April 5, 2012
EXODUS 12:1-4, 11-14 & MATTHEW 26: 26-30
THE NEW PASSOVER
The giving and receiving of God’s provision of Manna in the long desert journey of God’s OT people, was not so much about food, but about dependence and trust between people and God. The manna was given with constraints around it. You could not store it up, hoard it or control God’s gift. You could only collect enough for your own daily needs—except on the Sabbath when you could receive twice as much as you needed for day. In this way, over a generation, God’s people were taught to rely on God’s provision and so, trust him for his faithfulness and commitment to them.
We cannot hoard God’s gift of life in this holy meal tonight. We cannot store it up or control the giving of it in anyway—we can only gratefully receive the Bread of Heaven—Jesus Christ and his grace and mercy.
On him we rely from day-to-day, week-to-week for our life and it is all about a simple trust in his commitment and faithfulness to us.
Jesus revealed that God is still the one we rely on when he did several “feeding” kind of signs in his ministry. He provided for the wedding guests at Cana with choice wine. He fed the thousands on two occasions (John 6:1-15….). Jesus even named himself the “Bread come down from heaven” – the new manna for God’s people to feed on. The bread we rely on is Jesus’ very own body which gives us life and healing and forgiveness. And of course, Jesus also named himself “The Bread of Life” in one of his “I AM” declarations in John’s gospel.
It is no surprise then that at this final moment before his greatest work on our behalf is achieved, he revolutionises the OT Passover forever. Jesus takes it from being a meal of remembering of God’s great power and love in freeing his people from slavery and idolatry in Egypt to now being a meal of God’s very presence for complete forgiveness for all time. It is no longer a meal where the roasted year old sacrificial Lamb without spot or blemish is the meal, but his own sacrificed body and blood is the food that gives God’s life and forgiveness to all who partake in simple faith.
Jesus, by naming that bread and that cup himself in that very Passover meal reveals himself to be God’s ultimate and final saviour from slavery and idolatry and the beginning to a new way in which God now relates to people. He now establishes God’s favour and blessing on sinners received by faith in the cross of Jesus and not the keeping of God’s law. People will now be made acceptable and holy before God by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ—and not just the Jewish people, but now, all people.
On the Easter cross Jesus reveals that he himself is both the meal of life and the host of the meal of life. Jesus both gives the meal and actually is the meal.
His holy meal makes us holy and acceptable to our Heavenly Father and all this is done by Jesus—from beginning to end—it is all him and his power and grace—his presence and his hospitality toward us sinners, whom he loves and welcomes to his table as we gather in his name.