These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.…
cf. Exodus 12; also 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8. In addition to the weekly "offering of rest," there were emphasized offerings of a similar character at select seasons throughout the Jewish year. These were to bring to remembrance great national deliverances, or to celebrate the blessings with which Jehovah crowned the year. The first of these feasts was the Passover. It was to celebrate the deliverance preceding the Exodus. It began with a holy convocation; there was then a week of complete freedom from leaven; and then a holy convocation completed the special observances. Burnt offerings were also presented of a special character every day of the holy week. The following line of thought is suggested by this feast.
I. THE WHOLE POPULATION IN EGYPT WAS EXPOSED TO A COMMON DANGER. It is evident from the narrative that the destroying angel might justly have carried death into every house, and that it was only the special arrangement which prevented his doing so. For though a difference was made between the Egyptians and the Israelites, it had its reason and its root in God's sovereign grace. The Israelites may not have carried their enmity to God with so high a hand as the Egyptians, yet their pilgrimage demonstrated that the hostility was there. The judgment on the firstborn was consequently only a sample of what all deserved. Unless we begin with the truth that "there is no difference," for "all have sinned and come short of God's glory," we are likely to underestimate the grace which maketh us afterwards to differ. We are not, properly speaking, in a state of probation, but in a state either of condemnation or of salvation. "He that believeth not is condemned already" (John 3:18); "he that believeth is not condemned." When we start with the idea that we are really culprits and condemned already, we are stirred up to lay hold by faith of the deliverance. How we reach the blessed condition, "There is therefore now no condemnation," is beautifully symbolized by the Passover. For -
II. GOD'S PLAN OF DELIVERANCE WAS THROUGH THE SPRINKLING OF BLOOD. Each Israelite was directed to take a lamb and slay it, and sprinkle on the doorpost and lintel, with a hyssop branch, its blood. The destroying angel respected the sprinkled blood, and passed over the houses on which it appeared. Here was God's plan, by the sacrifice of the life of an innocent substitute to secure the remission of the sins of his people. And need I say that the Paschal lamb was one of the most beautiful types of Jesus? He, as our Passover, was "sacrificed for us' (1 Corinthians 5:7). It is through his blood we have remission. His life, laid down in payment of the penalty, secures our just release. The destroying angel passes over all who are under the shelter of Christ's blood.
III. THE PASCHAL LAMB WAS TO AFFORD LIFE AS WELL AS SECURE DELIVERANCE. Roasted with fire, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, it was to be eaten by all the delivered ones. Within the blood-protected houses they stood and partook of a wholesome meal. It entered into their physical constitution, and strengthened them to begin their journey. In the same way does Jesus Christ sustain all who trust in him. He becomes oar Life. He strengthens us for our wilderness journey. The Exodus from Egypt becomes easy through his imputed strength. And so our Lord spoke not only of eating his flesh, but even of drinking his blood (John 6:54), and so receiving his eternal life. Not more surely does vital power come to the body through the digestion of food than does spiritual power come to the soul through partaking by faith of Jesus Christ. We are not only saved from wrath through him, but sustained by his life.
IV. THE PASSOVER WAS THE DATE OF A NEW LIFE. An Exodus began with the first Passover, succeeded by a wilderness journey; and every succeeding Passover preceded a week of feasting on unleavened bread. Thus was a new and heroic life regarded as dating from the Passover. Hence the Lord changed the year at its institution, and made it the beginning of months with his people. The same is experienced by believers. Unless our salvation by Christ's blood is succeeded by pure living and the putting away of "the leaven of malice and wickedness" (1 Corinthians 5:8), we are only deceiving ourselves by supposing we are saved. Our salvation is with a view to our pilgrimage and purity. Therefore we must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread as well as celebrate the Passover. It will not do to accept of salvation as an "indulgence." God makes no arrangement for impunity in sin. The death of the Lamb shows plainly that under God's government no sin will go unpunished. To purity we are consequently called as part and parcel of a Divine salvation. - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.