Scripture Reading: Exodus 12
Can you imagine an event so memorable that people would still celebrate it 3,500 years later? Not 35, or 350, but 3,500 years later!?! The Passover was just such an event: the night the Israelites were set free from their bondage in Egypt.
We’ve already looked at one of the reasons God does things the way He does: so that the whole world will know that He is God, so they will put their faith in Him, too. But in this lesson, we see yet another reason: sometimes God fulfills His promises in a way that is so unforgettable that people will remember it for years to come.
When God called me into full-time ministry, He used a verse about the Passover to confirm it. I was asking God to confirm some things He was telling me were going to happen that day.
Two verses of scripture came to my mind: Genesis 2:3 and Exodus 12:2. I didn’t know what the verses said, so I looked up Genesis 2:3. It was about the first Sabbath Day. Assuming I must have heard wrong on that one, I turned to Exodus 12:2, which was about the first Passover. I began to write in my journal, “God, I don’t get it,” but before I finished the sentence, I felt like God said: “Like the Sabbath and the Passover were markers of special days, so today will mark a special day for you, Eric.”
“What will it mark?” I asked.
“The beginning of your ministry,” He answered.
God did what He promised to do that day, and within 48 hours I had quit my job and launched out into full-time ministry.
As memorable as that event was for me, it was minuscule compared to what God did for the Israelites on that first Passover night:
“Each man is to take a lamb for his family…year-old males without defect, and…slaughter them at midnight….take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs…On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn – both men and animals – and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD – a lasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:3, 6, and 12-14).
And a lasting celebration it has become. When Jesus celebrated the Passover on the night before He died, the tradition was already 1,500 years old. You’ve probably celebrated it, even if you weren’t fully aware of it, if you’ve ever taken communion, or the Lord’s Supper. For it was during the Passover meal that Jesus took the bread and the cup and spoke these words:
“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me…this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Just as the Old Covenant required a lamb to be sacrificed so the Israelites could go free, the New Covenant has the same requirement so that we can go free, except that Jesus is that lamb. The Bible says, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (I Corinthians 5:7).
For all that the Israelites had to go through in Egypt―the hard labor, the waiting, the wailing all around them―their day of freedom was so memorable we still celebrate it 3,500 years later.
Are you waiting for God to do something in your life? Are you wondering why it has to take so long―why your labor might be getting harder not easier? It just might be that God is working things out in such a way that when He does fulfill His promises to you, He will do it in a way that is so unforgettable, that you―and everyone around you―will remember it for years.
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.