Today is Maundy Thursday, the commemoration of when Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper. Jesus and the disciples gathered to eat the Passover meal, remembering the beginning of the Passover in Exodus 13. What are some of the connections that we can appreciate between the Passover and the Lord’s Supper?
While there are many ties, and they can be described at great length, here are five that stand out. Some we can see easily and would even likely predict. But some show a new depth to the Lord’s Supper that we might not have seen coming.
All these ties to the Passover show the richness of Jesus’ actions by which he fulfills the Old Testament and also brings us a new covenant—a new testament of his love and sacrifice for our sake.
1. We answer the fear of death with blood.
Instead of fleeing from the approach of death, in the Passover the people marked their doorposts with the sign of death itself, the blood of the lamb. So also we find the answer for eternal death in the true body and blood of Jesus given for us.
2. We find that the death of the king’s son set the people free.
Yes, all the first-born of Egypt died that Passover night, but especially powerful was the death of Pharaoh’s son. So also we are set free when the King of King’s only Son dies. It is not the multiplied misery of the world that frees us, but the death of the one Son of God.
3. We remember while we eat the meal.
The youngest in the family was to ask why the Passover meal was observed and the answer was that it was to be a memorial of the deliverance by God, Exodus 13:9. So also we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in memory of all the work of Christ, his teaching, his miracles, and especially his death and resurrection.
4. We are not escaping slaves but free men and women.
The Passover meal led to the complete freedom of the Israelites who left the next day in broad daylight, taking the wealth of Egypt with them. So the Lord’s Supper declares to all who come and to all who hear that there is full forgiveness in the Body and Blood of Jesus. We receive that full forgiveness boldly and thankfully in sight of all who know us.
5. We have a new nearness with God in the Supper.
The Passover celebrated God passing by the people of Israel so that no death came to them. However, the greater celebration of the Supper doesn’t increase God’s distance from us, but brings him directly to us. He is not safely on the other side of the door, but he is here in, with and under the bread and wine. His nearness brings not death but eternal life.
So what a treasure we have with the Lord’s Supper especially when we remember its background in the Passover night and meal.
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