When Jesus came to Jerusalem the final week before his crucifixion, he came to celebrate the Passover meal. Although this isn’t always the case, this year Jewish people celebrated Passover the same week we celebrated Easter, just last week. God originally instituted the Passover meal as a reminder of how he brought the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. The Israelites were enslaved for 400 years before God delivered them the night of passover.
God delivered them by supernaturally striking down all the firstborn of Egypt so that Pharaoh would let them go, and by “passing–over” the firstborn of Israel. The sign for God to pass-over an Israelite home actually came from the meal itself. The Israelites were to take a lamb, kill it, and wipe its blood on the doorframe of their homes (Exodus 12). They ate that lamb and God passed-over their home.
That night Jesus was betrayed, he and his disciples would have remembered how God delivered his people, the Israelites, out of physical captivity in Egypt through the death of a lamb. But then Jesus does something strange. At their passover meal Jesus says this meal is actually about him—that symbolically they were eating his flesh and drinking his blood.
Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (NIV®)
Jesus is saying this is his blood. I am the lamb! Maybe some of you remember what John the Baptist shouted when he saw Jesus coming towards him.
John 1:29b “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (NIV®)
Jesus is instituting a brand new dinner celebration. Passover celebrated the deliverance of the people of God from physical captivity in Egypt. The Lord’s Supper celebrates the deliverance of the people of God from spiritual captivity in sin. Just like an innocent lamb was sacrificed at passover, we remember the lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself for us. Now instead of receiving the judgment for our sin, God passes-over us because of Christ.
We are a new people of God who are exiting (exodus-ing) the land of captivity and are rescued by Jesus for eternal life. If you are someone who has put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the lamb who takes away your sin, I invite you to participate in this dinner. This supper is for you.
But if you’re still spiritually in Egypt because you don’t yet believe Jesus is your lamb, then this supper isn’t for you. But I hope that one day you will believe and take the supper so that God’s judgment passes over you and so that you are set free. For everyone else, please receive the supper. Let me pray.
Pastor Jonathan Romig wrote this reflection on the Lord’s Supper.