Sunset this Saturday evening marks the beginning of the seven day celebration of Passover to remember the goodness of the Most High God as He led the Children of Israel through the desert toward their new lives.
Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, "I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey." ' Exodus 3:13-17 NKJV
Stop for a moment and picture walking out into the desert, knowing that the Great I AM, Adonai, said He would lead you. Ok, in all honestly a bit of anxiety would begin to well up inside me. I would then likely consider the events of recent past, all the plagues and brutality of slavery, and think, "how much worse could it get?"
* Blood! * Frogs! * Gnats! * Wild Beasts! * Disease to Livestock!
* Boils! * Hail! * Locusts! * Darkness! * Death of the Firstborn!
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years--on that very same day-- it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:41 NKJV
The Israelites had endured through ten different plagues before the Pharaoh finally permitted the slaves to leave. 2020 was a rough year for many, isolation, illness and death, but once again, try to imagine the cruelty of slavery in addition to surviving ten plagues! I am not sure what the rest of 2021 has in store, but I am ready to get out of this past year, start over after only one pandemic, even if it looks like a desert ahead.
Not wanting to dwell on the past, let's consider the goodness of our God. Pesach, or Passover is a command to commemorate the salvation of God's people and to mark the beginning of the Israelite's calendar. God was announcing a new beginning, and what better way to start something year than with a feast to remember the good things in our life?
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.
So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat--that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.' " Exodus 12:1-2,14-20 NKJV
You may be wondering why it is so important to remove the leavening from the house and to eat unleavened bread. In Hebrew, the word for leavening is hametz, leavening or yeast, but spiritually represents the sin in our lives. During the seven day celebration, nothing with hametz is consumed. It is removed from the house, either by discarding or donating the proceeds from selling it. The house is swept clean. Like Lent, this is a time of spiritual evaluation of what is in your life that does not honor the Creator, and repent of sins. During Lent many Christians evaluate their habits and make sacrifices as a way to reset their priorities preparation for Easter. Spending time in God's word, evaluating our lives in light of God's holiness will draw us to repentance. Not so ironically, Pesach and Easter are essentially the same moedim, or an appointed time.
It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations. Exodus 12:42 NKJV
The goodness of our God saved a group of people who could not save themselves. He sent Moses to lead the people to new freedom as He taught them about Himself. With an outstretched arm (Exodus 6:6) He delivered His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22) to set them apart as His people in a land promised, flowing with mild and honey (Exodus 3:17). Likewise, Christ also stretched out His arms in order to redeem us from the slavery of sin so we might be free to live with Him for eternity in Paradise.
In Matthew 5:17-18, Christ stated His purpose was to complete what the Father had started: "Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud [the smallest letter] or a stroke will pass from the Torah -- not until everything that must happen has happened." CBJ
Christ observed the Passover with His disciples before He was crucified. The events of His life, especially the last hours, coincide to the events observed during Pesach. Yeshua is the Messiah of the Jews, our Christ, who fulfilled every last detail of the Torah, the Law, in order to bring us to a life of freedom in His goodness, purity and truth.
Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth. I Corinthians 5:7-8 CJB