The Passover celebration commemorates God’s unbelievable rescue of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. As part of this incredible rescue, and the Israelites’ first born sons were saved from the angel of death by the blood of a lamb upon their door posts.
God, through Moses, parted the waters of the Red Sea so they could walk on dry ground, freeing them as slaves. God didn’t want his people to forget this significant event in history – so each year a special meal commemorated this day.
Our story today takes place at a Passover meal some 1500 years after the exodus.
Let’s find out more about this meal – with Jesus and his disciples.
John 13 (NET)
Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.
6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”)12 So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet.
So much is going on in this snippet, just before Jesus’ death. Jesus demonstrates humility by washing the feet of the men he was closest too on this earth. Jesus demonstrated servanthood by washing the feet of his disciples, but the events just hours away demonstrated ultimate humility – just hours later, he would be arrested, beaten, and killed upon a cross meant for a criminal.
THE ultimate act of a servant – dying for someone else.
The Passover meal included a lamb – when the Israelites were in Egypt, a lamb was sacrificed so that the firstborn Israelite wouldn’t have to die – the blood of the lamb was applied to the door and the angel of death passed over that house.
Each year they would say: “The lamb died instead of me.”
“Each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” v.3
“Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames…” v. 7
“That same night the are to eat the meat roasted over the fire…” v. 8
“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.” v. 14
Generations to come celebrated this event – which is why Jesus, some 1500 years later, celebrates the Passover.
Jesus knew the events that would follow this meal: Judas’ betrayal, arrested and handed over to be beaten, humiliated culminating in his death.
Everything in all God’s big story pointed to this night – the tree in the garden where Adam and Eve took and ate the fruit lead to the next tree – the cross.
Everything God did,
every sin the people committed,
every sacrifice that covered the sins committed,
the prophets, priests, kings – they all pointed to this night.
Through Jesus, God said – “I am about to deal with evil and sin and death once and for all.”
This. Was. It.
All the hurts and heartaches.
All the lies and deceit.
All the pains we closely bear in our hearts.
All the ways we rebel against God.
This one act restored us so we can know God
and he could give us a second chance.
God was already making everything new –
from the first tree in the garden – to this tree, the cross.
God was rescuing,
God was making a way,
And God was working out his perfect plan for us.
Through the perfect Lamb of God – Jesus Christ.
“The lamb died, instead of me.”
“The lamb died, instead of you.”
“The lamb died, instead of us.”
The lamb died – so you and I could be saved, and know God the father.
John the Baptist when he saw Jesus said:
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
The Prophet Isaiah said this of Jesus:
“He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
Do you know the Lamb of God?
Did you know Jesus, the lamb of God died instead of you? That he died for you?
“The lamb died instead of me.”