The Blood of the Lamb… not the blood of man!
As Passover approaches, visions of matzo and traditional celebration foods dance through our heads. We turn from typical leaven-based foods to those that symbolize the sinless sacrifice that substitutes for us. An innocent life was taken and the blood spilled became our covering… sparing us from death.
This year Katharine’s and my local congregation will host a Seder for hundreds of people. The celebration will manifest as a tapestry of many moods—the sobriety of slavery, the mystery of release from bondage, and the overwhelming joy of knowing a God who cares for us! The Seder tradition goes back three thousand years and follows the mandate given to Moses in Exodus 12:
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. …13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.’”
The Lamb’s Blood
The lamb’s blood applied to the doors and lintel of each home guaranteed safety. Biblical Judaism virtually ceased with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. The rabbinical system that replaced it is the foundation of Jewish religious observance today. The conspiring of political and religious leaders may take on different forms in each era, but the net effect is the same:
The departure from Biblical Judaism keeps Jewish people from knowing our Messiah and keeps the nations from acknowledging the King of the Jews and Savior of mankind. There are similar coalitions at work in the world, and they have ancient roots: Pharaoh and his magicians challenged Moses, Pilate and Herod withstood Yeshua, Roman leaders and his former religious colleagues imprisoned Paul.
We who grew up in New York City would spend the first night of Passover week at one family home and the second at another. Always, my Uncle Sam (the doctor!) would officiate, as the eldest of the Cohen clan (Mom’s maiden name). The message was fascinating but contained some spooky elements that alternately pointed to a supernatural God and to the Hollywood version of the story. In my mind, Egypt’s Pharaoh will always look like actor Yul Brynner. Moses must be Charlton Heston! The humor contrasts with the awesome truth of Yeshua as the Lamb of God.
As we retell the story each spring, a very poignant reality dawns. Only the blood of the Lamb still saves, as it is spiritually applied to the heart. The headlines daily recount atrocities committed in the name of Allah, spilling blood that is of no effect, as it advances nothing for humankind. May the power of the blood of Yeshua be revealed to Moslem hearts this Passover!