What is Passover?
The Exodus of Israel from Egypt is central to understanding God’s redemptive plan and power. We can liken the deliverance of God’s people from enslavement as the Gospel in the Old Testament. Within God’s deliverance of His people is a display of signs through His servant Moses, which culminates in the Passover, a key, redemptive portrait in Scripture.
The condition of the Israelites is one of enslavement. They have moved from a season of prominence in a foreign land. This occurred through the leadership and influence of Joseph coming to power in Egypt. However, their numerical increase and a new leadership dynasty has forgotten the former prominence of God’s people. They are mistreated, and in the midst of this mistreatment, God begins to unveil His compassion towards His people through His servant, Moses.
Sacrifice is a key theme in the deliverance and redemption of God’s people from enslavement. Moses is uncertain of his human abilities in leadership, namely his ability to speak and influence. God supplies another servant to help him, his brother Aaron. Moreover, God supplies signs to convey His power and might over every “god” on earth, with the focus in this instance on Pharaoh. The signs culminate in the Passover, a key act of deliverance and redemption, through the sacrifice of a spotless lamb, the shedding of innocent blood, and the covering of the doorpost with the lambs blood, thus saving those under the blood of the lamb.
The final sign displayed to bring Pharaoh to submit to the Lord’s plan is the plague of death. The firstborn child of every household not under the blood of the lamb would suffer the sign of death. The Bible notes that there was not one Egyptian household that didn’t suffer loss. God’s people are delivered because of the Lord’s provision of a way of deliverance. Their obedience to God’s instruction secured their deliverance from the death plague. Moreover, upon the final sign, Pharaoh commanded the Israelites to depart the land in haste.
God granted Moses specific instructions for the Passover, which included sacrificing a lamb, spreading its blood on the doorpost, roasting the lamb with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. The Israelites were to eat this meal in haste, ready to move at a moments notice. This meal was instituted as a festival of remembrance in the Jewish calendar. Every year the Passover is observed as a remembrance of God’s compassion, provision, redemption, and deliverance.
The Gospel of John:
The Passover is significant to John 6, our current passage of study. It is Passover time, and John brings to light Jesus’ work of feeding the multitudes, walking on water, and conveying that He is the Bread of Life. The passage culminates with many of His disciples expressing that the teaching is too hard, and walking away from Him. In this passage, we are reminded that Jesus is the greater Moses, as He brings to remembrance through His actions and words that He is the one foreshadowed in the Passover event, the parting of the Red Sea, and the manna that comes from heaven. We will examine Jesus as the greater Moses in the weeks to come.