Updated: Sep 17, 2020
I’ve learned some very interesting tidbits about this Jewish holy day over the last few years. You probably know that the first Passover was the night before Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God instructed them a few days earlier to select an unblemished lamb for each household. There were a lot of instructions that went with how to cook this lamb, how to eat it, and even preparing the household the previous couple of weeks, and every instruction carried revelatory meaning. But I’ll stick to the basics.
The entire lamb was to be consumed -- representative of receiving everything Jesus died to give us – the full gospel. If the household was too small to eat an entire lamb in one sitting, then two or more families would share a lamb – representing sharing Christ with your neighbors. The meat was to be eaten with bitter herbs (cleansing) and unleavened bread. That was bread with no yeast. This represented sinlessness.
You probably know all this already. But did you know that this unleavened bread, matzah, was prepared under special instructions that even today no rabbi can explain? It makes no sense to them because it’s all about Jesus. The way the cracker-like matzah is formed and baked, it comes out with holes piercing it and the look of stripes. Pierced and striped, a picture of Jesus’ scourged and crucified body. And they were baking it this way for two thousand years before Messiah showed up.
When the lamb was slaughtered, the blood of the lamb was to be applied using a bunch of hyssop, a cleansing herb, to the family’s doorframe, above and on both sides, which effectively made the sign of the cross on the door. This would prevent the spirit of death from entering that night. The Egyptians had no such protection, and the Israelites could hear the wails of grief from across the river as the firstborn of every household died.
Odd as it must have seemed, God instructed the Israelites to eat the lamb quickly, standing up, with their sandals on and their staffs in hand -- not proper table etiquette. There may be more to this than I realize, but I do know that for people in bondage for hundreds of years, this took faith. To be ready to leave the only home they’d ever known or could even imagine, at a moment’s notice, must have been nerve-wracking, even with the promise of freedom it made possible.
So far, in that first Passover, we’ve seen the representations of Jesus as the Lamb of God, the sacrifice for all mankind, we’ve seen His cleansing blood on the cross, His sinlessness, the full gospel, quick obedience, faith, and evangelism. But wait, there’s more!
Exodus 12:37 tells us that 600,000 men, plus women and children left Egypt the next morning, which means there were likely over 2,000,000 in all. Not only did they leave, but they left wealthy, because the Egyptians showered them with gold, silver and fine textiles on the way out – their way, I suppose, of saying, “PLEASE go, and take your plagues with you!” That’s supernatural favor if there ever has been.
Next, King David tells us in Psalm 105:37 that there was not one feeble among them! Note that both scriptures, in Exodus and in Psalms are verse 37, and that number means perfection/sanctification/salvation. There are no coincidences in the Bible.
Can you imagine – 2 million people from 0-100 years old, we’ll say, and not one of them sick or lame or blind or deaf? I’m willing to bet that wasn’t true the morning before. Slaves are usually down-trodden, and that affects a person's health. So how were they suddenly all made well? What occurred that made all this healing manifest?
They ate of the lamb. The first Passover was also the first Communion, but they had no idea. There is healing in consuming Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life, our daily Bread, the Children’s Bread, the true Manna.
Passover is a beautiful celebration, but much more so to those of us who know Who the Lamb is. And we know we can partake of Him any time.