“Why does God have to punish sin? Because he’s so good. Why does God want to forgive sin? Because he’s so good.” Tim Keller
On friday night, Jewish people around the world started celebrating the Passover. On the same evening Christians remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Scripture is clear that God carefully planned the timing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The high priest’s practice of killing the Passover Lamb had been in force for hundreds, perhaps a thousand years. On Friday of the year Jesus died, the Jews celebrated Passover and killed a lamb for the temple sacrifice. Jesus, the Lamb of God, died at that same time in order to take our sins upon Himself.
This Friday, Heritage will celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a Church Body, remembering that it was instituted at the last meal our Savior enjoyed before His death (Matt. 26:26–29). This sacrament is central to the life and worship of Christ’s church, but, it didn’t start in the upper room and it doesn’t end with us leaving with a hymn. To understand the significance we remember what came before.. Just as our view of baptism is informed by its link to circumcision (Col. 2:8–15), so too does the link between Passover and the Lord’s Supper, which was instituted at Passover, help explain the purpose of eating the bread and drinking the wine.
At the original Passover, the Lord said the firstborn of every house would die unless the doorframe of that house was covered with the blood of a perfect lamb. That night, the Lord “passed over” the homes with blood on the door frames. God would tell the people to remember Passover for generations to come. And years later Jesus ate remembered the Passover with His disciples. He even said that He eagerly desired to eat this Passover with them before He suffered (Luke 22:7-16). Jesus was crucified as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of His sacrifice as the perfect PAssover lamb and the fulfillment of the new covenant between God and man.
Ligonier Ministries explained it this way:
“Passover was established when God rescued His people Israel from Egyptian slavery. After nine plagues did not move the pharaoh to let the Israelites go (Ex. 7:14–10:29), God sent one final plague that provoked the king of Egypt to relent temporarily and free the Israelites. This plague, the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn sons (Ex. 11:1–10), gave only a short window in which to escape; thus, the meal preceding it had to be something that could be eaten in haste. Unleavened bread was essential to the Passover as the people had no time to wait for the dough to rise if they were to get away (Deut. 16:3).
The blood of the Passover lamb was also a part of the feast. Though the people did not consume the blood, they did spread it on their door posts so that the angel of death would “pass over” their households (Ex. 12:7–13). In so doing the Israelites marked themselves off as God’s people, saved from His wrath.”
Though God elected to save the Israelites, their sin did not make them any less worthy of death than the Egyptians. But the Lord provided a way for them to escape His wrath in those days. Ultimately, this looked forward to the time when the Lord would eternally save His people from judgment. We are saved from God’s wrath by God Himself. Let us never forget the righteous character of our Creator, who, despite our sin, mercifully chooses to redeem His people.