“Then Moshe called for all the leaders of Isra’el and said, ‘Select and take lambs for your families, and slaughter the Pesach lamb’.” - Exodus 12:21, CJB
At the beginning of our selected readings for Pesach (Exodus 12:21-51), we are immediately confronted with not only the personal nature and impact of our sins, but also the redemption which God has been afforded to us that we in no ways deserve. For us in our modern-age, we can only imagine the scene, where only days before the Passover sacrifice is offered for you and your family, you must first bring that spotless lamb, not firs to the Temple, but instead into your home to dwell with you! In the end, it is only after it has dwelt with you and your family (and you have connected with it), that you have to take it to Adonai's cohanim and have is sacrificed (killed) on your behalf for your sins!
For some if not most, this scene may seem unthinkable (where the animal that you have now dwelt with and bonded, has now is sacrificed for you), yet within such a setting - the observant is not afforded the luxury of passivity or indifference, and instead, after the slaying, you must return to your home and annually explain WHY this sacrifice was not only needed, but also absolutely necessary. Thus, in Parashah Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16), our scene is not to be seen as casual, but instead is highly significant and by definition, immensely intimate in reminding of the reality that this Passover sacrifice demands not just individual response, but also a personal change!
As in comparison to our Holiday readings, in Parashah Terumah (from Exodus 25:1-27:19) God reveals both the heart and foundation of divine love and spiritual healing in stating,
וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖יבְּתוֹכָֽם׃ - “They are to make me a sanctuary, so that I may live among them.” (Ex. 25:8, CJB)
In this, it is through loving sacrifice that God restores us to himself through the shedding of innocent blood and redemption for our lives! Yet in noting this, one is forced to ask, how does Parashah Bo and he command to construct the Most Holy Place point to the redemption and shedding of innocent blood in the Passover sacrifice?
Where the Passover Lamb in the Temple offered only a kaporah (annual/temporary covering) for our sins, the coming, perfect lamb and sacrifice of the Messiah is that one who once and for all sealed redemption and hope for all of humanity and to all who call upon him, and receive the benefit of his afforded atonement. For over 2,000 years (since 70 C.E.) there has been no Temple, no Mishkan, no sacrificial system and no Cohanim serving on our behalf, and yet the Prophet Isaiah has promised that one would come and be wounded for our transgression and bruised of our iniquities and by his bruising we would be healed (Isaiah 53:5).
But what if it’s coming fulfillment? And is there one that was prophesied long ago that would come and redeem not only the entire House of Israel, but also for the entire world?
For as fulfilled in the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant Scriptures), the Good News of Matthew states,
“All this happened in order to fulfill what Adonai had said through the prophet, ‘The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him ‘Immanu El.’ The name means, ‘God is with us’.” (Matt. 1:22-23, CJB)
As with Parashah Terumah, the purpose of the building of the Mishkan was so that HaShem (God) might dwell with Israel and establish covenant relationship with them, so through both his incarnation and perfect sacrifice, Yeshua our Messiah alone was able to pay the penalty we could never afford, and through him, all peoples, through trust might be reconciled to Adonai and be given redemption and be restored back to the Father through sacrificial love! If we could have saved ourselves, we would have, but no matter how much we seek to “fix or repair ourselves,” we nevertheless slipped even deeper into our own brokenness and spiritual barrenness!
For us today, this has profound significance when we consider the rise and worldwide effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, where today people are not short on despair, brokenness or an overall sense of hopelessness and fear. Yet, in the midst of our pain, it is Yeshua alone that is our redeeming Passover Lamb and he alone is the hope of the entire world. Where as noted above in Exodus 12:21, the Passover sacrifice is both “highly significant and immensely intimate,” so, the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua offers us the fulfillment of Tikkun Olan (the Restoring and Repairing of the World) but for us spiritual, Yeshua our Messiah provides us all a way home and an eternal hope for the future! (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Chag Pesach Sameach,
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation, Ocala, FL. | Pesach, 5780
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