Numbers 9:1-14 (Part 2)

The Second Passover

As I gaze upon my granddaughter’s face when I get the chance to hold her, I wonder what she will be like when she is able to talk and walk. I wonder what she will be like when she is in elementary school. It is a forgone conclusion that she will be a football nut. Her mother, my oldest daughter, learned my passion for the sport from an early age. She and her sister watched football with me in my lap from the time they were old enough to sit up. They saw they daddy go nuts over football games. Meghan and Taylor know more about the intricacies of the game now than some men. I am sure that Ralyn will be the same as her mom. Will she love sports? I am sure she will. Will she be a gymnast and be the next Simone Biles when comes time for the 2032 Summer Olympics? Will she excel at tumbling and be on a competition cheer team that leads to devotion to gymnastics? Will we as a family be able to finance the pursuit of her gymnastic and cheer dreams? Will she be a dancer with dance recitals galore to attend? Will she use all her talents to be a pageant girl where we are all over the Southeast financing pageant entries? Will she be rather into sports and be a great basketballer or softballer or volleyballer or swimmer where we will as a family give her every opportunity to hone her game and follow her round the country while doing it? Will we be as Simone Biles’ and Aly Reisman’s parents and Michael Phelps’ mom (and us as grandparents) be sitting in some Olympic venue and crying with Ralyn as she finishes with a gold medal winning performance and the tears flow by all. Will we be willing to make the sacrifices so that Ralyn has the chance to be excellent in whatever she chooses. What will she want to be? Will she avoid sports altogether and be a great doctor or lawyer or chemist or teacher (like her mom) or a police officer (like her dad) or an accountant (like her G-pa) or a project manager (which is what her Mimi does even though it’s not an official job title). Whatever path she chooses, athletic, academic, and/or professional, I just want her to be passionate about it and for us as her family to be able to remove any roadblocks that would prevent her from pursuing her passions.

 

Right now she is just a beautiful little baby laying in my arms. Right now, she simply lives to eat, be held, sleep and poop. She is a miniature version of what she will become. She is a shadow of who she will be. Right now, she looks like her mom in some ways but looks like her dad in others. It changes day to day. I pray that she grows into a beautiful teenage girl, a stunning girl in her twenties, an elegantly beautiful woman in her thirties and forties, and a stately but still chic and beautiful woman in her fifties and sixties. We don’t know what she will look like as an adult. It’s too early to tell at this stage. She is still developing and changing. Right now, she is a sweet child that seems to have a sweet disposition and only cries when she’s hungry or has stomach cramps. Will she have a great personality? Will she be witty and silly like her mom and G-Pa? Will she have sarcastic sense of humor like her dad? Will she be a little bit country or will she be a little bit rock and roll? Will she rather be at a party out on a farm in Oconee County or will she enjoy fancy dinners at an exclusive restaurant on Main Street Greenville? Will she and I be like peas and carrots? Will she always think of me as her hero? Will she think that her G-Pa walks on water? Will I be her trusted confidant? Will she come running and jump into my arms every time she sees her G-Pa? Will hanging out with G-Pa and Mimi be one of her favorite things in life?

 

She is yet but a shadow of who she will become. She is one thing right now. She is my precious baby granddaughter with whom I am already smitten after only two and half weeks. She is now just at the beginning of who she will become. She is right now a promise of what she will be in the future.

 

Little Miss Ralyn Ahna Greer, my little bundle of joy of a granddaughter, my first and maybe my only one, was what I thought of this morning when thinking of Passover and how it is a promise of what is to come and a foreshadowing of the Lord’s Supper. Let’s read through the passage, Numbers 9:1-14, for the second time this morning and for this morning, let’s concentrate on vv. 1-5 once again:

 

 

9 The Lord spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, 2 “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. 3 Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations.”

 

4 So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, 5 and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses.

 

6 But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day 7 and said to Moses, “We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the Lord’s offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?”

 

8 Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the Lord commands concerning you.”

 

9 Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they are still to celebrate the Lord’s Passover, 11 but they are to do it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations. 13 But if anyone who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, they must be cut off from their people for not presenting the Lord’s offering at the appointed time. They will bear the consequences of their sin.

 

14 “‘A foreigner residing among you is also to celebrate the Lord’s Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for both the foreigner and the native-born.’”

 

The Passover celebration was to celebrate what God had done. Communion was to celebrate what God was going to do through Jesus’ death. The two meals are so similar and one is a foreshadowing of the other. One is the beginning and the other is the culmination. As Hebrews 10:1 tells us, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things.” Just as Ralyn right now is a shadow of who she will become and not the very image of who will be as she grows into womanhood, Passover is a foreshadowing of the Lord’s Supper. The Passover has its own reality (just as Ralyn as the reality right now of being a beautiful baby) but it is also the foreshadowing of the person and work of Jesus Christ and a foreshadowing of the Lord’s Supper (just as Ralyn is right now a wonderfully unknown shadow of who she will become).

 

In the Passover, we have the lamb that was slain and whose blood was spread over the doorways of the Israelites so that they would not suffer the death of the plague of the firstborn sons of Egypt. The bread was unleavened as a symbol of the haste with which they had to leave Egypt. The bitter herbs were to remind them of that haste as well (since they were not cooked) but also as a reminder of the bitter bondage of Egypt. To the Christian, the Passover Meal is symbolic of Jesus as well. The Passover Meal foreshadows what Jesus did for us. He was the Passover Lamb. He was sacrificed so that we might survive our plague of sin. His blood is spread over us as a covering and a protection from the sure sentence of death that comes from sin. His blood over our “doorways” signifies that we are His. His blood over our doorways signifies that we have been exempted from the right and just death sentence before God for our sins. We are protected by the blood of Jesus Christ. The unleavened bread represents the body of Jesus Christ that was pure and has been shared for us for our salvation. The bitter herbs remind us of the painful cost at which our salvation comes through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and it reminds us too of our bitter past before salvation. Therefore, the Passover Meal is of importance to us as Christians as it is not only a celebration and remembrance of our Israelite forefathers but it is also foreshadows the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and what He would become for us.

 

The Lord Supper, first held on Passover, somewhere around 30-33AD. By then, Passover was a well-established Jewish tradition and it was a highlight of the Jewish year to all Jews. The Passover Meal becomes then a link between us and our Jewish ancestors. It is no accident that Jesus held the first Lord’s Supper on the day of Passover. He was assuming the role of the Passover Lamb. The Passover Meal and what it represented was a foreshadowing of what Jesus was going to do and through the Lord’s Supper identified Himself as the Passover Lamb. He is the lamb that saves us. The Passover points us to the Lord’s Supper. He is the Lamb whose body was broken for our sins. His blood was shed so that we might not die and have eternal life through His sacrificial death. In the absence of Jesus, the plague of our sin condemns us to suffer the same fate as the firstborn sons of Egypt. Inside the blood, inside the doorways of Jesus’ blood, we are covered, we are protected by His purity. In his pure, unleavened life we find safety. His purity and his lack of sin is imputed upon us and we are covered by it. His sacrificial death lays it all on the line for us. Being a lamb, he was willingly led to slaughter on our behalf. His willingly walk into His death for us.

 

Whenever we observe the Lord’s Supper we are to remember Christ’s death upon the cross. To add anything to this picture corrupts the image that Christ wanted us to see. Remember, it took the body of Christ as a sacrifice to redeem us. It took the blood, or death of Christ to establish the covenant as an effective instrument for our salvation. Indeed, as we commune, we do show forth the death of Christ. This is to be done just as He instituted it, till He comes. That is the culmination of God’s redemptive plan. We see it clearly in the Lord’s Supper as Jesus makes it abundantly clear. We know. He tells us. In the Passover Meal, we have a foreshadowing of things to come. It is a promise of things to come but celebrating what had already been done. It was a precursor of the Lord’s Supper and the symbolic nature of what was to come in Christ.

 

As I sit and hold Ralyn, I ponder the things to come for her. She is a wonderful little reality and celebration of life right now. But, yet, at the same time she is but yet a promise of the wonderful girl and woman she will become. Those things will not be known until we reach their culmination later in her life. Similarly, The Passover Meal is a great celebration of what God had already done for His people but it will be a symbol of the culmination of God’s plan in Jesus Christ as represented directly in the Lord’s Supper.

 

Amen and Amen.

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