Thinking about the Passover: Waiting for the Plague to Pass Over (part 1)
Christians and Jews know that the Passover is an important celebration. On the night of the Passover, the tenth plague passes through Egypt and brings death to the firstborn sons and animals. As a result, Pharaoh finally relents and lets God’s people go. The departure of God’s people from Egypt is the event that we call the Exodus. It is the great saving event of the Old Testament. Israel is supposed to celebrate it every year as the beginning of their year (Exod 12:2). We know that the Passover is an important saving event, because echoes of it occur across the Old Testament and into the New. Jews are thinking about and celebrating God’s saving work at Passover time. Therefore, it is not surprising that the central saving event of the new covenant should occur at Passover time, when Jesus comes to Jerusalem to die as the new Passover Lamb.
At this moment in time, we are perhaps in a better position to reflect on the Passover than we usually are. Like the Israelites, we are sitting in our houses waiting for a plague to pass over and praying for deliverance from it. Day by day, we are praying for protection, freedom, and anticipating what our lives will be like after this is over. We are eating and drinking and almost able to think that everything is normal, but we cannot ignore the fact that everything is NOT normal. The plague seems very near and we cannot ignore it. Our only hope is to look to the Lord for protection and to pray for deliverance, for ourselves and the world around us.
Unlike the Israelites, we know the end of the story. The plague did come, and God delivered the firstborn sons of the Israelites, just as he promised. Furthermore, we know that eventually Jesus would come, die at Passover time, and fulfill the Passover. Through this Passover Lamb, God would finally and fully deliver his people from sin and the plague of death (John 6:51-58). There is hope! Sin, death, and the plague will not win the day. Jesus has overcome death and the grave, so that we can too. As we wait, let us cling to faith, be faithful in prayer, and become even more faithful to God and to obeying his commandments. In Revelation 14:12, John says, “Here is the perseverance of the saints, who are keeping the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”