The Treasure of Passover

Digging into God’s word is like going on a guaranteed treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to get, but you can rest assured it will be well worth the effort.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:7-13, 21-28
Key Verse: “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” Psalm 119:162

Sifting through the seemingly insignificant details of the Bible my favorite, because that’s where the real gems are. The ins and outs of Passover, our Scripture today, a fitting example of the spoil to be found.

  1. Selecting the lamb. The Israelites were to select their lamb on the 10th day of the month but it was not to be killed until twilight of the 14th. As such the lamb was appointed unto death before it was slain, just as Christ was, “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19). During that four day period the family inspected the lamb to be sure it was without blemish. Jesus too was inspected prior his death. Interrogated before the high priest and Pilate who in John 18:38 said to the Jews, “I find no guilt in him.”</li
    1. It had to be a lamb without blemish. Because nothing but perfection can satisfy a Holy God. Foreshadowing Christ who though tempted in every way, remained sinless, “A lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
    2. The lamb was roasted, not raw or boiled. Boiling the lamb would have taken too long. And raw, besides being disgusting, was a pagan tradition associated with the worship of false gods. But more importantly, the fire represented the lamb enduring the wrath of God, just as God poured his wrath on Christ. “Wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
    3. They were to eat the flesh as well: Sound familiar? “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man…you have no life in you” (John 6:53).
    4. They were to eat all the lamb. Because Christ did not just sacrifice part of himself.
    5. And nothing was to remain until morning. No leftovers this time, because the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is not an ongoing process. Christ died once for all and it was finished. (Hebrews 9:25-28
    6. They ate it with unleavened bread. Leaven in Scripture, symbolic of sin, was not to be part of this meal. Nor was it allowed for seven days after during the feast of Unleavened Bread. Because when we come to Christ, we’re to leave our life of sin behind and walk thereafter in righteousness.
    7. They ate with bitter herbs. Lest they forgot where they came from! The bondage and persecution the Israelites had suffered in Egypt was unpleasant bitter thing. Yet so was the undeserved crucifixion of our Savior.
    8. They ate ready to go. “With your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand,” Their deliverance at hand they were ready. Ready to go and be a people set apart for God. But the question is, delivered and set free, are we? “Having fastened on the belt of truth” and for shoes, “having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace,” and taken up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Gal. 6:14-17), are we ready?

    A meal of fellowship they ate with family and friends. (And still do.) The Passover meal called Seder today traditionally consists of the roasted bone of a lamb, roasted or hard-boiled eggs. Horseradish and/or romaine lettuce for the bitter herbs. And parsley dipped in salt water in place of the hyssop.

    Hyssop being a sturdy bushy plant with minty leaves, it was used at Passover like a paintbrush to apply the blood of the lamb to the outside doorposts. Later it was used to sprinkle blood on people (or things) for ceremonial cleansing. Not surprisingly it was used to offer Jesus sour wine while he hung on the cross as the agent of our cleansing.

    Today’s Seder or Passover meal also consists of Charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, sugar, and cinnamon. (Resembling a paste. The only sweet food at the meal.) Perhaps a reminder of the sweetness of redemption. Along with three pieces of matso or unleavened bread.

    Traditionally the unleavened bread is placed in a bag with three chambers called an echad, which means one in Hebrew. The matso (unleavened bread) placed in the first chamber is never seen or touched during the meal. The matso placed in the second chamber is broken in half at the start of the meal. One half goes back in the bag and the other is wrapped in a linen cloth. The piece of matso in the third chamber is used to eat the Passover (Seder) meal.

    The piece of matso wrapped in the linen cloth is hidden during the meal as a game for the children who are present. Once they find it, it is held for ransom. A tradition I’m sure many have fond memories of. But it’s also another detail with meaning.

    The echad (the one bag with three chambers), being a picture of the trinity, the piece never seen or touched representing God the Father. The piece broken, with half hidden and placed in a linen cloth, a picture of Christ. (Remember Christ’s words to the disciples, “This is my body broken for you.” His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45) And the piece eaten with the meal, a picture of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer.

    Yet the Jewish people traditionally view the three pieces of matso in the echad as representing Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Though they can’t explain why they break Isaac in half and wrap part of him in a linen cloth.

    I know what you’re thinking (because I’m thinking it too). How could they not see it? Year after year of the Seder meal, matso, and echad, yet still the true meaning slips by the Jewish people.  But how many details have slipped past me? The stories in Scripture something I’ve heard since I was a little girl.

    Romans 11 tells us the LORD has blinded the Jews for a time, handing us an explanation as to why they just don’t see it. But what excuse do we have? God’s word a precious treasure are we seeking it?

    “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Therefore, “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (Ps. 119:162).

    Keep digging my friend, and I’ll dig with you. There’s much more treasure to be found.

    Contemplate and Evaluate:
    What details blessed you most regarding the ins and outs of Passover?
    Do you nourish yourself with God’s word? Or is it merely a task or something you get to if there’s time?
    How can you rearrange your schedule to put Christ first?

    (Some of the information I found on the Seder meal came from A website I highly recommend as you dig into the details of Scripture.)

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