How can something ancient reveal something new? How can something steeped in tradition still have hidden mysteries waiting to be revealed?
Jesus came to the Passover feast with his disciples. For hundreds of years the Jews had the tradition of the Passover. It was given to them by God as a way to remember His mercy and deliverance.
Jesus looks at his disciples and establishes new meaning to the Passover. Now they are to remember his sacrifice until he returns. An old practice was given new meaning.
In the original Passover, God made a way for his people to be protected from judgment. The ingredients of the meal had significance in themselves, but the food comes in the context of a bigger story.
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
We often celebrate the Lord’s Supper and focus on the meaning of the elements. Bread = body broken for you. Cup = blood poured out as a saving act.
If we look beyond what’s on the table, we see that our salvation comes in a particular context. Like the ancient Jews at the first Passover, we are prepared to leave the place where we are oppressed. We dress ourselves and pack for the moment when the Exodus will take place.
With Jesus, we remember that we are also getting dressed and ready to leave our bondage to sin and slavery. The oppressors that hold us will be judged by God and we will slip away while God deals with them.
In the other elements of the meal, Jesus is the perfect lamb from our flock that had to be slain. His blood marks our domain. While death passes over the land, the blood of Jesus turns the destructive plague away from our door.
Let’s not forget that God’s judgment is at work in the world against wickedness and oppression. Jesus gave himself to spare our lives.
Are you remembering Jesus for the past actions of salvation? Will you also remember that he is returning for a Bride who is preparing to be with him?