As Christians many of us don’t know exactly what to do with the Passover holiday.
Isn’t it only a Jewish tradition?
I’d like to take a look at this important holiday and maybe give you a fresh way to look at it in your life today.
You may recall the 1956 classic movie The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston playing Moses. Although Cecil B DeMille took artist license with some of the story, most of it is taken directly from Old Testament accounts of the Israelite's deliverance from 400 years of slavery.
No doubt it will be shown this week on cable. If you haven’t seen it or it’s been a while since you have, I encourage you to watch it with you family this week. The visuals from this movie help me to have a clearer perspective on the reality of the Passover and its importance.
In this story, God has heard the cry of the Israelite people who have been bound by slavery to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. A series of events leads Moses, who has grown up as a Prince in Egypt, out into the wilderness.
God comes to Moses in a burning bush and asks him to go rescue the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. After some initial doubt, Moses agrees. He goes before Pharaoh multiple times asking for the Israelite’s freedom to leave so they can worship God. Pharaoh denies them their freedom.
With each of Pharaoh’s denials God brings upon Egypt 10 plagues:
1. All the water in Egypt turned to blood
2. Frogs covered the land
3. All of Egypt was swarmed with gnats
4. Then a swarm of flies
5. All the livestock dies
6. All the people broke out in boils
7. A hail storm killed all the plants and animals
8. Locust covered Egypt and ate what was left after the hail
9. Three days of such darkness that no one could move
10. Death of all first born including people and animals
During the first 9 plagues God protected the Israelite people. But for the final plague-Death of the Firstborn- the Israelite people had to take an action to protect themselves.
Before the Death Angel came, God commanded the Israelites to put blood from an unblemished, first born lamb, over the door posts of each home; this would protect them from death.
Inside their homes, the Israelites ate a meal of roast lamb, bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. They ate bitter herbs to signify the bitterness of slavery. Unleavened bread; because the dough didn’t have to rise.
The meal was to be eaten while dressed for travel as a sign of their faith that God would deliver them. Although they were not yet free, they were to be prepared, for God had said he would lead them out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery. The Israelites were ready to leave at any time.
I’m sure you know the rest of the story, the Death Angel comes; the Pharaoh’s son dies then in his grief finally agrees to let the Israelites leave.
So what can we take from this story and apply to our modern lives today?
What lesson is here for us?
For us who are recovering addicts…?
For us who have overcome a particular challenge in our lives?
For us who have been freed from our own bondage?
Since Jesus was Jewish, he celebrated all the Jewish traditions. As followers of Jesus doesn’t it make since that we would celebrate those same traditions as well.
I suggest we take the Passover holiday and use it as an opportunity to celebrate the freedom that God has given us. Maybe have a Passover dinner with lamb, unleavened bread and some bitter herbs. I don’t mean in a legalistic way but simply to honor what God has done in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but the Death Angel has passed me by several times!
I am free today from the bondage of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, from sexual and relationship addiction, from the grips of pornography, fantasy and disease.
Father God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ; The Perfect Lamb, and covered me with The Blood that saved me from the ultimate Death.
Let’s use Passover as a memorial to the freedom God has given us.
What bondage has God freed you from?
What can you do to remember the freedom God has given you?
Maybe you aren’t yet free of your bondage?
What can you do as a sign of your faith that God will bring you out as He has promised?