And this day will be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it as a feast to the LORD, as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE IS AN UNCEASING FESTIVAL.
1. It is unending, deepening joy. Other joys fade, this brightens.
2. It is a growing appropriation of the Lamb of God. Our union with him grows ever closer, fuller. Is this our experience? A nominal Christianity will never save us. Are we feeding on Jesus? Are we in. him and be in us?
II. IT IS THE KEEPING IN REMEMBRANCE OF A PAST DELIVERANCE, AND THE ANTICIPATION OF A GREATER.
1. There was present safety from the destroyer.
2. On the morrow there was to be the passing out from amidst the broken bonds of Egypt to the promised inheritance. The feast pointed backward, the types onward. We have forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, and the expectation of his coming the second time without sin unto salvation. Faith, and love, and hope the threefold glory of Christ's people.
III. IT Is A LIFE OF HOLINESS. From the beginning to the end of the feast the old leaven was not to be found in the dwellings of Israel. The soul that turns back to sin is cut off (vers. 15, 18-20). What was a mere accompaniment in the type, is a fruit of life in Christ.
IV. IT IS A FELLOWSHIP OF ALL BELIEVERS. It Was not only a family feast. It began and it closed with an assembly of the whole congregation. There are separate churches still, as there were families then. But the union of all believers must be recognised and rejoiced in. - U.
1. It is a day that reminds us of the deep sympathy of mind with nature. The springtime of the year has many meanings for us all. The face of the earth is renewed; and in imitation of it we renew our dress and the face of our homes. And for thoughtful and sensitive minds, doubtless the lesson goes very deep and very far; they feel the gentle hint that old dust and cobwebs should be swept out of the mind, and that they should seek for a fresh stock of impressions to carry the work of imagination cheerfully on.
I. THE PREPARATION FOR THE PASSOVER.
A feast to the Lord throughout your generations.
Homilist.I. THE JEWISH INSTITUTION WAS COMMEMORATIVE; SO IS THE LORD'S SUPPER.
1. It was a "memorial" of a deliverance from the most cruel bondage.
2. It was a "memorial" of a deliverance from the most cruel bondage by the sacrifice of an innocent victim.
3. It was a "memorial" of a deliverance wrought by the sovereign compassion of God (Exodus 3:7, 8).
II. THE JEWISH INSTITUTION WAS SOCIAL; SO IS THE LORD'S SUPPER.
1. Here all feel that they are in the same moral condition.
2. Here all feel that they are dependent on the same Redeemer for salvation.
3. Here all feel that they are members of the same family and destined for the same house.
III. THE JEWISH INSTITUTION WAS BINDING; SO IS THE LORD'S SUPPER.
1. It is binding on all.
2. It is binding on all perpetually.
1. Divinely commanded.
2. The Passover a new era.
3. Details explicitly given.(1) Indicating the importance of having a "Thus saith the Lord" for every ordinance religiously observed.(2) Indicating the importance of observing every Divine ordinance as divinely ordained.(3) In the ease of the Israelites, to deviate from the prescribed form would indicate insubordination.(4) The lamb is Divinely declared a type of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:17).(5) The lamb being "kept up" from the tenth to the fourteenth may be a type of the time when the promise of Christ was given in Eden, and of His crucifixion on Calvary.
II. THE BLOOD OF THE PASSOVER.
1. The disposition to be made of it.
2. The purpose.(1) A sign for the angel of death to exempt the house thus marked.(2) This sign thus became the ground of peace and security to the Israelites.(3) This was also a sign that this exemption, peace, and security, were not of works, but wholly of grace.(4) The application to the believer, covered by the precious blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8; Romans 3:24, 25).
III. EATING THIS PASSOVER. Its typical significance. Lessons:
1. The Old Testament seems typical of the New Testament.
2. Doctrine and practice vividly portrayed.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
2. We are reminded of our part in the lot of humanity. A long history seems to close; a new one opens on us Easter Day. We derive the name of Easter from an ancient heathen goddess, Ostera, worshipped by our ancestors. A thousand years ago, her priestesses on Easter eve washed their faces in clear springs: it was a kind of sacrament in her worship. Then, too, the Easter fires were kindled on many a height, as the name Osterberg, which often occurs in Germany, reminds us. The Easter water and the Easter fire had substantially one tendency and one efficacy — to cleanse from evil, to drive away evil spirits, to bring blessing to the hearth and home, to the fields and the toil of the husbandman. How far and wide the notion of a purgation, in the most comprehensive sense, of the doing away with the old and a new beginning, has extended through the world! We may begin our inquiries in the East of London, where the Jews make a thorough cleansing of the house and of the utensils against the Passover season. With the old leaven let malice and wickedness go out of the heart, and let it recover its unleavened state of sincerity and truth. Corresponding customs to those of the Jews are practised among peoples in all parts of the world, and there is not a tribe of black or brown men from whom we may not learn something edifying for ourselves. At a feast of first-fruits of a tribe of North American Indians, they provide themselves with new clothes, new pots and pans; they collect all their worn-out clothes and other despicable things, sweep and cleanse their houses, squares, and the whole town of their filth, which, with all the remaining grain and other old provisions, they cast together into one common heap, and consume it with fire. After having fasted for three days, all the fire in the town is extinguished. During the fast they abstain from the gratification of every passion and appetite whatever. A general amnesty is proclaimed; all malefactors may return to their towns. On the fourth morning the high priest, by rubbing dry wood together, produces new fire in the public square, whence every habitation in the town is supplied with the new and pure flame. Then there is feasting and rejoicing, and on the following days they receive visits from their friends of neighbouring towns, who have in like manner purified and prepared themselves. A man of genius, in describing these things, says, "I have scarcely heard of a truer sacrament — i.e., an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace — than this, and I have no doubt that they were originally inspired from heaven to do thus, though they have no Biblical record of the revelation."
3. But this feast reminds us of deeper things — of things that never were, nor could be, learned from nature — of the hope of humanity, of triumph over death. If we look at the imagery and traditions of the nations, there is evidence of an overwhelming persuasion that the soul has a life distinct from the body, and that the soul will live again. One strong belief was, when the body was consumed on the funeral pyre, the human burden, as a Roman poet calls it, was cast away, mortality ceased, and higher life began. The phoenix bird, which arose from out of the ashes, was one of the symbolic images in which antiquity found this thought expressed. In another way we may see the same belief forming the very basis of worship. And at the great feasts of the year, such as Eastertide, the first thing was to bring offerings to the spirits of the departed, solemnly to commemorate them, and to unite with them in the social feast. What made those high days so peculiarly solemn, was the thought that the ancestral spirits had come back from the viewless regions to hold communion with their living posterity, and to impart to them a fresh blessing. And here, again, at the head of this belief, is something sweet and sound. If we let the heart's logic have its way with us, we shall hold that the life of humanity is continuous and unbroken, and that they who have gathered with us in the house of God in times gone by return from time to time to visit us in our lingering exile from bliss, and, it maybe, secretly to inspire us to follow their faith and to attain whither they have attained.
(E. Johnson, M. A.)
II. FAITH. More reasonable that they should shed the blood of their enemies than of the lamb, and use the sword than the knife. Spreading fire and slaughter. More reasonable, apparently, to help and trust themselves than confide in a word spoken, and a few drops of blood on the door-post. Our faith, and Jesus the Lamb.
III. HUMILIATION. Eaten with bitter herbs. Penitential recollections. They prevented mere carnal delight in the feast. Our bitter herbs: remembrance of sin; of our condition; of our prospects, etc.
IV. DELIVERANCE. Last night in Egypt. The blood sprinkled. The destroying angel. Door of every Israelite's home opens, and the family comes out. The escape. Learn:
1. That God gives songs in the night. "In darkest shades, if Thou appear."
2. That Christ our Passover was slain for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
3. That we should receive Him with all humility, obedience, and faith.
4. That trusting in Him, we shall have a great deliverance.
(J. C. Gray.)
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