Text – Exodus 12:1-14:
12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.
7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
In the Christian calendar, today is Maundy Thursday. The text for this day is from the Exodus account of the first experience of the Passover. During the time of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, God sent Moses to lead them out as free people.
A stubborn Pharaoh had other ideas so Moses performed a series of 10 miraculous plagues or curses on life in Egypt. It was the 10th curse that persuaded Pharaoh to release the people – when the land began to see the death of every first-born family member and animal. The final act of Israel before this plague was to sacrifice a lamb, smear its blood on the doorposts of their houses, and eat a hasty meal of roasted lamb and unleavened bread.
The blood on the doorposts harkens to the blood of Christ, both of which protects people from the death plague that hovers over us. A graphic reminder of what Jesus did for us.
Passover for the Jews and the Lord’s Supper for Christians are both very clear reminders of what the Lamb did in order for us to be protected from the threat of death. Praise to God for this gift.
God of Exodus and Eucharist, we give thanks to you for the reminder you have left us of your divine love in the meal of Lamb and bread. Help us to not take it for granted. To think that we can survive without being nourished by its truth. And Jesus, we cannot say enough about the extent of your sacrifice and your love for us. We pray this in your name. Amen.