By Horatius Bonar
"It is Jehovah's passover." -- Exodus 12:11
WE first notice,
I. The name here given to the ordinance. The Lord's, or Jehovah's, passover. This reminds us of our New Testament feast, so like in name, "the Lord's Supper." Both belong to the Lord. Both were instituted by him. Both referred to Him. The Passover and the Supper have no meaning without Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega of both. "The Lord" is Christ's New Testament name; but it is also His Old Testament. It is He the Son, the Messiah, that is so often spoken of there under the name, "the Lord." Hence we rest our belief that Christ is God, not so much on the fact that the names of God are applied to Christ, as on this greater fact, that the names of Christ are applied to God. It was of him that Eve said, "I have gotten a man from the Lord"; of Him Enoch spoke, "Behold, the Lord cometh"; of Him we read, "The Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive"; "it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth"; "The Lord said to Noah"; "the Lord said to Abram; for He who appeared to Saul appeared to Abraham; and so in regard to the Passover, "the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron."
II. The persons to whom this ordinance was given. "To Moses and Aaron." In almost all other places we read, "the Lord spake to Moses" alone. Here it is specially to both,--to Him who was King in Jeshurun, and to Him who was Israel's High Priest. They were the representatives of the nation of kings and priests, even Israel; and representatives also of the church, the higher and truer "royal priesthood," to whom the Lord's Supper was to be given. To us then, as the true Moses and Aaron, kings arid priests, the Lord's Supper is given. It is the banquet of Jehovah's royal priesthood. To us as such He says, Eat, drink. Do this in remembrance of me.
III. The place where it was given. In the land of Egypt. It was a feast in Egypt, and yet not of Egypt. It did not consist of Egyptian viands. It spoke of deliverance from Egypt, and yet it was first to be observed in Egypt. It told of Egypt, and it told of Canaan. So with the Lord's Supper. It is in the world, yet not of the world. It is given here, observed here, yet it points away from this; it reminds us of our heavenly inheritance.
IV. The institution itself. It consists of two parts, according to the division of the apostle (Hebrews 11:28): (1.) The feast; (2.) the sprinkling of blood. Let us examine these.
(1.) The feast. What is it?
In itself. It is a lamb, without spot; a lamb roasted; with bones unbroken; bitter herbs; eaten in haste, staff in hand.
Symbolically. It is commemoration; it is testimony; it is nourishment; it is contrition; it is strength.
Such is the Supper of the Lord. It is a feast; the food is the Lamb of God. The bread and wine speak to us. The Supper is full of meaning. It is commemoration, testimony, nourishment. My flesh is meat indeed. Man eats better than angels' food. Take, eat, are the gracious words of the divine provider.
(2.) The sprinkling of blood. The feast and the blood must go together. The one hangs upon the other. It is not simply "blood," but "sprinkled" blood which we find in the Passover, the blood of the Lamb on which we feast. What then does this blood proclaim? What is it? What does it mean? There is life in question; for wherever the blood comes in there the question of life and death come in. Here there is then the giving of life for life. It is not cleansing that is the special signification of the passover blood, though indirectly that may come in. It is something else. Let us see what it is.
It is the blood of separation. That blood was sprinkled on door-post and lintel; and by this Israel was separated from Egypt. The difference between them was marked by the blood. They in our day who deny the blood would obliterate the distinction between the church and the world. Hatred of the blood has been the mark of the world since the days of Cain. Love for it, and trust in it, the characteristic of the church of God from Abel downward. Israel dwells alone; isolated by the blood.
It is the blood of protection. "When I see it, I will pass over." That blood was Israel's shield. There seems a twofold kind of protection,--the blood warding off the destroying angel, and making him pass over; and God himself (attracted by the blood) passing over as a defender, between Israel and the angel (Isaiah 31:5). God says, "When I see." The blood is ever before Him. We do not see it. It is outside,--beyond our vision,-- shed eighteen centuries ago. But God sees it, and that is our security. We think upon the blood which God sees, and feel ourselves secure.
It is the blood of deliverance. It not merely protected in Egypt, but it delivered out of Egypt. It was this blood that saved: "I gave Egypt for thy ransom." There is death for Egypt, but life for Israel. Pardoned and set free, Israel turns his back on the land of bondage. That blood was the opening of his prison doors. It is still the blood that sets us free! Freedom through the blood is what we preach.
It is the blood of doom. It was doom to Egypt. It not merely said, God is for Israel, but he is against Egypt; nay, there is death for Egypt, for Jehovah's enemies. It is still the blood that condemns. For all who are not under its shield there is only death! It seals the sinner's death! The wrath of God abideth on him. The blood that would have saved now dooms.