Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
The Joy Of Our Passover
When the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, the Lord sent Moses to deliver the people through a series of powerful plagues purposed to show the Pharaoh the glory of the God of Israel. Ten plagues swept across the land and it was the last and final plague that set an eternal precedent of the coming of the Seed to save all men. The nation of Egypt had been ravished by the destructive hand of God. In the final act of God’s judgment against the Egyptian nation, the death of the firstborn would testify to the mighty power of the Lord on those who would oppose Him. As in all of the plagues, the Hebrews would be spared the fury of the Lord. There was nothing the Hebrews had to do with the first nine plagues but the final pestilence would be different. God would strike dead every firstborn of man and beast. Moses instructed the people to take a lamb without blemish of the first year and after four days kill it at twilight. They would take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts and lintel of the houses where they ate the lamb. When the Lord came that night to strike the firstborn in the land of Egypt (both man and beast) and He saw the blood on the door and lintel of those who served Him, He would ‘pass over’ them and the plague would not strike them. This became the Feast of the Passover celebrated on the 14th day of the first month (Abib or Nisan) followed by the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The night of the Passover would have been a terrifying ordeal to be a part of. When the hand of the Lord passed over the land, a great cry rose throughout Egypt and there was not a house where there was not one dead. So terrible was the plague, the land was filled with the mournful cries of families who lost loved ones. Only the Hebrews were spared but this was because of the sign of the blood. The people of God were saved because they believed and obeyed the word of the Lord. Faith alone did not save them but the obedience to the blood of the lamb sacrificed for the salvation of their lives. With this backdrop, Paul shows how Jesus is our Passover today and what vivid lessons are seen in this parallel.
All men sin and fall short of the glory of God. Under the hand of sin, we suffer eternal death separated from the Lord because of the rebellion against righteousness. There is nothing we can know or do of ourselves that can save us. Only through the grace of God will man find a way of escape. Like the deliverance of Israel, the judgment of God was coming upon Egypt. His grace told the people of the terrible dreaded hand of death descending upon the land. The grace of the Lord also told the people what they must do to be saved. Only by following the word of God would there be hope in the face of destruction. Grace being extended toward the people, they acted in faith by sacrificing the lamb in accordance with the word of God and sprinkled the blood where God told them. Grace, faith and works came together on that terrible night to save those who heeded the word of the Lord. The blood of the lamb only saved those who had obeyed the voice of God. Salvation came when the Lord saw the blood and He passed over. Death came to others because there was not blood. It did not matter whether a family believed or hoped in deliverance. If there was no blood God did not pass over.
Jesus is our Passover because He shed His blood as the Lamb for our sins. Through baptism the blood of Christ washes us from our sins. Washed in the blood of the Lamb we become blood bought people. Grace is found in God sending His Son for the sacrifice to redeem men and grace is found in the words of Jesus telling men what they must do to be saved. Grace alone cannot save because man has not ‘put the blood on the door and lintel.’ Obedience to the will of the Lord in baptism is where man comes in contact with the blood. Through faith, repentance, love, confession and a heart willing to take up the cross of Jesus Christ, salvation is found in the burial of baptism where the blood of Jesus takes away all sin. In the same figure as the original Passover, the blood becomes the evidence of salvation. When God sees the blood in the heart of the Christian, He passes over and blesses the child with eternal life. Jesus is our Passover because without His blood there would be no hope. Grace, faith and works are seen in our obedience to the gospel message.