“This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all of time. . . . Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ and you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord'” (Exodus 12:14, 26-27).* Almighty God said this just after He had freed the Israelites from the Egyptian pharaoh. And just as He commanded, it did not stop there. A year later, they again celebrated the Lord’s sparing of their lives (Numbers 9:1-3). Scripture also tells us the Israelites celebrated Passover just after the king of Assyria approved the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 6:19-22). As no coincidence, our Savior, Jesus Christ, died and came back for us during that annual celebration of life. Even the “Last Supper” with his disciples was also the Passover meal.
Yet, what has consumed my attention about this is not the meal, but the purification process required before it.* For the Israelites, it was absolutely mandatory to be purified before passover. They practiced fasting during the previous 40 days of Lent to purify and focus their minds. During this process was when Mary anointed and washed Jesus’ feet with precious oil and when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and said, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me” (John 13:8).
So, when did we stop eagerly begging like Peter, “Then wash all of me!”? Right now is the annual time of purification. In Old Testament times, the lamb was waiting in the fields of every Israelite family as a constant reminder. Purity was undoubtedly every mind. Their own impurities seemed more prominent, more obvious, because of the fuzzy, solid white lamb nearby. Now Christ is our perfect, unblemished sacrifice. In a similar way, Jesus exposed the spiritual filth of many people he met, from Pharisees to everyday people like the woman at the well, simply by being so pure. Most of us do not have a lamb in our fields, nor do we need one since Jesus was our ultimate symbol, but I write this blog as a reminder for us to focus our minds and purify our hearts during the next several days before Easter.
So, what is in your life that Jesus is trying to tell you to eliminate? Let Him purify you in preparation for the anniversary of His resurrection. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to throw off anything and everything that hinders or entangles us so that we can better fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. What is holding you back? I challenge you to get completely rid of it right now, in Jesus’ name and in His power. What in your life can be made simpler? Your routines and hobbies. Your family. Your household. Your job. What in our Church can be made simpler? Let us focus our minds in a unified way for the Passover that saved our lives.
*To find out more about the first Passover and the purification process proceeding it, read Exodus, especially chapters 6-12, Deuteronomy 16: 1-8, and Numbers 9:1-14.