Blood makes us uncomfortable. It reminds us of our mortality and vividly demonstrates that sin results in death. Animal sacrifice in the Old Testament teaches us about atonement (how God restores His relationship with mankind). Atonement is achieved by the substitution of one life for another.
This is the point of the Passover. As Mark Driscoll writes, “One of the bloodiest books in the Bible is Exodus. There, God’s people were enslaved to the godless king Pharaoh, and God saved them by shedding a lot of blood. The people were given two choices. One, they could repent of sin, place their faith in God, and demonstrate their faith by slaughtering an animal and covering the doorposts of their home in blood. If this was done, then God promised to pass over their house and not kill the firstborn son in the home, but rather accept the substitution of the life of the sacrificial animal. Two, they could fail to repent of their sin and to place their faith in God and see death come to the home. On that night in Egypt, much blood was shed and death came to every home, as either the blood of a substitute animal was shed for the sinners, or the firstborn son in each home was put to death by God.”
In the New Testament, Jesus becomes the Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), sacrificed on behalf of each of us. The Israelites demonstrated faith by sacrificing a lamb and putting its blood on the doorposts of their home. By faith, we accept the blood of Jesus as our substitute to cover our hearts and cleanse our sin. We can either accept his blood as payment for our sins or pay with our own.
The Jews observed the Passover to remind them of the night that God led them out of slavery to freedom. In the New Testament, the Passover is the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-38). Jesus and the disciples observed the Passover, only this time Jesus reveals a deeper meaning. The Passover points to Him. Instead of a lamb, He will be the perfect, innocent sacrifice. It will not be an animal for one family; it will be the Son of God for the whole world.
Communion is a reminder for us, just as Passover was for the Jews. It reminds us of Jesus, who died in our place to free us from bondage to sin, Satan, and death. Our relationship with God has been restored through the blood of Jesus, our perfect, sinless substitute.
1. What do you find noteworthy about the Passover observance? For example, when on the calendar is the event commemorated? Why then? How so? With whom? What for?
2. Regarding the Passover commemoration, for whose benefit does God institute this feast on the same night that he passes over the homes of those who have obeyed and made the sacrifice? What does this Jewish feast have in common with its Christian counterpart (Communion)?
3. How does this passage help you see the purpose for Jesus’ death and shed blood? How do you remember “the Lamb who was slain” (vs. 21, see Rev. 5:12)?
 Mark Driscoll, Death by Love, pg. 76-77.
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