Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Passover, Then and Now

Mark 14:12-16 (ESV)
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" [13] And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, [14] and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' [15] And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us." [16] And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

They Sacrificed the Passover. A friend of mine was threatening to write an article on that word sacrifice and its use in the Old Testament. Not sure if Robert Macina has gotten around to that, he is a lucky man doing a PHD under Kleinig in Old Testament worship. In any case he was bringing up something that is often overlooked. There is a difference between sacrifices and offerings. Sacrifices are eaten, offerings are not. So you have a burnt offering, which is totally consumed by God, (Yes God consumes meat, or at least he did,) but that is not a sacrifice. The Passover was the sacrifice of sacrifices. In many ways, the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament revolved around this one sacrifice which commemorated the Exodus, God’s rescue of Israel from Egypt. The Passover on the other hand, was to be eaten, the whole lamb, nothing left.
The way in which one participated in a sacrifice, was by eating. When one consumed the sacrifice one received the benefits of that sacrifice. Of course this has quite a few implications for the New Testament. “So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53 (ESV) Yeah, I’m going there.
Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross. And he did so during the Passover. He becomes our Passover Lamb. He means to be eaten. It is why he instituted the Lord’s Supper, the New Testament in his blood. We partake of that sacrifice by eating the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In him the whole sacrificial system, including the offerings, find their culmination and final meaning. In him everything they mean and stand for are fulfilled. So now he is our Passover Lamb who forms the basis for all New Testament sacrifice and offering. By eating his Body and Blood, our bodies are prepared to be living sacrifices acceptable to God. (Romans 12:1), our gifts become fragrant offerings and sacrifices acceptable to God (Eph. 5:2). Our prayers, our love, everything we do as Christians revolves around the sacrifice Christ made and our participation in it. Which, as I said in a lecture on Bo Giertz and the devotional life, Acts 2:42 is the verse that sums up the spiritual life of a Christian. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42 (ESV) And here communion is at the center. The celebration of it provides the impetus for fellowship, it occupies center place in the teaching of the apostles, who would know nothing but Christ and him crucified, and a spring board for prayer. This is why it is important to celebrate it weekly if not more often. By and through it, we know Christ crucified, our Passover lamb.


Darrin said...

Wonderful words as we journey through Lent toward Good Friday and the Resurrection.

Bror Erickson said...

Pastor Macina emailed me this clarification earlier today.
"I read the blog and have spent the rest of my time so far this morning looking at the Passover. Thanks for interrupting my day. (-: I enjoyed the article. However, just a few points of clarification...

Everything that is presented at the sanctuary in the Old Testament is an *offering*. The Passover (Heb. pesach) is the Passover Offering. The other offerings are, burnt offerings, cereal offerings, high priest's bread offering, drink offering, sin offering, guilt offering, ordination offering, peace offering. These are the basic offerings. Of the offerings, the peace offering and Passover offering are *also* called "sacrifices" (Heb. zebach). The sacrifices are eaten by the laity and the priests. The peace offerings actually have portions that go to all of the ritual agents … the LORD gets the fat portions burned on the altar and the blood splashed against the altar's four sides, the priests get a portion of the meat - the breast and right thigh - as well as the hide, and the laity get all the rest of the meat. With the Passover offering, apparently the only thing applied to the altar is the blood splashed against its sides, while the priests get the hide, and the laity get the entire rest of the animal. Furthermore, the priests alone eat the daily accompanying cereal offering, as well as the meat from the sin offering and guilt offering - while a token portion of the cereal offering and the fat parts of the sin and guilt offerings are burned on the altar (the laity never eat any portion of the cereal, sin, or guilt offering). So technically, all offerings are eaten by someone … it is just that the burnt offerings are only "eaten" by the LORD as they are consumed by his holy fire on the altar. The LORD always gets his share … the only exception being the Passover, where he only gets the blood. And of course there is great significance in all of this!

I hope this is helpful."
Not sure it changes a whole lot. Sacrifices are still eaten, while not every offering is, but sacrifices are also considered offerings. If I'm reading all this right. Passover was eaten. So Christ our Passover Lamb is still meant to be eaten. But I thank pastor Macina for his time and input. We could use more scholarship such as his.