The exodus from Egypt was a big deal. It is an event still remembered today. A tradition kept because God said so. We heard in our last reading that not only did the Israelites leave Egypt with God’s help, but other slaves and tag-alongs did as well. Our reading today sets the guidelines for the remembrance and how it should be commemorated.
Like an army, it says, the Lord brought the people out. That must have been quite a spectacle. The people were on their way to a new reality that we will see unfold in the days ahead. For now, we should read this passage as a word from God to remember him. Do you celebrate the Passover in your tradition? If not, today’s reading will be a good reminder of what God decreed.
I was a little surprised by God’s instruction to sacrifice all first born sons (human and animal) when given the land where the Canaanites now live. That is the “promised land” and the time will come when the Israelites arrive. In the meantime, each year they are to remember how God rescued them from Egypt. In terms of the sacrifice, God gave them an out – to purchase back their children/livestock with another sacrifice to the Lord.
Living in an age where we don’t use sacrificial offerings in our time of worship, this practice seems a little odd. Why is that? Because for us as followers of Christ, there is a new covenant. Jesus died for us as our perfect sacrifice. He paid the price for all. The need for animal sacrifice is no more.
In today’s reading, there was a brief foreshadowing of Jesus’ death. As the perfect sacrifice, no bones were broken. Jesus’ bones were intact when he succumbed to death on the cross. Just as the sacrificial lamb in the Passover meal must have no broken bones (v. 46). Did you catch that? Pretty cool, huh?
Whether or not we celebrate the Passover, we celebrate our risen Savior. We remember Jesus each time we take communion, just as he commanded us to do. That feast is open to all who believe. While present-day churches may present the sacrament in different ways, it is Jesus we are remembering. We have our own traditions we hold dear.
Was there anything about the Passover tradition that surprised you? Feel free to share in the comments.
Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me when I get distracted from what’s important. May I never forget the sacrifice you made for me. As I ponder the exodus and how God’s hand was at work the whole time, help me remember that same power and provision is available to me. I am not alone as I traverse through life. I pray I don’t get lost and forget what you have asked of me. May I always remember and be overflowing with gratefulness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.