Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Then They Will Know...

My seder plate
I love it when Passover and Easter overlap like they do this year. It's a great reminder of the tethering together of the Old and New Covenants. Of foreshadowing and fulfillment. Of the rescuing lambs and the rescuing Lamb.

"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...'"  Exodus 12:25-27 NIV


The entire purpose of the Passover worship - in God's own words there in Exodus 12 - has been to teach the next generation about God's redemption. And so I love teaching about the Last Supper in the context of the Passover Seder. To see eyes light up as connections are made between the rescue from Egypt and the redemption on Jerusalem's hill. 

I love leading through the four cups and the breaking of bread. I love walking through God's four-fold promise made to Moses in Exodus 6:6-7, and the way the whole Passover worship is built around it. 

"Therefore say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people...'"

But what I especially love about Passover, is that God left no doubt about what his ultimate purpose was. No doubt about why He rescued Abraham's children with His mighty outstretched arm.

You may remember that, back when Moses stood before the burning bush, one of his big questions for God was: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13 NIV)

It's so easy for us to forget that by the time God appeared to eighty-year-old Moses, Joseph and all his brothers had been buried for about 300 years. Not only that, but the Israelites had no written Scriptures. Only stories passed down for three centuries about their powerful ancestor Joseph, and his father (Jacob), his grandfather (Isaac) and his great-grandfather (Abraham). They didn't know God the way the patriarchs and their families did.

And so Moses anticipated a very valid question from his fellow Israelites: Who are You? God's immediate response was the famous revealing of His eternal name. But even more important - to me - is when He shared the why of all of it. Right after that four-fold promise of rescue in Exodus 6:

"Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians." Exodus 6:7b

When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt with His mighty outstretched arm, He didn't do it so they'd go do something. He certainly didn't do it to make their lives easy, because we know how hard the next forty years in the wilderness would be.

No. God saved Jacob's descendants so that they would know Him. Yadah. The Hebrew word means "to know, to discover, to become acquainted." And it means both the beginning of knowing and the completion of knowing.

"This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah." John 17:3 HNV (emphasis mine)

During His last Passover, the Messiah ushered in the New Covenant, bringing all of Adam's descendants - not only Israel - out of the oppression of sin with two outstretched arms. Wanting us to know Him in all His perfect power and His loving faithfulness. To discover everything about Him. To recognize Him as the beginning of who we are, and to allow Him to complete us.

And so, just as the Israelites rejoiced and sang on the other side of the Red Sea, and just as the disciples left the Upper Room singing psalms of praise, let us now offer our own songs of praise as we look to the redemption of Easter.

Understanding that the God of the Universe knows us, and has done the unimaginable, so that we might know Him.