to God forevermore. But they are to redeem their firstborn children through the sacrifice of a substitute, a perfect lamb.
In the New Testament when John the Baptist sees his cousin Jesus walking towards him to be baptised in the Jordan River he makes a huge claim. He cries out;
“Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world!” John 1:29.
The death of Jesus is a continuation and culmination of the Passover tradition. The death of Jesus is like another Exodus. Through his death we are no longer slaves to sin.
Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus is the substitute sacrifice, he died, his blood painted the crossbeam of our hearts and God’s holy judgement will Passover us because we have been clothed in his righteousness. Jesus is the final and enduring Passover Lamb.
Matzah is such a key part of this tradition that over the years Jews have become incredibly specific on how it is to be made.
– Whole house must be cleaned a week out from Passover to remove any trace of yeast
– Matzah should be cooked on a grill over an open flame just like they would have in Egypt, this causes small burnt circles, like bruises where the flames touch
– charcoaled stripes on the bread from the grill
– Matzah is not to be flipped but rather pieced with a skewer so that heat can penetrate the bread.
What does that remind you off? Pieced, bruised, striped on one side.
There’s a specific ritual that Jews follow when it comes time to eat the Matzah at the Passover. There should be exactly three Matzah on the Passover plate. Holding all three the leader selects the middle one and breaks it. He wraps it in a cloth and hides it away. After the meal the children of the family will all rush to be the one to find and return the broken Matzah. For those of us with a Christian theology we understand that Jesus is one part of the three in one God head, we even say Father, son, Holy spirit; placing Jesus in the centre. And it is the Son who is sent by the father to reveal God, to teach, to heal and eventually to have his body bruised, striped, pieced, and broken on the Cross. His dead body was then taken, wrapped in a shroud and hidden away in a tomb for three days only to be found by Mary on resurrection Sunday…
It all points to Jesus.
THE FOUR CUPS
- “I am the Lord; and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians”. You would drink and remember the promise of God, that you were to be brought out of slavery.
- “I will free you from being slaves to them”. You would drink and remember that God saved your people from slavery.
- “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts”. You would drink and celebrate that God parted the waters and delivered your people from danger.
- “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God”. And you would be reminded that God has taken a multitude of slaves and created from them a great nation, adopted by the most high God to be a blessing to all the world.
But, there’s a fifth cup. A cup that is not to be drunk. It sits at an empty place at the table for a very specific guest to drink. It is there for the prophet Elijah. Jews believe that one day Elijah will return, sit at the Passover meal, drink the fifth cup and announce the coming messiah.
The cup is called TEKU, which means UNFINISHED. This represents the stored up wrath of God.
This cup must be drunk to its dregs if humanity is to be restored to God.
Read Matthew 26:36-42
Now read John 19:28–30
Jesus has drunk the fifth cup. The cup of wrath, the TEKU cup, the unfinished cup has been drained to the last drop.
Jesus is the Passover lamb who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus is the bruised, stripped, pieced Matzah; the bread of life, broken and entombed for three days before. Jesus is the one who at the will of the father drank the cup of wrath that sits over your head and for all those who recognise and bow down before the risen Jesus hear these words as a declaration of victory over your slavery to sin… t is finished.