Redeemed Into God’s Time
When Pharaoh was in charge of time, Israel’s existence became an endless, day by day, repetition of wearisome toil that seemed to have been going on for ever and that had no end in sight. It was slavery simply for the sake of slavery. Past and present were just limitless extensions of an intolerable present. Memory and hope are turned into a growing mountain of pain and a lengthening shadow of despair.
Passover is a meal given to Israel, a sacred meal. It became the meal that marked the beginning of the year. It was inaugurated in the shadow of events through which God was taking hold of promises in the past and renewing them through redeeming acts for life into the future. Memory and hope are reawakened, and create a present that is full of hope and joy.
It is a meal eaten indoors, under protection given by shed blood. Outside that protection, the first-born of the land – from Pharaoh’s own firstborn son through to the firstborn of the captive in the deepest dungeon and even to the firstborn of the livestock – are all taken by the LORD who passes over the land (11:4, 12:29.) To sit in the blood-protected house was to affirm faith in the promises of God; to not do so was to spurn Him.
In the Promised Land, the Passover became a meal that was open not just to Israel but to the sojourner or alien in the land. This protection of God, this rescue into the blessedness of God’s time which heads to the great rest of communion with Him, is a gift for the whole world. And so the Passover becomes a sign of the fulfilment of all times that dawns in the coming of the First Born of all creation, God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, who gives Himself for the redemption of the world that crucifies him.