Scripture: No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised.Exodus 12:45-48 ESV
Observation: Moses likely reiterates the Passover regulations to address the “mixed multitude” of God-fearing Egyptians who traveled with Israel on their exodus (12:38). If willing to receive the sacrament of circumcision, these converts would be permitted to participate in the Feast of Passover. But they must observe the sacred protocol concerning preparation and consumption of the lamb (v.46 above):
- They must not break the lamb’s bones.
- They must not divide the lamb between households.
- Each family must consume the flesh in their house that evening and burn the leftovers by morning (the latter requirement stated in 12:10).
Moses concludes by saying that one law applies to natives and converts alike (12:49).
Takeaway: Indeed, under the New Covenant, one law of love applies to all alike. But baptism supersedes circumcision, and Holy Communion replaces the Seder meal. Remarkably, though, the requirements for the lamb symbolically align with our Lord’s Supper. Unblemished by sin (Hebrews 9:14), with unbroken bones (John 19:33-36), Christ offered himself as the Passover Lamb for the household of God. And he invites all who put their trust in him to receive his body and blood with the bread and wine (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Most traditional denominations require baptism to receive Holy Communion, but there is no clear Scriptural basis. And in liturgical denominations, the priest usually consumes the leftover bread and wine after the service (leaving none until morning).
Okay, that may be fascinating for some of us, but how does this passage pertain to all of us? Given that Christ is the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), he has become the final sacrifice for our sins. The death penalty has passed over the eternal spirits of believers, and they are now welcome to draw near Christ and feast often on his resurrected life that is present with us in the taking of the bread and wine. And when we receive the elements in faith, his grace brings rest to our weary souls, restores our hope, and strengthens us to love and serve him with gladness and singleness of heart. For Christ is our Passover Lamb; therefore, let us keep the feast! (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for providing your Passover Lamb so that death may pass over our spirits—we who were once your enemies. Would you please help us celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion with gratitude and expectation of you and your Son’s forgiveness and grace? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling