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The Passover Was About Remembering

Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.

When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised,

observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you,

“What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them,

“It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord,

who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt

and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians”

(Ex 12:24-27a).

Passover was not merely a one-time event. That first Passover, in Egypt, marked a beginning—the beginning of a new nation, a new life, and a new identity. So it was to mark the beginning of their year—every year thereafter.

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were instituted by God as annual feasts for His people so all the days of your life you remember (Dt 16:3). Moses reiterated the words of God to the elders in this way: “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand” (Ex 13:9).

For well over three thousand years, Jews have remembered to keep God’s command. Multitudes remember still.

It has summarily been remembered in this way . . .

Once the gathering has been seated, the paterfamilias recites the first prayer of sanctification, the kiddush: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created the fruit of the vine. You, O Lord our God, have given us festival days for joy, this feast of unleavened bread, the time of our deliverance in remembrance of the departure from Egypt. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to enjoy this season.”

Throughout the course of the meal four cups are raised, accompanied by an I will statement of God (from Exodus 6:6-8).

Remembered with the first cup, “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”

The paterfamilias prays over the second cup and recites, “I will deliver you from your bondage.”

There is then a prayer and blessing over the breaking of the bread. With the third cup another prayer, then the third I will of God: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

The fourth cup is also accompanied by another prayer of blessing. Then the father recites, “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” This is followed by signing psalms from the Hallel.

And so it has been . . . for thousands of years.

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying,

“Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover”

(Lk 22:8).

Every year He remembered.

John records all three Passovers Jesus observed during his ministry years. But at His final Passover meal, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, switched up the command. He made it new.

The Passover feast revealed God’s will for redemption. Jesus pointed to those same symbols in His last Passover and revealed His will for redemption—for all.

It’s worth remembering. Because the Lord of the Passover is worth remembering—as is His accomplishment of the I wills of our God.

Father-God, You said You would redeem Your people and You did. And You asked them to remember it all their days—but they didn’t always. Our Lord said He would redeem us . . . and He did. And He has asked that we remember until He returns. I pray we faithfully do . . . every day.

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