Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover to the LORD your God…
The institution of the Passover (Exodus 12.) was preliminary to their deliverance from Egypt, just as the Lord's Supper was preliminary to the death of Jesus Christ, which it was designed subsequently to commemorate. On the first occasion it was a sacrifice presented at home, as was most proper. But when the central altar was set up in Palestine, it became the center of the Passover festival, and to it the Jews in their multitudes repaired. This secured a national assembly under very solemn circumstances, and was an important element in sustaining the national spirit.
I. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE SOUL FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN SHOULD BE HELD IN PERPETUAL REMEMBRANCE. The Passover was the yearly celebration of national redemption. By it the Jews were annually reminded that they were a redeemed people. Gratitude to God would be elicited, and that self-denial and abstinence from evil which the unleavened bread typified. And it is evident that a similar memorial is contemplated in the New Testament dispensation. The Lord's Supper coming regularly round is intended to recall the deliverance from sin and guilt which we believe God has wrought for us, and to foster that holiness of walk which should characterize the redeemed of the Lord.
II. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE SOUL HAS BEEN THROUGH SACRIFICE. The Passover taught this, if it taught anything. Egypt had to part with her firstborn before God's firstborn, Israel, could be redeemed (Exodus 13:15). This was evidently the idea - the firstborn of Egypt must die to ensure the liberty of the firstborn of God (Exodus 4:22, 23). This was the spirit of the Mosaic commission, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn." But if the involuntary sacrifice of the Egyptian firstborn be primarily referred to in the Passover, it unquestionably refers secondarily and typically to the great voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through which our souls are redeemed. Hence Paul speaks of" Christ our Passover being sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Just as the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel that the destroying angel might spare the inmates, so the blood of Christ is sprinkled on our hearts and consciences, and our safety from condemnation becomes assured.
III. THE UNITY OF THE SACRIFICE THAT REDEEMS US WAS STRIKINGLY ILLUSTRATED AT THE PASSOVER. None of the flesh was to remain until the morning, all was to be eaten or burnt with fire. The sacrifice was to be a finished unity, not a protracted feast, which might through delay become corrupt. So with the sacrifice of which it is the type. Jesus Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 9:28). He was not allowed to see any corruption (Acts 13:37). The unity of the sacrifice - the once for all - was thus strikingly brought out. Upon this our assurance of acceptance rests. We have now no doubt that the satisfaction is complete. "It is finished," said Jesus triumphantly on the tree. It is surely a matter of great moment and thankfulness to have our case disposed of at once, without uncertain delays, without any possible appeals. God is satisfied, and we are justified and free.
IV. SALVATION BY SACRIFICE IS WITH A VIEW TO HOLY LIVING. The Feast of Unleavened Bread followed the Passover. Leaven was the type of self-indulgence and sin. The unleavened bread indicated how hastily they had to flee out of Egypt, and how little consideration for self there could be in their flight. Paul interprets the reference for us when he says, "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:8). The feast of unleavened bread symbolized, therefore, the life of holy living which succeeds our salvation. Self-righteousness reverses this Divine order. It insists on the holy living meriting the salvation; but God gives the salvation gratuitously, and respects the holy living as a matter of gratitude. We should not make the way more difficult than God has done. - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.