Click here watch the entire Sermon video from 3.21.21 on “5 Important Things You Must Know About Passover”
Exodus 12:1-15 (NIV), “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. 14 “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. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.”
If it’s important to God, it must be important to me.
Passover showed that The Lord made a distinction between His people and those who were not His people, by the application of the blood to their doors. Covenant Matters…
Passover is all about The Blood… It’s about God’s redeeming power in the earth! It is about your deliverance, freedom, and protection by the Blood of the Lamb. Passover remembers the Israelites exodus from 100’s of years of slavery in Egypt, and the redemption of a newborn nation, a people belonging to the Lord.
It was the blood of the Passover Lamb that rescued the Israelites from the destroying angel, who struck down every firstborn in Egypt. It is the blood that saves, delivers, rescues, protects and covers you and your family. It is the blood that destroys the enemies of God!
There are 5 important things you must know about Passover which can be summarized in five words: memory, optimism, faith, family, and responsibility:
1. The Importance of Memory:
The Irish Catholic writer Thomas Cahill was so overwhelmed by how the Jewish people literally transformed the world that he authored what proved to become an international bestseller, The Gifts of the Jews. One of the major gifts he credits to Jewish genius is the invention of the idea of history.
In a day of “cancel culture,” God says, “REMEMBER!” “Remember that you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” “Remember that the Lord took you out of the bondage of slavery.”
Remember is a biblical mandate that had never seemed important to anyone else before the Jewish people came on the scene. It was the Passover story that initiated a commitment to memory.
Memorial– something that keeps remembrance alive.
I Corinthians 11:23-25, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Remembrance– recollection or reminder. History is the only way we can learn from the past. History allows us to grow by standing on the shoulders of giants. Make a mistake once, and you’re human. Never learn from what happened before, and you’re brainless.
That’s why it’s so important to heed the famous words of George Santayana that “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” If you erase it… You won’t learn from it!
Memory links our past to our future. It turns history into destiny. Learning to treasure it was the first step in our climb up the ladder of greatness.
2. The Importance of Optimism:
To study the Passover story in depth is to recognize that the most difficult task Moses had to perform was not to get the Jews out of Egypt, but to get Egypt out of the Jews.
They had become so habituated to their status as slaves, they lost all hope that they could ever improve their lot. Without hope they would have been lost. The true miracle of Passover and its relevance for the ages is the message that with God’s help, no difficulty is insurmountable.
A tyrant like Pharaoh could be overthrown. A nation as powerful as Egypt could be defeated. Slaves could become free men. The oppressed could break the shackles of their captivity. Anything is possible, if only we dare to dream the impossible dream.
It was the biblical record of the Exodus that enabled the spirit of optimism to prevail for the followers of Martin Luther King in their quest for equal rights, because they were stirred by the vision of Moses leading his people to the Promised Land. It was the hope engendered by recalling how God redeemed our ancestors that allowed even Jews incarcerated in Auschwitz to furtively celebrate the Festival of Freedom and believe in the possibility of their own liberation.
3. The Importance of Faith:
A pessimist, it’s been said, is someone who has no invisible means of support. Jewish optimism is rooted in a contrary notion, a firmly held belief that they are blessed with support from above by a caring God. And that faith in a personal God gives them faith in themselves, in their future and in their ability to help change the world!
The God of Sinai didn’t say “I am the Lord your God who created the heavens and the earth.” Instead, he announced, “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage.”
The Passover story conveys that history is not happenstance. It follows a Divine master plan. It has a predestined order. “Order” in Hebrew is “Seder” – and that is why the major ritual of Passover is identified by that name.
Coincidence is not a Jewish concept. Coincidence is just God’s way of choosing to remain anonymous. Faith gives us the certainty that whatever our present-day problems, history moves in the direction of redemption.
4. The Importance of Family:
Passover taught us yet another major truth: the way to perfect the world is to begin with our own families. God built his nation by commanding not a collective gathering of hundreds of thousands in a public square but by asking Jews to turn their homes into places of family worship at a Seder devoted primarily to answering the questions of children. It seems all too obvious…
Children are our future. They are the ones who most require our attention. The home is where we first form our identities and discover our values. More even than the synagogue or church, it is in our homes that we sow the seeds of the future and ensure our continuity. No wonder then that commentators point out the very first letter of the Torah is a bet, the letter whose meaning is house. All of the Torah follows only after we understand the primacy of family.
5. The Importance of Responsibility to Others:
One serious question begs to be asked as we celebrate our Divine deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. We thank God for getting us out, but why did God allow us to become victims of such terrible mistreatment in the first place?
A remarkable answer becomes evident in numerous Torah texts. The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt – and so they have empathy for the downtrodden in every generation. Your greatest ministry comes from the places you have bled in life..
We are called to be servants, to take care of the hurting, the widow, the orphan, the injustices, the fatherless… When you experience oppression, you understand more than anyone else the pain of the oppressed.
The purpose of any of our suffering is to turn us into a people committed to righting the wrongs of the world, to become partners with God in bringing redemption.