BIBLE TEXT: Exodus 12
QUESTION TO CONSIDER: What is the Passover Feast all about?
BIBLE LESSON: In this lesson, we are going to learn about the Passover Feast, and what it means for us today.
In Exodus 12, God’s people the Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt where the Pharaoh ruled. The Lord sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand that he release God’s people so they could go and worship Him freely, but the pharaoh was a cruel, stubborn man. Read Exodus 5:2 to see how Pharaoh responded to this demand.
Then God brought nine plagues on the land of Egypt to show Pharaoh and the rest of the people exactly who He is – the one true almighty God. The first plague was water turning to blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. The second plague was frogs, then came lice, flies, diseased cattle, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness over the land for three days. As terrible as all of these plagues were, Pharaoh still refused to let God’s people go free, so God sent a message to Pharaoh by Moses that one more plague was coming. The 10th and final plague was to be the death of all of the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt. It wouldn’t matter if you were rich or poor, everyone was going to lose their firstborn – even the animals!
The Lord had special instructions for his people so that they would be saved from this terrible plague. Each household was to choose a lamb that would be killed as the sun went down, but this couldn’t be just any lamb from the flock. Read Exodus 12:5 to find out the exact qualifications for this special Passover lamb. The blood of this lamb was to be put on the doorposts of the house and across the top piece of the door which was called the lintel. (Look at the picture at the top of this page.) If the people wanted to be saved from the plague, they had to stay inside the house where the blood of the lamb was covering the door. The rest of the lamb was to be cooked and eaten at a Passover meal. Read Exodus 12:8-11 to find out how the lamb was to be cooked, what else was eaten at this meal, and how the meal was to be eaten.
The blood of the Passover lamb on the houses was a sign. God told His people that when He saw the blood, He would pass over those houses, and the plague of destroying the firstborn would not fall on them. (Exodus 12:13) God commanded that every year after this, a Passover feast would be observed by the Jews as a memorial. God wanted His people to remember how He passed over them where the blood of the lamb covered them in the land of Egypt. The Passover feast was to last for seven days. During those feast days, the only kind of bread the people could eat was unleavened bread. Unleavened bread would be flat because the dough had not risen. On the night that the 10th plague took place, the Israelites were set free by Pharaoh and driven out of Egypt in a hurry! They had baked unleavened bread to take with them because there was no time to wait to let the dough rise. Each year on the night before the Passover feast, all leaven had to be removed from their houses. They were not allowed to have any trace of leaven in their homes until after the seven days of the Passover feast were over. Exodus 12:15 says, Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. Leaven is any kind of baking agent like yeast or baking powder or sourdough starter that causes dough to rise and expand.
God wanted His people to observe this feast every year so they wouldn’t forget a great day of salvation – the day they were released from the bondage of slavery of Egypt and became free. The Jews were still keeping this feast each year during the time of Christ. We read about Jesus observing the Passover feast in the New Testament. In fact, he was eating the Passover meal with his disciples the night before his crucifixion. In Matthew 26:17-20 we read about the disciples locating a room where Jesus and the twelve apostles could eat their Passover meal together. While they were eating, Jesus explained that two of the items at their meal, the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, were to have a new meaning. Read Matthew 26:26-28. What did the unleavened bread represent? What did the fruit of the vine represent?
At this last Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus was instituting (or beginning) the Lord’s Supper. I Corinthians 5:7 tells us that Jesus was our Passover lamb who was sacrificed for us. He was the perfect lamb without any blemish (sin). He died on the cross and shed his blood so that we might have forgiveness of our sins. After Jesus’ death, there was no longer any need to observe the Passover feast because it was part of the old covenant (old law). Jesus’ death began the new covenant or new law, the law of Christ. Under this law, we are to observe the special feast of the Lord’s Supper so that we can remember what Jesus Christ our Savior did for us by his sacrifice on the cross. The Passover feast only occurred once a year, but how often are we to take the Lord’s Supper? Read Acts 20:7.
The Passover feast that began in the land of Egypt for God’s people was a shadow of what was to come. The lambs that were sacrificed and whose blood was placed on the doorposts was a shadow or type of Christ who would be our Passover lamb. Just as being inside the house where the lamb’s blood covered the door saved the people from the plague of physical death, when we are in Christ, we are covered and saved by his blood. Read I John 1:7.
- What was the 10th plague in Egypt?
- What was eaten in the Passover meal and how was it eaten?
- How long did the Passover Feast last?
- What was forbidden to be in the house of anyone who observed the Passover Feast?
- What feast do we observe today instead of the Passover? How often do we observe it and what items (to eat or drink) does it include?
- Exodus 12:13 – Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (NKJV)
- I Corinthians 5:7 – Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (NKJV)
WORD OF THE WEEK: Hebrew word – pesach (peh’-sakh) פָּ֫סַח
Pesach is the Hebrew word for our English word “passover”. It is used 49 times in the Bible occurring in both the Old and New testaments.
*Hebrew was the original language of the Old Testament. Greek was the original language of the New Testament.
DID YOU KNOW? When God brought the ten plagues on Egypt, He was also bringing judgment against all of the false gods of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12) He was showing the people that He was the one true and living God while all of the gods the Egyptians worshiped had no power at all. The Egyptians worshiped all kinds of false gods such as Ra the sun god, Osiris the god of the dead, and Nut the goddess of the sky.
- Locate the Leaven – As the Passover feast was celebrated down through the years by the Jews, all leaven had to be removed from their houses the evening before Passover began. The head of the family would lead his family through the house by candlelight searching for leaven to make sure they found all of it. Let someone hide a package of yeast in the house or write “leaven” on a small index card. Use a battery-operated candle or flashlight to let everyone else search the house to locate the leaven.
- Unleavened bread – Here is a link to a recipe for baking your own unleavened bread.
- Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb – Research and learn about how and when the Passover lambs were chosen and at what time of day during the Passover week they were sacrificed. Compare what you learn to the Passover week when Jesus was crucified. How many days before Jesus was crucified did he make his triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the people acknowledged him as the Messiah? Just as the Passover lambs were to be a sacrifice without blemish and their blood used as a covering of protection from God’s wrath, so Jesus Christ our Savior is our Passover lamb – a Lamb without blemish whose blood was shed to be a covering for us, for a washing away of our sins so that we might stand clean and pure before the Lord.
- Passover coloring page – Free printable coloring page of “Blood on the Doorposts.” (Supercoloring.com)
- Read Exodus chapter 12
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