For most of you this is review; but for those who are new here, or are watching for the first time, Jewish history is summed up in three statements. Say it with me…
- “They tried to kill us.”
- “We won!”
- “Let’s eat!”
What is it about food being such a big part of everything? We feast at Chanukkah and we feast at Purim. And as Passover draws near… more food. Think about it: Adonai could have accomplished Israel’s national redemption – the Exodus from Egypt, without a lamb roast dinner. Yet He chose to do it this way (and, of course, those lambs pointed to the Greater Lamb to come). But here we are, nearly 3,500 years later, still celebrating Passover, and with these words:
“Let all who are hungry, come and eat!”
It’s an invitation to the world, not only to celebrate with us the fact that we’ve been set free, but to “taste and see that the Lord is good; (and) how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8).
I want to take a couple of minutes this morning and have us think about Passover in light of the ‘big picture’ of world redemption. Let’s contemplate an underlying but equally important theme of Passover: taking the good news to the world.
Do you remember what God said to Moses about the plagues He was about to pour out on Egypt? Those plagues would ultimately break the stubborn will of Pharaoh, but there was something much bigger afoot. God declared,
“When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My people, the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst” (Exodus 7:4-5).
And again, hear what He said concerning the destruction of Pharaoh’s army:
“All Egypt will see my glory and will know that I am the Lord, when my power is displayed upon Pharaoh, his chariots and horsemen” (Exodus 14:18).
In fact, by the time of the 7th plague (hail), Pharaoh was apparently the only one in Egypt who didn’t understand who he was defying. The situation had become so desperate, that his own servants challenged the foolishness of his obstinance. They said to him (10:7), “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?”
They were telling him, (forgive me…) resistance is futile.
The 10th plague, the death of the firstborn, finally broke Pharaoh’s pride, and at that point, Egypt was utterly devastated. The false gods of Egypt had been helpless to withstand Adonai’s plagues. His glory was manifested so powerfully, and so evidently, that when we left Egypt, Exodus 12 says we left as “a mixed multitude”. Many Egyptians (and perhaps others) joined themselves to Israel.
It was the beginning of something greater to come.
When we came to the Red Sea, and Pharaoh yet again changed his mind, and sent his chariots and army to kill us, Adonai performed a miracle of such magnitude that it changed the course of world history, and to that event – the parting of the Red Sea, and Israel’s crossing through on dry land – there are over 120 references in Scripture.
It stunned the entire ancient world. In all of human history, nothing like this had ever happened, nor would again. Distant nations got word of it, and became afraid of what it would mean when Israel approached the land of Canaan – the land promised to us by God in His covenant with Abraham.
Listen to the words of Rahab, who hid and protected the two Israeli spies who came to Jericho. She said, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”
Rahab and her family were the only ones spared when the Lord brought the walls of Jericho down. And her faith was sincere – she joined herself to Israel, married within Israel, and would become an ancestor of king David, and thus, of Messiah. And she is prominently mentioned in Hebrews – the Letter to the Messianic Jews!
And so we see that Passover, and the Exodus from Egypt, not only represents God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from four centuries of slavery, but was a world-changing event. One of such magnitude, that news of it spread to many nations. The intent was that the Faith of the people of Israel in the One True and Living God, would likewise spread throughout the earth. That people from every nation, tribe, and language would join themselves to Adonai, and to His people.
Hear some of the words of Psalm 97 (vss. 1-4a)
O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things. His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God! Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth…
If Israel walking out of Egypt could have that effect on the world…HOW MUCH MORE when Messiah walked out of that tomb?
For the next couple of weeks our minds will be on the themes of the blood of Passover lambs, and the blood of Messiah the ultimate Passover Lamb, of Israel’s redemption from Egypt, and of Messiah’s resurrection from the dead. And for those of us who have a real and personal relationship with the God who accomplished both things, we have so much cause for rejoicing… and eating.
Just as Israel’s Exodus out of Egypt was a world-changing event; one which was made known to all the surrounding nations, so Messiah’s resurrection from the dead was a world-changing event, and the world needs to hear about it! ‘The world’ includes the Jewish community, and announcing to our Jewish people that the Messiah has come should be our priority.
So my thought for Passover is this:
Are you doing your part to broadcast this Good News to the world? Okay, maybe at least to your neighbors… your co-workers… your friends?
If any of you who are watching the service with us, or who are here in person, are still on the fence about this, maybe fearful of the rejection you will face, I am telling you that whatever disapproval you may experience pales by comparison to the joy, the discovery, the fellowship, and the shalom that awaits you. If you’re ready to exchange the bread of affliction for Him who is the Bread of Life, maybe today is that day.
If you’d like to speak with me or one of our elders after the service, we will be available, and are happy to answer your questions and explain just what it means to transfer your loyalties to Yeshua the Messiah, and have everlasting life.
And for those of us who are already committed followers of Yeshua, let’s consciously make a greater effort, on any given day, to initiate conversations of a spiritual nature with the people around us, and endeavor to point them to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through Jesus the Lamb of God.