As we finished our study of Exodus on Tuesday night, one of the women shared that studying it had “made the New Testament come alive”. I love that! And I knew exactly what she meant.
One place where studying Exodus has made the New Testament come alive for me is in thinking about the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples the night He was betrayed. Their meal was no ordinary meal. It was celebrating the Passover. This event and the annual celebration of it that was instituted by God are described for us in Exodus 11-13.
The Passover is part of the tenth and final plague that God sends to the Egyptians to get Pharaoh to let His people go. The Israelites are to kill an unblemished lamb, spread its blood on the doorposts and lintel of the house with hyssop, and then roast the flesh and eat it along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. That night, the Lord struck all the first-born of Egypt, but He “passed over” the homes that had the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and spared their lives.
When Jesus is eating the Passover with the disciples, they are celebrating God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Then Jesus takes this ordinance and fulfills it. His body is the unleavened bread – one without sin. The cup represents His blood. It is the blood of the unblemished Lamb shed so that God will “pass over” our sin when we trust in Christ. We are spared from eternal death. And we are set free from our slavery to sin. Jesus turns the Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper which we celebrate today.
Studying Exodus made taking the Lord’s Supper a fuller and richer experience for me. My habit during communion was always to take time to confess sin to make sure I didn’t take it in “an unworthy manner” and to focus on what Christ did for me and be grateful once again. But studying Exodus added thinking about the Lamb of God who was slain for me, the One who is worthy to take the scroll in Revelation 5, as I take communion. I also take time now to think about my redemption from slavery to sin. I have been freed from the power and penalty of sin and now follow God through the wilderness of this world to the Promised Land of the New Jerusalem.
Another place in Exodus that took us to the Last Supper was in Exodus 24:9-11. After the people affirm the Old Covenant, Moses and Aaron and two of his sons along with seventy of the elders of Israel go up on Mount Sinai where “they beheld God, and they ate and drank”. In Luke 22:20, Jesus tells the disciples that the cup is “the new covenant in My blood”. It was eye-opening to read these passages and realize that both the Old and the New Covenant were affirmed by men eating a meal with God. As is true of much of Exodus, that meal on Mt. Sinai was a foreshadowing of what Jesus is doing at this Last Supper.
As I studied Exodus this year, there were many times when tears would spring to my eyes because God’s word is so beautiful: seeing the Old Testament fulfilled in the New, seeing the unity of God’s word and His faithfulness, and remembering over and over a perfect Savior who was foreshadowed in Exodus from the Passover to the tabernacle.
As we focus today on that Thursday night, on that Passover meal when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and ate and drank with them, take some time to read Exodus and appreciate the fulness of that moment. Thank Jesus for His deliverance accomplished by the blood of the Lamb.