The way God frees the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt involves a lot of puzzling things, especially hardening Pharoah’s heart and the destructive ten plagues, but the rescue also involves a lot of symbolic things. The Lord claims the nation of Israel as his firstborn son, and he kills every firstborn in Egypt in the final plague to emphasize this and to finally free his people from their slavery. He tells Moses and Aaron to tell the people of Israel to kill a lamb, spread its blood on their doorposts, and roast and eat its flesh the night before the Lord is to kill every Egyptian firstborn. The lamb’s sacrificial blood will cause the Lord to pass over the houses of the Israelites, sparing their firstborns.
This Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 is a foreshadowing of the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. The blood of his sacrifice on the cross covers our sins by forgiving them. Because of his blood, we are spared from the death earned by our sins; we are spared the righteous judgment of God and given life instead.
I had never noticed the bit about eating the Passover Lamb. This time when I read about the Passover and thought of Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb, I remembered his puzzling words in John 6: 53-55:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. ”
It makes more sense in light of the feast of the Passover. The people ate the flesh of their sacrificial lamb. In the same way, we feast on the flesh of our sacrificial lamb. We let his grace, mercy, and righteousness be the substance that gives us life, strength, and nourishment.
As Jesus celebrated his last Passover feast with his disciples before his crucifixion “he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood'” (Luke 22: 19-20).
Communion is a picture of this feasting on the flesh of our Passover Lamb, who gave his life freely as a sacrifice for us, that we might be forgiven, spared, and rescued from slavery to sin. Let’s feast daily, every moment, on his incredible grace, love, righteousness, and eternal life given to us in his sacrifice on the cross! His flesh is true food and his blood is true drink because they save and sustain our souls, which are eternal.