Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 42: Passover

Exodus 12, 13 & Matthew 26:1-35

These passages give us the Passover, both from its inception to Jesus’ celebrating it with his disciples.

Exodus 12:

The instructions given are very clear. Each household is to get one lamb. If your household is not big enough to consume that much, then share with another household so that all can eat. The lamb can be sheep or goats, which I don’t remember reading before. On the 14th day of the new first month of the year they are to be killed at twilight, roasted with bitter herbs and eaten with unleavened bread before sunrise. There are even instructions on how they are to eat, what they are to wear, etc. There is so much detail here about not only the first feast, but how to continue to celebrate the feast, that I have to wonder if this is like Jesus declaring the ritual of communion as he serves it the first time. Or is this a part of putting the liturgy of the people written down at a later time.
They are also told to put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and door tops. This will be a sign to God that Israelites dwell there and the angel of death will pass over them.
Pharaoh and the people of Egypt beg the Israelites to leave as they learn that every one of them has experienced a death in their families. The Egyptians give them everything that they ask for. The Israelites had lived in Egypt 430 years.

Exodus 13:

We are given the Passover as a reminder that God had spared the firstborn of their people and flocks.
God calls them out, but does not take them on the most direct path, because they were not strong enough for battle. This should remind us that the route we take may not be the most direct, but God is leading. God led as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The presence of the Lord was always visible to the Israelites.

Matthew 26:1-35

This passage begins by telling us the Passover is in two days. A woman in Bethany anoints Jesus with Perfume. In Mark and John she is named as Mary, the sister or Martha and Lazarus. This is an act of worship and of acceptance of the death Jesus will face in very short time.
Judas makes a plan to betray Jesus while Jesus is making plans to celebrate the Passover. At the celebration, held at the house of a certain man, Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray him. Judas seems shocked and asks if it is him. Jesus replies that it is Judas. Then Jesus begins what we have come to call communion. He tells them to eat the body and drink the blood of the covenant. Jesus says he will not eat of the bread or drink the wine until he drinks with them again in his father’s kingdom. It is important to note that in Matthews account, Judas is still in the room during communion and participates with the other disciples.
Jesus then predicts that they will all fall away. Peter is having none of that and says that he will die with Jesus. Jesus then tells him he will deny Jesus three times before the morning comes. It is a painful scene, I cannot imagine what these people were going through. I want to be hopeful, knowing the rest of the story, but when I read this I can only focus on their fear and anxiety over what might happen next.

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