Today we read Exodus 12 and the story of the institution of the Passover. I encourage everyone to read the story closely b/c the details are important. The meal points forward to the Last Supper and the Passion.
God establishes the Passover. For the Jewish people it will be the start of a new year, the first thing, a new beginning. They are to take a male unblemished lamb. Jesus will be called, “the Lamb of God” by John the Baptist. Remember also that at time Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son that he told Isaac, “God will provide the Lamb.” The blood of the Lamb is to be spread on a the door posts, not the walls on either side or above the door but on the wooden beams that make up the doorway. Of course, Jesus’ blood will cover the wooden beams of the cross, again a fulfillment of the Passover precedent. Notice, the lamb is sacrificed to God for protection from the Angel of Death. The Passover sacrifice protected the Hebrews from the immediate death of the tenth plague, whereas Jesus’ sacrifice protects us from death itself and opens the doorway to eternal life.
Importantly, notice that the lamb is sacrificed to God but it is not burned up or thrown out. It must be eaten, down to the last bit. Further, the Passover meal must be eaten with unleavened bread. At the last supper Jesus will connect these things saying that He (the Lamb) is now the bread.
In the passage, God twice says,
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance forever.”
17 “And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as an ordinance forever.”
Since Jesus is the Son of God, since we know from revelation that Jesus is the same triune God as the God of the OT, why then do Christians not celebrate the Passover today?
The short answer is that we do. The Lord’s Supper is the New Passover. And here is the key … it can only be a Passover if there is a lamb. A Passover meal without a lamb does not fulfill the requirements of a Passover. That is one way we know that the Lord is truly present at the consecration of bread and wine in a mass.
Finally, notice again a covenant is being made / fulfilled with a meal. God is beginning to fulfill the promise he made to Abraham. God is taking Abraham’s descendant out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God is renewing the covenant with Abraham and he does by means of a meal.